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Back to the Drive-in: He Knows You're Alone (1980)

06.04.2012by: JimmyO
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People say that getting married is like a death sentence. Well maybe it can be hazardous to your health after all, at least if some dude goes all murderous psycho killer after some chick decides to marry another dude… but that seems a little extreme. And most importantly you’d better be aware that HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE! Because we all know that when virginal women are all by their lonesome in horror movies, they are absolutely helpless to fight back or do anything to protect them right? This would have been the ideal movie to bring some chick that wants to get married right away to while visiting your local drive-in back in 1980… “See darlin’, marriage is a really bad idea! Can we have sex now?”

HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE (1980)

THE TICKET!

What is wrong with HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE is mostly the fact that it is a ridiculously blatant HALLOWEEN rip off. However you could also argue that HALLOWEEN borrowed a ton from BLACK CHRISTMAS. Yet here it is nearly the same goddamn script, yet without Carpenter’s skill and surprisingly honest dialogue – especially between the three girls. We have three female stars here as well, including the innocent (maybe not virginal) victim, the slutty one and the spunky one. We also have a grizzled detective bent on solving the mystery, this time it is Louis Arlt’s Detective Len Gamble filling in for Donald Pleasence’ psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis. Let us not forget the silent stalking killer. And finally, what the f*ck is up with the score by Alexander and Mark Peskanov which is extremely close to the synthesized sounds of John Carpenter’s score, yet not nearly as effective. Hell, during the final chase she even is screaming the line “keys, keys… f*cking keys,” while she is trying to start the car. The f*cking houses even look the same! Yet with all the negative aspects of the film, it is utterly surprising how damn entertaining HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE is.

Much like HALLOWEEN, this horror flick features a likable lead in Caitlin O’Heaney. In fact, the actress is probably the best thing in this slice of 1980’s horror – even if her character is painfully dense. It doesn’t hurt the fact that there is a decent amount of suspense and little bit of nudity, however it is pretty light on gore. Yet it is O’Heaney that really kept me involved and made me give a crap when she was in danger. As for the killer (Tom Rolfing), he is a little over-the-top with his wild eyes and receding hairline, yet somehow that makes him creepy enough. He stalks Amy (O’Heaney)! He goes after her friends. And when he is finally ready to play, he picks them off – including an unfaithful husband/teacher – one by one. HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE is a big time copy cat when it comes to horror from that era, but so was pretty much everything during that period. Yet for me, this is one of those flicks from my youth that holds up pretty great in spite of not having an original bone in its body.

BEST SCENE TO GET YOUR DATE HOT AND BOTHERED!

Elizabeth Kemp is a true eighties hottie. Thankfully she likes to take a nice shower and listen to some groovy music that makes her feel all comfy and nice. It’s too bad crazy eyes has to ruin it by disturbing her peace, maybe she would have been inspired to take some pleasure in her own company if she’d had some time to do so. But no, the old psycho has to step in and commit some off-screen mayhem before she can get in the mood. Okay dude, I get that you know she is alone, but can’t you give her a little time to enjoy herself. Thankfully, her brief tit shot in the bathroom and shower leaves us with some enjoyment!

SCENE THAT WILL HAVE YOU LAUGH SILLY

As mentioned, there is very little originality here and this creates a problem watching it again after all these years. While I do honestly enjoy this slashless slasher – there is hardly a drop of blood in the entire running time – the fact that the end is so specifically modeled after HALLOWEEN is pretty freakin’ hilarious. She can’t find her keys. She backs up and the killer jumps up from a seated position. The detective (or in HALLOWEEN’s case, psychiatrist) comes and shoots at the killer yet he just won’t die. And yes, the music is much too obvious to whom and what is its “inspiration.” Thankfully there is quite a bit of suspense if you let yourself sit back and just enjoy it.

SCENE THAT WILL HAVE HER/HIM JUMPING IN YOUR ARMS!

If you are looking for a good jump scare, that probably happens about midway through. While Amy is trying on her wedding dress at a local store, the owner meets the stalker up close and personal. Not that I gave two shits about the cigar smoking gentleman, yet it comes out of nowhere and works as an effective “Boo Scare!”

GROOVE TO THE MUSIC!

Did you like John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN theme? Well, it seems that Alexander and Mark Peskanov did as well. The repetitive synth in each and every piece certainly feels all too familiar. It may sound like Carpenter’s score, but it really just comes across as a pale imitation. Of course sometimes even imitations can work better than you’d expect.

AN IDEAL DOUBLE BILL WITH:

If you are looking for a double dose of bloodless, suspense driven slasher flicks, look no further than HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE and then check out SILENT SCREAM (1981). Both are equally unoriginal, but each offers up a great leading lady and a heavy dose of suspense – at least in regards to slasher flicks back in the day. I have to admit, sometimes you long for the days of movies like this that pretend to be something deep with underlying issues, and both of these two flicks fit that bill.

GET HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE HERE!

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12:42PM on 06/05/2012
What? No mention of young Tom Hanks?
What? No mention of young Tom Hanks?
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