He Knows You're Alone
|He Knows You're Alone|
Original movie poster
|Directed by||Armand Mastroianni|
|Produced by||George Manasse|
|Written by||Scott Parker|
|Edited by||George Norris|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
He Knows You're Alone is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Armand Mastroianni, written by Scott Parker, and starring Caitlin O'Heaney, Don Scardino, Paul Gleason, and Tom Hanks in his feature film debut. The plot follows a soon-to-be bride who is stalked by a killer the weekend before her wedding.
Shot in Staten Island, New York in 1979, He Knows You're Alone has been credited as one of the first horror films inspired by the success of Halloween (1978) and shares a number of similarities with the previous hit.
A young bride is murdered on her wedding day by the man she rejected for her current fiancé Len Gamble, a police detective. Several years later, a bride-to-be is stabbed to death in a movie theater in Long Island while her friend sits beside her. The killer, Ray Carlton, flees into the night while her friend screams upon the discovery of her friend dead.
The next morning, the killer arrives by bus at Staten Island, where he sees from a distance university student Amy Jensen. Amy is preparing for her wedding, and she sees off her husband-to-be Phil and his two friends who leave town for a bachelor party the weekend before the wedding. After attending a ballet class with her friends Nancy and Joyce, the three run into their psychology professor Carl, with whom Joyce is having an affair. Amy leaves to go to a dress fitting, stopping to get ice cream on the way, where she notices a man following her. She is startled by Marvin, her ex-boyfriend, outside the ice cream shop on a break from his job at the local morgue. She then goes to the dress shop for her fitting, and as she leaves, the dressmaker is stabbed to death with scissors by the man who was following her. Later that night, Nancy and Joyce surprise Amy at her home with a small bachelorette party. Her parents are gone for the weekend, leaving Amy in charge of her kid sister. Joyce leaves the party for Carl's house, where the two begin to have sex until the power inexplicably goes out. Carl goes to check on the electrical box, and when he returns he is stabbed to death by the killer with a kitchen knife after finding Joyce's lifeless body in the bed.
The following morning, Marvin arrives at Amy's house and insinuates that he wants to rekindle their relationship, and Amy expresses second thoughts over her marriage to Phil. While in the kitchen, Amy sees the mysterious man standing in her yard and becomes frightened. She invites Marvin to come to a local amusement park with her, Nancy, and her sister, but he declines as he has a shift at the morgue that night. Meanwhile, police find the dressmaker's body at the shop, and detectives Frank Daley and Len Gamble arrive to investigate. Later, Amy and Nancy meet Elliot, a psychology student, while jogging through a forest trail. They later attend the amusement park with him, where he questions Amy's claims of a man following her. While riding a dark ride with her sister, Amy sees Ray Carlton inside the ride, and confides in Nancy at her house that night. Amy briefly leaves to take her sister to a birthday party, leaving Nancy alone at the house. Nancy takes a shower and then puts on a record and lies down in the living room where she smokes a joint, and moments later has her throat slashed by Ray.
Amy returns, discovers Nancy's severed head in the fish tank, and is attacked by Ray. She flees outside to her car and struggles to drive with Ray on the roof. She crashes the car in a wooded area and runs to the nearby morgue, where she finds Marvin and phones the police. Ray enters the morgue, and Detective Gamble arrives as well. Ray confronts Amy and chases her through a tunnel system in the morgue's basement. When confronted by Detective Gamble, the killer stabs him in the heart after he gets shot in his left shoulder by the detective. Nevertheless, Ray continues to pursue Amy. Amy manages to trap the wounded killer inside a storage closet and escapes from the basement where Marvin finds her. The two flee outside to safety where police are arriving and entering the morgue. Later, Marvin and Amy are to be married, as it is implied that she cut off her marriage to Phil. As Amy sits in front of a mirror in her wedding dress, an unseen person enters the room. She stands, approaches the camera, and says "Phil, what are you doing here?" before she screams and the screen fades to red.
- Don Scardino as Marvin
- Caitlin O'Heaney as Amy Jensen
- Elizabeth Kemp as Nancy
- Tom Rolfing as Ray Carlton
- Lewis Arlt as Det. Len Gamble
- Patsy Pease as Joyce
- James Rebhorn as Prof. Carl Mason
- Dana Barron as Diane Jensen
- Tom Hanks as Elliot
- Paul Gleason as Det. Frank Daley
- James Carroll as Phil
- Russell Todd as Don
The film was originally slated to be shot in Houston, Texas, under executive producer Samuel Z. Arkoff (who had executive-produced other releases from MGM, including The Amityville Horror the previous year), but Arkoff was unable to finance the film, so as a result, it was shot entirely in Staten Island, New York, with half of the original budget. The film was shot on 35mm over a period of fifteen days in December 1979, with the film's climax being shot at the historic Seaview Hospital in Staten Island. According to director Mastroianni, the entire production from script to final edit took only six months to complete.
The original music score was composed by Alexander and Mark Peskanov. The film marked the first movie appearance of actor Tom Hanks, who played a relatively small part. In fact, it was said that Hanks' character was originally written to be killed off with Nancy's character, but because the filmmakers liked him so much, they omitted filming his death scene for the film.
He Knows You're Alone had its world premiere in Los Angeles, California, on August 29, 1980. The film opened in New York City the following month on September 26, showing at several cinemas in Manhattan.
The film received mixed to negative reviews, including one by Tom Buckley of The New York Times, citing "uncertain pacing, halting performances and innumerable technical flaws", while praising the performance of male lead Don Scardino.
Jimmy Summers of BoxOffice magazine gave the film a negative review, noting: "He Knows You're Alone is another one of those low-budget thrillers that should carry in the credits line: "Based on characters and ideas developed by John Carpenter."" Additionally, Summers noted the lack of on-screen violence as leaving the "more blood-thirsty horror fans feeling cheated.
- The internet review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes erroneously lists the film's release date as December 31, 1980, which contradicts its entry with the American Film Institute catalog, which cites the film's Los Angeles opening as August 29, and its New York opening September 26; the latter coincides with Tom Buckley's review of the film in The New York Times, which is dated September 26, 1980.
- "He Knows You're Alone". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "He Knows You're Alone (Blood Wedding)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "He Knows You're Alone". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- Mastroianni, Armand, and Scott Parker. He Knows You're Alone audio commentary (DVD). Warner Bros. 2004.
- "He Knows You're Alone". British Film Institute (BFI). Retrieved 29 April 2015.
- Staff (22 October 2014). "What's in a Name?: "He Knows You're Alone"". The Anniston Star. Horror Fest. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "He Knows You're Alone (1980)". American Film Institute. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- Buckley, Tom (26 September 1980). "He Knows You re Alone (1980): OBSTACLE TO MARRIAGE". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- Summers, Jimmy (September 1980). "He Knows You're Alone" (PDF download). BoxOffice. Reviews: 36–7.