After a jilted lover (Tom Rolfing) kills his ex-bride-to-be, he decides justice has not been served and decides that all women preparing for their upcoming nuptials need to meet the sharp end of his knife. The killer has arrived in a new town looking for Amy (Caitlin O’Heaney) and her wedding party to make perfect, voluptuous targets in his sick revenge. Amy’s spotted our killer, but everyone just laughs it off as getting cold feet. Can her ex-boyfriend, Marvin (Don Scardino), get her to dump the groom and save her from the clutches of a madman? Oh, Marvin! My hero!
Defying convention was never the slasher genre’s strong suit, so why start with He Knows You’re Alone? It’s a simple story taken from the pages of the master, John Carpenter, but with a small twist – the killer’s face is never concealed (although he remains quite frightening). Perhaps it’s because of those similarities to Halloween that He Knows has never been a darling of the critics, or many die hard fans for that matter, but I still have a soft spot for this nice little thriller. Most detractors of it hate the fact that it’s a basic road map of Halloween but some of us dig the minimalist plot and the chemistry between the two leads. Don Scardino makes Marvin a decent and likable fellow and Caitlin O’Heaney is good as Amy. Lest we forget, this was also Tom Hanks’ first film. He only shows up in two scenes, but you can see his star quality shining.
He Knows has some great set pieces too. The opening scene spins a clever movie within a movie yarn and eagle eyed horror geeks will notice that’s Russell Todd from Chopping Mall and Friday the 13th Part 2 hanging over the car! Blink and you might miss James Carroll from Girls Nite Out in another scene. Yes, there’s a virtual cornucopia of horror references to be had during just one viewing! Now who could say no to that?
Director Armand Mastroianni knew how to keep the bodycount rolling. The best scene in the film features the curvy Elizabeth Kemp sitting with her back to the camera, listening to a pop ballad on headphones and toking it up as our killer watches. Remember when girls were curvaceous? Those were good days! There’s also a terrific close-to-death reaction from the put-upon final girl who plays it like a real person in her situation would – she freaks out! And big time! The horror at what may happen to her is palpable and creates a great sense of fear during the final chase scene.
So while He Knows is by no means a groundbreaking film it is entertaining and harkens back to the day when films of this ilk had yet to be considered contrived. So take your shoes off, kick back and let the killing begin!