He Knows You're Alone [1980]

In the late '70s, the "slasher" film was more popular than ever, gaining momentum with immensely successful low budget hits like Friday the 13th. Studios jumped on the band wagon, rushing quickie imitations into theaters hoping to parlay the hoopla into box-office glory. Not surprisingly, many fervent film critics tried to deflate theatergoers' interest in the "splatter" phenomenon, denouncing it as a trend of violent exploitation, but the public was simply too bloodthirsty to care. He Knows You're Alone was released sandwiched between a jillion similar non-notables but is perhaps most distinguished by its uncanny parallels to Halloween and the film debut of superstar Tom Hanks in a bit role. The plot involves a killer preying upon young brides-to-be, a psychosis brought on by an earlier trauma involving wedding dresses, not catching the bouquet, or some other nonsense. Caitlin O'Heaney likeably plays heroine Amy Jensen who senses she's being stalked, or is she just imagining things due to pre-wedding nerves? Her apprehension intensifies as her friends start dying off one by one. Unfortunately director Armand Mastroianni (cousin of Marcello), diffuses much of the suspense by identifying the killer early on, and you may swear halfway through that you've seen this somewhere before. Nonetheless, there are some decent scares including a semi-classic shock involving an aquarium that's sure to give you the chills. Recommended viewing for horror lovers, and ardent Tom Hanks fans. --Matt Wold

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