The Devil Knows His Own

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If micro-budget horrors like The Devil Knows His Own are to be “rescued from the dominion of darkness,” [Colossians 1:13] their trailers need to be short, tight and on-point. Bad trailers are sins least likely to be forgiven (and the poster ain’t so hot either).

It’s an impressive feat to generate 165,000 YouTube views, but not if the conversion rates are lousy and the up to down-vote ratio is almost 1:1.

A 56% YouTube approval rating does the finished product a disservice, as while it’s by no means a masterpiece, there is undeniable visual style for 50K in The Devil Knows His Own.

Ethan (Patrick D Green) is a leather-clad rocker living the trappings of the rock star life. He swigs whisky from a flask in the AM (we’ve all been there) and answers the door to his hotel room nude (no comment), giving the maid a stir while his entourage does blow and stumbles to the tour bus barefoot in nothing but their underwear.

His lesbian sister Jess (Dara Davey), who looks a bit like BC punk rocker Bif Naked, is getting their recently passed grandma’s affairs in order. And wouldn’t you know it? The executor of her will, Nathaniel, announces that the old lady has bequeathed the siblings her house…which has furniture covered in plastic like she was Italian. (If you don’t believe that’s a thing, search memes.)

Ethan and Jess reunite after a long time not having seen one another (he’s a “famous rock star”) and decide to stay at the abode with their respective girlfriends.

Lawyer Nathaniel is unlikely buddies with a priest, Levi, so the man of the cloth can add some exposition in the form of: “The house…is evil!”

There’s definitely bad mojo there, as the siblings were abused by mom and grannie, who stapled creepy masks to their faces if they misbehaved.

The_Devil_Knows_His_ownFilms like The Devil Knows His Own have to be compared with their low budget brethren, as it’s rare that a breakout classic occurs with the dollars invested at this level. Rare, but by no means impossible.

The performances are pretty good, and the relationship between Jess and her wife is quite moving at times. Ditto the strong relationship between the siblings.

However, there are two major, almost insurmountable flaws:

1. During the funeral service, you can see granny moving in her coffin…and

2. Why stay in a house that has bad memories associated with it? The latter could’ve been easily explained away as a financial need. However, early on Ethan says he doesn’t need the money and it’s made clear Jess is going to sell.

Then again, if people didn’t know what was best for them, there’d be no haunted house genre to speak of.

Still, on the cheap, The Devil Knows His Own offers a few pretty decent scares and good atmosphere, especially the creepy basement and the gripping childhood flashbacks.

**3/4 (out of 5)

[Copy provided by WILD EYE RELEASING]

Psycho Sleepover

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Psycho_Sleepover— Just because you brutally murdered your boyfriend, doesn’t mean all boys are bad…
‘— EX boyfriend.

With an impressive body count (north of two dozen) and zingers to match, Troma’s Psycho Sleepover delivers the goods you’d expect from a film with that title.

Debbie Dicky’s lecherous boyfriend is sick of blue balls and Eskimo kissing and her inability to take things as far as he’d like.

After a spat with him, Debbie is prank-called by a prankster who plays her Entrance of the Gladiators, AKA, that “circus clown big top music” (Editors’ note: that piece, incidentally, was military march music from the late 19th century, prompting the question, how can anyone win a battle with THAT as the call to arms?)

She arms herself with a kitchen knife and asks all the pertinent horror questions (“Is anyone there?”) and the usual horror film declaration (“It’s not funny guys”) and soon, in this loving tribute/send-up of slasher banalities, a killer clown is after her with an axe.

Debbie runs outside to a nearby park and then gets the better of him with a knife to the groin, sending him hilariously hurtling down a flight of stairs. Who is that masked man? Check it out for yourself. The motivation for the attack is pure Troma hilarity/vulgarity.

Flash forward in true slasher fashion and Debbie’s moved to a new town. She meets three girls who invite her to a sleepover. (Mom’s sage advice: “One night out won’t kill you!” Terrific.)

Naturally, there’s a madmen on the loose as the local insane asylum’s security is not up to snuff. (It never is. Time for mental hospitals to employ permanent employees and to lose the staffing agency temps.) However, the girls at the slumber party are not be as helpless as the killers think.

PSYCHO_SLEEPOVERA grapefruit-gnawing psychiatrist from the terrifically named Murderton Home for the Criminally Insane makes a house call, as Debbie’s father and ex were both, it turns out, serial killers.

Psycho Sleepover has more than a few outstanding killings including a hand-in-a-blender (that’d make for a nasty smoothie) neck snap combo. Also, a guy dressed as a hobo is asphyxiated with his own bindle and a mime bites it in terrific fashion, seconds after doing the “man in a box.”

Star rating depends on affinity for Troma releases. We’re game but realize many aren’t. See for yourself.

*** (out of 5)

[CHECK OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH UNCLE LLOYD KAUFMAN]

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