Don't Sleep Alone (1997) from Tuna

Don't Sleep Alone is an erotic thriller that uses the ever popular multiple personality disorder to fool the audience. Note that this is really the same plot device as the surprise evil identical twin. It is rated 1.8 at IMDb, although it's not the hackneyed plot device that sunk this film, but bad dialogue, poor acting, and weak story telling. That should be all the warning you need to avoid this film.

This is a great time, however, to explode the myths about Multiple Personality Disorder. The condition was first documented in France in the late 1800s, where it was thought to be a rare form of epilepsy. It became a very popular clinical diagnosis in the US after several popular films, beginning with The Three Faces of Eve (1957), created an awareness of the condition. It was later discovered that analysts were actually creating these so-called personalities in therapy. People like to please authority figures, and if an analysts tried hard enough, the patient would oblige. The myth exploders and urban legend folks will be quick to tell you there is no such thing as Multiple Personality Disorder. While that is technically correct, there is more to the story.

In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), the handbook of personality disorders, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) was changed to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This was largely due to the official position of the British Psychiatric Association that each person has one, and only one personality. DID does, however, exist, and is a close cousin of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The cause of DID is said to be severe physical, mental or sexual abuse in early childhood. As in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, the mind uses the normal self-protection mechanism of suppressing things too terrible to dwell on, but suppresses to an extreme. Thus MPD was not debunked, it was simply renamed. I have seen estimates that between 2% and 10% of Americans suffer from some sort of Dissociative Disorder, however, there are many degrees of severity.


Star Lisa Welti and three strippers show breasts and buns.

Scoop's note: I don't know exactly what the technical definition of Multiple Personality Disorder is, or what name it currently goes by, but I know what has been debunked.

1. There has never been, to my knowledge, any tested, documented, scientifically validated case in human history of a person maintaining a second personality which is fully unaware of things that happen to the first personality. In every case where controlled testing has been permitted, the independence of the personalities has been debunked. Such claims are simple to refute. It is merely a matter of giving both personalities a test, finding something that neither of them knows, then teaching that fact subtly to the first personality, buried within another lesson of some kind, which masks the intent of the researcher from the patient. (Like having the patient watch a movie which shows that Michelangelo was gay, for example.) Voila!, the second personality also magically learns that Big Mike was a flamer, even though he/she was not there.

2. A prominent Psychiatrist named Merskey scanned 110 years of medical literature which predated the recent sudden rise in MPD diagnoses since the 70s (which was probably caused by the publication of the famous book, Sybil, and the subsequent movie with Sally Field.). None of the cases "excluded possibility of artificial production " of MPD symptoms. "No case has been found here in which MPD, as now conceived, is proven to have emerged through unconscious processes without any shaping or preparation by external is likely that MPD never occurs as a spontaneous persistent natural event in adults."  Note the use of the word "none". Not one. In the 110 year history of the scientific literature. Even Sybil herself was subsequently debunked.

In simplest terms, there is something called Dissociative Identity Disorder, but:

  • It is not what you think it is if you watch too many movies. The personalities are not completely independent, and nobody can seem to pinpoint any general rule about how much is shared between the personalities. (I assume it varies from case to case.)

  • Even if you consider what it really is, it may be extremely rare. (Psychiatrists do not agree on this point, to say the least. On the one extreme is a claim that DID may affect as many as 35% of adults, and the other extreme is an estimate that the actual incidence may be as few as a dozen cases in all of North America. So it is somewhere between 12 and 140,000,000 people in North America. That's not exactly pinned down.)

  • The skeptics (Like Dr. Merskey) say that even the very few diagnosed pre-Sybil cases may have been created by the psychiatric therapy itself, or other cultural factors (like watching the movie Three Faces of Eve.)

  • Obviously, the actual incidence has a lot to do with how the condition is defined. Do the personalities have to be completely independent? Then the answer is none. On the other hand, a very relaxed definition may actually allow for those 140,000,000 sufferers, based on the number of people who experience extreme personality shifts from day to day.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No reviews online

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Almost nobody has seen this film, which is as it should be. It is poor but, as it is more or less technically competent, the proper score is E.

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