When the Devil Knocks a documentary by Helen Slinger

Bountiful Films presents:

Helen Slinger’s, When The Devil Knocks.

This documentary “sheds light on a misunderstood mental illness, but more strikingly provides viewers with a deeply intimate and stirring portrait of a long suffering woman with multiple personalities.”

Hilary Stanton, the patient starring in the film, has over 30 “alters” as she and her therapist, Dr. Cheryl Malmo, call them.

Although Dr. Malmo has worked with Hilary for over 10 years, it is not clear from the film trailer if her patient has overcome her presenting problem of childhood sexual abuse or if she has rid herself of the need for alter personalities. It seems, however, that Dr. Malmo is incompetent at her job, and that Hilary could use a second opinion and a new mental health care provider.

Happy Kreter, one reviewer of the film calls it “deeply disturbing” and I’m sure it is but for reasons beyong portraying a women tormented for over 10 years with alter personalities and with little apparent relief from them or her abusive past. It would be disturbing to most people to see a patient depicted in a film in this manner. If, as Dr. Malmo claims, Hilary has 30 or more personalities, there is no way this woman could give informed consent to be the star of a deeply intimate exposure of her personal life.

The film shows Hilary regressed to alters that are 5 years of age. There can be no informed consent from a child.

Helen Slinger, although breaching patient privacy, has provided viewers with a true look at what occurs behind the closed doors of a therapy room where DID behaviors are learned and encouraged to develop. It shows a devoted and loving therapist leading her patient through the experiences of “alters” and shows the patient, as a regressed alter, divulging her experiences.

Is this a documentary ? or patient exploitation?


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