Alice, Sweet Alice (Communion / Holy Terror, 1976)

US Arrow Video 2019 Blu-ray edition, - Region A


I had never heard of this film before (i watched it in Mars 2023) and I was very surprised as I somehow was
expecting a lame proto-slasher, but WOW! This was a great one, and almost a giallo, a very clever and well
made Horror Thriller and Murder mystery from the ex-porn director Alfred Sole, and also the film debut by a
very young Brooke Shields. The film went completely under the radar and was re-released for TV in 1981
when Brooke Shields suddenly had become famous with Louis Malle's controversial "Pretty Baby".

The film had vibes of 1955 "The Bad Seed" with Patty McCormack as Rhoda Penmark, the evil child, and of
Nicholas Roeg's 1973 "Don't Look Now", the latter with regard to the follow the yellow raincoat scene.
And, that's perfectly fine with me as these two films are some of my favourites.
The film takes place in the early 1960's and was shot in New Jersey, USA

The story (warning for some possible spoilers):

Karen and Alice are two sisters, Karen the cute and well-behaved one and her older sister Alice the one
behaving unruly and with jealousy towards her kid sister. When Karen (a very young Brooke Shields) is
about to have her Communion in church she's very brutally murdered in a side room, put in a coffin and
set on fire and with Alice (Paula Sheppard) roaming around in church seemingly content with everything.
The first 11-12 minutes of the film are very intense and well made.

The Police wants to know more of what really happened and what Alice have to say, but her parents the
Spages, Catherine (Linda Miller) and Dominic (Niles McMaster), and everyone, protects her. But not Annie
(Jane Lowry), Alice's aunt who moves in with her sister to assist Catherine in her sorrow, who knows that
Alice is Evil. Another one who knows that Alice is a monster is the obese landlord, Mr. Alphonso (Alphonso
De Noble) and their strange and very intense hate relation clearly reminds me about "The Bad Seed" and
Rhoda Penmark/Patty McCormack's relation with the dimwitted janitor Leroy (with an almost sexual tinge
to it). "The Bad Seed" was written in 1954 by William March, a hailed but controversial novel (and the film
"The Bad Seed" was censored and had an added on ending where everyone were nice and friendly).

Wearing a yellow raincoat and a face-mask Alice tries to knife her aunt Annie to death (also in a very well
made and intense scene) but she survives the assault, and everyone pretends that the assailant must have
been someone else than Sweet Alice. Her parents protects her no matter what but the police are closing in.
Dominic Spages chasing after the small figure in the yellow raincoat (is lifted from "Don't Look Now") but
is one of the highlights of the film and with disturbing conclusion.
Finally: "Alice, Sweet Alice" was a brilliant horror movie and bordering to being a genre masterpiece.

Film is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 with english audio mono 1.0 and with english subtitles - Region A
Archival audio commentary with director Alfred Sole and editor Edward Salier, New audio commentary by
Richard Harland Smith, First Communion: Alfred Sole remembers "Alice, Sweet Alice" (18 minutes, 2019),
Alice on my mind: Interview with composer Stephan Lawrence (15 minutes, 2019), In the name of the
Father: Interview with actor Niles McMaster (16 minutes, 2019), The Locations of ASA (16 minutes, 2019),
Sweet Memories: Dante Tomaselli on ASA (11 minutes, 2019), Deleted scenes, Alternative Opening titles,
Original trailer, UK TV spot, Image gallery, Holy Terror - The 1981 Re-Release version of Alice, Sweet Alice


Back to Horror Films Page 1