A young Brooke Shields meets an untimely end in this religious-themed proto slasher par excellence from director Alfred Sole. On the day of her first communion, young Karen (Brooke Shields) is savagely murdered by an unknown assailant in a yellow rain mac and creepy translucent mask. But the nightmare is far from over – as the knife-wielding maniac strikes again and again, Karen’s bereaved parents are forced to confront the possibility that Karen’s wayward sister Alice might be the one behind the mask. Bearing influences from the likes of Hitchcock, the then-booming Italian giallo film and more specifically, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, Alice, Sweet Alice is an absolutely essential – if often overlooked – entry in the canon of 1970s American horror.
What We Thought:
Not only had I not seen Alice, Sweet Alice, I had never even heard of it before watching it. Turns out it’s the film debut of Brooke Shields. It’s from 1976, but takes place in the early 1960’s in New Jersey and sometimes is referred to as Communion.
It’s an American film but has a European look/vibe to it. If I didn’t recognize Brooke Shields as a kid I would have assumed it was made overseas to look like America. I think it taking place in the 60’s adds to an aged look and it being religiously themed adds to it as well.
Even though it’s her debut, Shields isn’t in it for long. If you read the synopsis you see she is killed at her communion and her sister is the suspect. Her sister clearly has issues, but is she capable of murder? Her aunt thinks so and when the aunt is hurt, the cops pick up the sister Alice.
Now obviously there is more to it, a fat landlord that screams pedo, there is a priest that with today’s mindset screams pedo, there is a cousin and an older priest who thinks he hears children around the church so it gives you a lot to figure out. Most of it is there to keep you guessing and I’m not 100% sure if I like the final reveal. There is a sort of second reveal that leaves a door open, but who the killer is didn’t quite work for me.
That being said I’m sure there are some dieahard fans of the film that will eat up this new release. It’s been restored and comes with a slew of bonus features (listed below). I can see it having a cult following due to Shields and a lot of religious slasher flicks are beloved by fans.
So if you are a fan of Alice, Sweet Alice this is the best version of the film. It looks good for its age and the collection of bonus features will keep you entertained. It reminded me of a lot of other films of the time which is a good thing.
- Brand new 2K restoration of the theatrical version from the original camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original uncompressed mono audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Brand new audio commentary with Richard Harland Smith
- Archival audio commentary with co-writer/director Alfred Sole and editor Edward Salier
- First Communion: Alfred Sole Remembers Alice, Sweet Alice – director Alfred Sole looks back on his 1976 classic
- In the Name of the Father – brand new interview with actor Niles McMaster
- Sweet Memories: Dante Tomaselli on Alice, Sweet Alice – filmmaker Dante Tomaselli, cousin of Alfred Sole, discusses his longtime connection to the film
- Lost Childhood: The Locations of Alice, Sweet Alice – a tour of the original Alice Sweet Alice shooting locations hosted by author Michael Gingold
- Alternate Holy Terror Television Cut
- Deleted scene
- Alternate Opening Titles
- Trailer and TV Spot
- Original screenplay
- Image gallery