'Alice, Sweet Alice: Special Edition'
(Brooke Shields, Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula E. Sheppard, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1976) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: 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.
Blu-ray Verdict: This rather surreal horror film centers on 12-year-old Alice (Paula Sheppard) who is a strange girl who is suspected of murdering her younger and more popular sister Karen (Brooke Shields).
Her parents believe that she is innocent but as more crimes start to happen everyone seems to think that perhaps she isn't so sweet.
'Alice, Sweet Alice' has since become a huge cult film over the years and it's somewhat easy to see why. The film got a second chance of life after Brooke Shields became a star, but in all honesty she's not in too much of the movie.
I remember watching this film as a kid and really hating it because it wasn't bloody or violent enough, but revisiting it now on this brand new Blu-ray release from MVD Visual, well, after all of these years time now has me respecting it a lot more for what it actually ascends to be.
I think what works best is the fact that the entire film has a very bizarre atmosphere to it. I'm not sure if it's the religious aspect of the film, its low budget or what but there's no doubt that there is a very creepy vibe to the entire picture.
The film is also remembered for some of the death scenes in the film. None of them are overly graphic, but at the same time they are well-staged and pack a nice little punch. The twist in the story is something that I also thought worked very well, but won't reveal here, of course.
Performances are rather hit and miss but I thought Rudolph Willrich was good as Father Tom and I also liked Sheppard as the young Alice. Shields is pretty bad in some of her scenes, sorry, but I guess we shouldn't be too hard on her as it was very early in her career.
Alphonso DeNoble appears as the creepy landlord and there's no question that he steals the film because his character is just so damn creepy. Both Lillian Roth and Mildred Clinton are also good and keep the film on the rails, that's for sure.
What really kills the film is the fact that it has a made-for-TV look to it and there's no question that due to that fact that overall it looks quite cheap.
Regardless, and with the pacing a wee bit off in places, 'Alice, Sweet Alice' is still a rather unique film that is well worth watching (especially now that it's been released on a wondrous crystal clear Blu-ray from the aforementioned MVD Visual). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) HD presentation and comes with the Special Features of:
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
Alternate Opening Titles
Trailer and TV Spot
+ First Pressing Only: Collector's Booklet with Essay by Michael Blyth
'Alice, Sweet Alice' Original Movie Trailer