Movie Review: ALICE, SWEET ALICE (Special Edition) Blu-ray

ALICE, SWEET ALICE (aka Communion and Holy Terror) was directed by Alfred Sole who co-wrote the screenplay with Rosemary Ritvo and stars Linda Miller, Paula Sheppard, Rudolph Willrich, Jane Lowry, Mildred Clinton, Alphonso DeNoble and Brooke Shields. The music is composed by Stephen J. Lawrence.

Favorite daughter Karen (Brooke Shields) is viciously strangled and set afire in church on the day of her First Communion, and suspicion falls on her jealous and emotionally unstable sister, Alice (Paula E. Sheppard). When the girls’ aunt, Annie (Jane Lowry), is later stabbed on an apartment complex stairway, Alice is sent away. But the attacks continue, prompting priest Father Tom (Rudolph Willrich) and Alice’s dad, Dominick (Niles McMaster), to go in search of the real killer.

This 1976 slasher follows Catherine Spages (Linda Miller) and her two daughters, nine-year-old Karen (Brooke Shields) and twelve-year-old Alice (Paula Sheppard) who go to an all-girls Catholic school. Catherine is divorced and is pretty much raising her daughters on her own but she does have a little help and guidance from her friend Father Tom (Rudolph Willrich) and his housekeeper Mrs. Tredoni (Mildred Clinton). What happens is, Karen ends up getting murdered during her first day of communion by a masked figure wearing a yellow raincoat and all fingers point at the extremely awkward Alice.

Alice is the kind of girl who likes to cause trouble and if she picks out someone she doesn’t like then she gives them hell. Like their obscenely obese landlord Mr. Alphonso (Alphonso DeNoble) who’s about as creepy as they come. Karen’s death is putting even more stress on Catherine so her sister Annie (Kane Lowry) comes to stay with them and Alice doesn’t like her much either. As a matter of fact, the feeling is mutual. What happens is, while Alice is still being blamed for her sister’s death, more people are killed or injured and it appears to be the same person who murdered Karen. All along, Catherine has protected her troubled daughter and insisted that she didn’t do it and in the end the real killer is finally unmasked in a shocking reveal.

The packaging coems with a slipcover/o-card. The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back include movie details and list of special features. The reversible sleeve features some alternate artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. There’s also a fully illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Michael Blyth that will be available for the first pressing only. There’s also a two-sided mini poster included. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Alice, Sweet Alice has been given a brand new 2K restoration of the theatrical version from the original camera negative. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Alice, Sweet Alice is labeled as one of the overlooked horror classics of the 70’s but in my strange little world it happens to be one of my go-to favorites that I’ve revisited from time to time over the years. Most recently on Shudder and now on this pristine high-def release. The story for this unique movie is interesting because it deals with several different subjects like religion, a dysfunctional family, and a child’s cry for help, but at the center of all the madness is a vicious slasher. The cast does a great job with their characters and even though Brooke Shields gets the spotlight here, it’s actually Paula Sheppard who steals the show with her impressive performance as this troubled girl. Alfred Sole delivered a movie that has gone on to become one of the best horror classics of the 70’s that was influenced by Hitchcock thrillers and even Italian giallo. There’s a little blood and gore but Alice, Sweet Alice definitely focuses more on the characters and the twisted story than anything else and it’s executed to near perfection. Alice, Sweet Alice will be available on a Special Edition Blu-ray on August 6th.

Distributor: Arrow Video

Run Time: 107 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The impressive list of extras include some new audio commentary, vintage audio commentary, three interviews with some of the cast and crew, a location featurette, a director spotlight, alternate television cut of the movie, two deleted scenes, alternate opening titles, original trailer, UK TV spot and an image gallery.

  • 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. (18:42)
  • Alice on my Mind: An interview with composer Stephen Lawrence. (14:59)
  • In the Name of the Father – A Brand new interview with actor Niles McMaster (16:02)
  • Sweet Memories: Dante Tomaselli on Alice, Sweet Alice – filmmaker Dante Tomaselli, cousin of Alfred Sole, discusses his longtime connection to the film. (11:18)
  • Lost Childhood: The Locations of Alice, Sweet Alice – a tour of the original Alice Sweet Alice shooting locations hosted by author Michael Gingold. (16:02)
  • Alternate Holy Terror Television Cut (1:47:13)
  • Deleted Scenes (02:45)
  • Alternate Opening Titles (01:13)
  • Original Trailer (01:44)
  • UK TV Spot (00:16)
  • Image Gallery (06:40)

Check out my Instagram page for my Alice, Sweet Alice Blu-ray mail call.

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