Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

alice sweet alice poster 1976 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Creepy killer

Loses some steam near the end

Movie Info

Movie Name: Alice, Sweet Alice (Communion)

Studio: Harristown Funding, Inc.

Genre(s): Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s): November 12, 1976 (Chicago International Film Festival)/November 18, 1977 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

alice sweet alice brooke shields paula e sheppard

I resent you…and I might kill you…maybe

A little girl (Brooke Shields) is murdered on the day of her first communion.  The police and everyone all suspect it is her sister Alice (Paula E. Sheppard).  While Alice’s mother and father defend Alice, more and more murders are occurring…Is Alice responsible?

Directed by Alfred Sole, Alice, Sweet Alice is a horror thriller.  The movie was originally released as Communion in 1976 at the Chicago International Film Festival, but became more popularly known as Alice, Sweet Alice (it also has gone by the title Holy Terror).  It was banned in some areas due to the anti-Catholic aspect of the story but gained a cult following over the years.

Alice, Sweet Alice is one of the best titled movies of all times.  Much like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, the movie title has a weird, retro goofiness to it that automatically raises the creep factor.  Movies with children as both the victim and the potential murderer are always scarier because anything can happen.  Due to aspects of the story a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

alice sweet alice serial killer brooke shields mask

First Communion…not so good

The movie is a horror mystery.  Everything points to Alice as the killer, but Alice being the killer is a very unsatisfying answer to the film.  The movie really turns once the real killer is revealed and some of the momentum is killed.  The movie almost becomes a can-she-get-away-with-it scenario.  It also contains a completely ridiculous scene between Catherine Spages (Linda Miller) and Mrs. Tredoni (Mildred Clinton) which makes you question how stupid Alice’s mother can’t be to make a connection.  The movie does end strong however with the final scene of the movie that continues to build tension as the police move in on the killer.

The movie’s cast is quite strong.  Paula E. Sheppard was actually nineteen when the film was shot, but does manage to be believable as a teen.  Alphonso DeNoble plays the extremely creepy landlord whose cat obsession is just as gross as he is.  The movie really gained steam with Brooke Shields’ popularity and though her role is small, the whole movie virtually revolves around her.

alice sweet alice alphonso denoble cat food

This guy is scarier than the killer…

The production of Alice, Sweet Alice is quite strong.  It borrows heavily from the great horror film Don’t Look Now which featured a killer in a red raincoat, and it also has a real giallo feel to it.  The movie makers did manage to make the visuals their own with the creepy mask given to the killer which makes the visual of the killer is quite distinct (it has been copied as well).  Alice, Sweet Alice does have a nice pre-Halloween serial killer feel to it that was developing at the time and made way for movies like Halloween to really expand on it.

Alice, Sweet Alice is definitely worth seeking out for fans of horror.  The movie might have started out slow, but now it actually is sometimes studied for many of the themes of religion and family that flow through the story.  It not only is a bit deeper than your standard horror fare, but it also still manages to scare and chill…something that isn’t always true about horror films which artistic clout.  Alice, Sweet Alice is a winner.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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