Looking for a Halloween religious scare? Try a viewing of the early slasher classic Alice, Sweet Alice. It’s not a straightforward horror film and the director throws you in several directions until the killer is revealed–even then you’re still wondering what just happened. The killings are above par for the time period and gruesome enough to make you wince.
While an imperfect film, some of the moments in church make for a decent scare. This film starred a very young Brooke Shields as Karen, the younger of two daughters who receives a crucifix that ultimately may have led to her being strangled and burned before her first communion. Poor Alice, her older sister, is blamed for the killing because whoever did it was wearing a translucent mask and a very obvious yellow raincoat–the same one Alice likes to wear. The audience is pretty sure this sister is guilty due to her troublesome behavior.
I don’t want to give too much away but suffice to say, religious zealotry plays a large role and if you were raised Catholic the film may bring back some nostalgic or possibly horrific moments from your childhood. It’s worth a view even though I’m giving it 2 and 1/2 stars. I was entertained by the cast and the odd character of Alice (a disturbing child) as my wife and I both kept trying to figure out what the killer’s motives were.
The original film was released in 1976 as Communion, then in 1978 renamed as Alice, Sweet Alice because as usual the distributors were afraid of a public backlash if the film appeared to be about religious horror. Then the film was released one more time in 1981 because Brooke Shields became a big star and they titled it Holy Terror.
SIDENOTE: The reason I like the film is that it feels like there was a bigger story that we were given small clues to. In a way, I think the film is incomplete and had enough vision to be a classic. Unfortunately, it falls short as many early slasher films did. Still they are amusing.
SIDENOTE 2: Alice, Sweet Alice looks like it will be remade per a post on Horror-Movies.ca. Remakes always make me nervous because while the original leaves a lot to be desired, the new idea of remakes is often to add a loud rock sound track and do nothing better than what we might see as the TV movie of the week on the Sy-Fy Channel.