It was once said that “Alice, Sweet Alice,” was the only time America could make a giallo film. It’s not a wrong statement, “Alice, Sweet Alice,” has a lot of elements of watching a giallo. Not only is there a murder mystery, but the viewer gets a glimpse into a film that has a lot of problems. Alice hates her sister Karen, there is some sibling rivalry, Karen is the favorite. Karen is also our first victim. Who killed her? She died at her own communion, which is a terrifying thought. The next question is who is Alice? Is Alice the murderer or is just a very damaged person. Did she kill because of sibling rivalry? Should we call her damaged and not a monster like Jason Voorhees or other cinematic killers? That’s where the film goes a little tricky, we are given little bits of the people around Alice and find that she isn’t the only strange one on the block. Yes, she’s a brat that really needs some meds, but she isn’t the only one in the city.
One great example is the overweight landlord. He’s portrayed as an eccentric at first, then as a child molester. He also has a cat fetish. There is a scene where he tries to grab Alice. What is also weird is that when Alice is in the police station, two police detectives are talking about her breasts. Her aunt highly dislikes her and she is the first to blame for everything. Could that be the reason why our Alice is an odd unhappy girl? Maybe? You feel sorry for her, but then at the same time you wonder what’s wrong with her? Why is she so angry? Is she really a killer or is that really that easy to find out? You can say she is one creepy girl, but she’s not the only one weird person either. It’s kind of the smart idea to add more strange characters to the mix.
This may be marketed as Brooke Shields film, but this isn’t her film this is Paula E. Sheppard. It was also her film debut too and guess she was actually 19 at the time, while playing the 12-year-old Alice. So that’s an interesting fact. The film was released in 1976, which it’s also known as “Communion” or “Holy Terror.” Alfred Sole directed the film. Anyway, another performance well two go to Alice’s mother whom was played by Linda Miller. One does have to give her credit on the love for Alice. Alice isn’t easy to get along with, but when her and mother fight, and she runs back to her it’s a scene that reminds of us that adolescence isn’t easy, especially if you are so unhinged!! Alice does take things to the extreme with her words and her actions, but like her surroundings.
The other topic is religion. What is morally and godly right? Can someone take actions in the name of God? Well you shouldn’t do what the killer does all because of a broken family. So “Alice, Sweet Alice” is an interesting study at city life with a family that might have seen some happiness once. Now there is just carnage especially for Linda Miller’s character. If you haven’t seen this film, it’s highly recommend too. Like “Don’t Look Now,” it’s a raincoat killer and the death of a child is in the plot. Both have the same feel to them. Overall it’s a 4 star film that is a lot more than a new viewer would think.