Uncut on DVD, Alfred Sole’s cult slasher flick ALICE, SWEET ALICE (aka: Communion, 1976) marked the very first cinema appearance of Brooke Shields, here playing the doomed younger sister of troublesome schoolgirl Alice (Paula Sheppard, also seen in bizarre sci-fi comedy, Liquid Sky, 1982). While causing no end of problems for her mother,
the obese paedophile landlord in his downstairs lair, and she has a “knack for
making things look like accidents”. Alice
viciously stabs her aunt and, during
the police investigation, the little bitch beats a lie detector test. But there
is a clever twist in this plot-line of escalating psychotic violence. Alice
Like Don’t Look Now, the mysterious killer wears a brightly coloured raincoat, but here it’s yellow not red. As director, Sole clearly parallels De Palma’s Hitchcock tributes but with an acute grotesquery that unbalances the perversities of this movie’s thematic reach. As indicated by its original title, Communion, this still quite shocking tragedy is about madness from familial shame with a religious source, and its urban gothic atmosphere is apparent beyond the closely observed catholic rituals and its bloody finale in the neighbourhood church.