Alice Sweet Alice is far from a minor film in the slasher category. Its release in blu ray at the house of Rimini September 23 is an opportunity to come back to this film.
Slasher has a long history rooted in Psychosis by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960. Halloween is considered the first true slasher, but it would be ignored at times Black Christmastwo years before, but also the giallos of Mario Bava Where Dario Argento in Italy in the 60s and 70s.
If indeed Halloween lays down certain foundations, Alice Sweet Alice is not to be forgotten as much it brought. Alfred Sole’s film is often linked to Brooke Shields since it is the first appearance of the actress. She was then barely 10 years old. If her role is minor, but essential, she is especially eclipsed by the brilliant Paula Sheppard. She plays 12-year-old Alice. The actress was 19 at the time!
Alice Sweet Alice begins with a young girl who is killed by a psychopath in a yellow raincoat and a doll’s mask during mass. If we accuse the jealous Alice, nothing proves the guilt of the child while the attacks multiply.
The film, very rooted in its time, therefore has gimmicks which are still far from the sobriety of the 80s. Tight frame, strident music, emotional hysteria, Alice Sweet Alice has something to disconcert anyone who has never seen a film from this era.
Creating controversy by staging the Church a little too extensively, the named Communion at the time was censored for fear of offending Christians. Worse, the murder of children in the middle of mass is just as blasphemous, if not worse. Indeed, Alice Sweet Alice aligns the disturbing, creepy scenes, creating unease. Like the scenes with the neighbor, played by Alfonso DeNoblean enormously imposing actor, we come close to censorship for pedophilia. Paula’s age Sheppard surely avoided the worst for this film.
Filming was not easy either with Linda Millerwho plays the mother, who cuts her veins in the middle of the final scene… Filming interrupted and a reputation as a cursed film for some time until its release, which was quite discreet.
We will especially remember the attack scenes which seem quite different tone general of the movie. And on closer inspection, we understand! This is William Lustig who was hired to shoot the attack scenes. The future director of the cult maniac (1980) had thus made the hand with a certain effectiveness.
Scratching religion, showing a child murder and a problematic neighbor, here is the program of this film! Far from being a horror film in the pure tradition of the genre, Alice Sweet Alice is rather eyeing the side of the violent and bloody thriller. In the midst of a torn family, the scenario drifts here and there in the police investigation, the psychological thriller and the slasher. The strong imagery that emerges from this film with this mask that spins shivers reinforces the unmistakable side of this production to be placed on the side of the great classics of the genre.
The collector’s box
The film is available in a superb box set with DVD and blu-ray from September 23. The image is rather clean even if we deplore a certain grain in the darker scenes. In audio, two DTS-HD tracks in English and French come to garnish your speakers.
As a bonus, a presentation module of Alice Sweet Alice (24 mins) by Gilles Gressard, writer and film historian, who reviews the filming, the career of the director and the actors. We will note a small approximation, even an error on the television career of Alfred Sole. From there to say that as soon as you change your favorite medium, you are no longer a specialist… We will rather go to the side of the booklet provided in the edition, written by Marc Toullec, for more details.
- The Blu-ray of the movie
- The movie DVD
- Includes a 20-page booklet “Le bon Dieu sans confession” written by Marc Toullec
- Presentation of the film (24 min) by Gilles Gressard, writer and film historian