Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) by Alfred Sole

Director: Alfred Sole
Year: 1976
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: Communion; Holy Terror
Genre: Slasher

Following her daughter's death, a mother's guilt and Catholic repression keeps her from admitting that her jealous and emotional older daughter is responsible even when a similar killing spree strikes the neighborhood forcing them to deal with their issues to catch the killer.


This one here wasn't all that bad of a slasher effort even though it is somewhat overrated. What this one really does get right is the rather domineering and oppressive tone featured here, with the film so heavily steeped in Catholicism and repentance that it works incredibly well at generating a great atmosphere throughout here. Not only is there a depiction of Christ or a cross fixed prominently in just about every sequence here, sometimes both together in pictures, paintings or statues but the whole film revolves around the jealousy depicted towards the First Holy Communion as that sets the whole film in motion. That also ties into the ending confrontation in the church as it takes place during the Mass Ceremony rather than the empty church gives it a little more power, and that in itself is the best quality of the scene.

Likewise, the inability of the characters to recognize or accept any kind of wrongful, sinful behavior on her part since she's clearly crazy yet being unable to admit it doesn't come across as necessary here because of the conditioning not to accept that possible reasoning. That tends to get played out nicely in the first half here as the different investigations into her behavior only to keep getting caught up in the religious drama that occurs in here as they try everything they can to pin it on her only to find themselves stumbled by the insistence nothing out of the ordinary was occurring and that their issues all play a major part of the investigation holding itself back.

Alongside that, the film's few slasher scenes aren't all that bad either with the fact that there's the chilling taboo-breaking opening attack in the church confessional where the death of a child is the prime factor here in setting this forward, the great ambush at the warehouse where he follows the masked killer into the abandoned building and leads into a fine brawl into the big battle to the ending confrontation in the church.This also manages to touch upon normal giallo motifs where the gloved killer requires a single killing device, the middle segment of the film trying to play detective for an incredibly brutal crime that takes place at the beginning of the film and several other little touches from the genre. This here is all added together into a nicely influential film that does have some really good things about it.

This here does feel slightly overrated than what it should. The biggest reason is this is simply so slow going with the first murder so long into the film which manages to handle just about all of the first part of the film. The fact that the next ones come way into the second half leaves a lot of time in between the segments where nothing happens and it becomes a drag to sit through. That there is the major reason for this one to feel as it does, since this forces time away to devote to it when it doesn't need the terms as it's already been expertly given. The fact that there's also way too much time devoted to the red herring suspect that it starts to get boring after a while. There's way too much built up into a completely improbable idea that it just becomes aggravating when it introduces yet another piece of evidence that throws more fire towards the obvious red herring. All these things are responsible for it's overrated feeling.

Overview: ***.5/5
While not a full-on classic, this is still a somewhat decent and more than watchable affair with some good points in its early slasher scenes and general setup provided here. This is recommended to those interested in 70s horror or the roots of the slasher genre, while those who think the subject matter too hard to handle or the slow pace should heed caution.