The Horror Honeys: Slasher Hexmas ~ Bless Me Father, for I Have Sinned...

Slasher Hexmas ~ Bless Me Father, for I Have Sinned...

A Supernatural Honey Slasher Hexmas Review by Suzanne

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

I grew up in a pretty strict Catholic household. My parents made me go to 6 A.M. mass on Sundays, weekly church school, and the creepy ritualistic ceremonies of First Communion and Confirmation. Of course, I got the last laugh as all of the forced religious participation turned me into an Atheist. Take that, Jesus! Remarkably, even though I no longer practice, when I am forced into a church going situation, I remember every response and instinctively kneel, cross myself, and recite prayers as though it were yesterday. It freaks me out a little, to be perfectly honest. The Catholic religion is probably one of the more fascinating and barbaric of them all and destination Hell is instilled in you at a very young age.

Alice, Sweet Alice centers on Alice Spages (Paula Sheppard), a twelve year old with a multitude of issues. Average in nearly every way, she fights for the attention of her single mother, Catherine, who dotes on nine year old sister, Karen (Brooke Shields). Karen is preparing for her First Communion and is not only fawned over by her mother, but also the handsome priest, Father Tom, who gifts Karen his mother’s crucifix. Jealous and spiteful, Alice torments Karen by stealing her doll and luring her into an abandoned building where she chases her wearing a creepy mask.

Nobody gets between me and my Jesus!
Karen meets God a lot earlier than expected when she is strangled, just before the ceremony, by someone in a yellow slicker and the same mask Alice was wearing in the warehouse. After a few more incidents involving a mask wearing, knife wielding, short statured girl in a yellow raincoat occur, naturally, Alice become the prime suspect. While Alice is certainly mean spirited and isn’t above lashing out at those who hurt her, is she capable of murder?

Despite Alice’s propensity for being cruel to everyone around her, including a few kittens, she’s an incredibly sympathetic character. Karen is beautiful and put on a pedestal by family, friends, and even the clergy, but she’s not the angel everyone believes her to be, making Alice a target for comparison, as well as an implied victim of sexual abuse by the slovenly and lecherous landlord, Alphonso. Alice is also neglected by her absentee father, who has remarried and moved on with his life. It stands to reason the girl is going to have some issues. 

Honey, I'm home!
Paula Sheppard, who was actually 19 at the time of filming, does a phenomenal job as Alice. She maintains a cold, hard look throughout the film to maintain the ambiguity as to whether she is responsible for these heinous deaths or just a victim of circumstance. This was also the film debut of Brooke Shields. 

Pedo alert!
Filled with overt religious imagery, Alice, Sweet Alice is like a handbook of how to get a first class ticket to Hell. Forget about the actual communion murder which sets things in motion, this film embraces every deadly sin and most of the commandments. The fact writer/director Alfred Sole was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church because of an adult film he directed a few years earlier, probably figures in prominently. Sole’s influence to write the film was the thriller Don’t Look Now, which is visually referenced throughout the film.

Largely overlooked for years, probably due to several releases under different titles (Communion, Holy Terror), Alice, Sweet Alice is finally getting the recognition it deserves. The original 1999 DVD release by Anchor Bay is out of print, although you can still find it for a pretty penny. Hen’s Tooth Video re-released the film in 2007, which is version I have and is still available. This is another film that so deserves a BD release. You can also watch it on YouTube!

Film Fun Fact: William Lustig, who would go on to direct the original Maniac, did the special effects for the film. 

Supernatural Honey Rating: 4.5 sins of the father out of 5

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