Alfred Sole’s "Alice, Sweet Alice" has had a strange history. Originally titled "Communion", it was dropped by the original distributor, picked up by another, retitled "Alice, Sweet Alice", re-cut and redistributed three years later as "Holy Terror".
Shot in Paterson, NJ during the summer of 1975, the movie is notorious for being Brooke Shields’ first film. Shields plays Karen Spages, the younger sister of Alice Spages, brilliantly portrayed by MIA actress Paula Sheppard. Karen is favored by everyone around her and can do no wrong, mostly because Alice is a, forgive the pun, holy terror. She teases Karen, locks her in a building to scare her, and mistreats her communion veil.
On the day of her first communion Karen is brutally murdered right in the church and all suspicion points to her sister after she finds the discarded veil and wears it to the altar. This sets in motion some truly well-acted scenes wherein the true identity of the killer is constantly in question. Everyone suspects Alice, even her neighbor, Mr. Alphonse, a man you must see to believe.
Originally reviled and perceived as an attack again the Catholic Church, the film was met with lukewarm praise. Sole was rumored to have stated that the church was simply the milieu he wanted to set the story against, but the commentary infers otherwise. This film is quite simply one of the best low-budget American horror films ever made. It boasts an eerie score by Stephen Lawrence who scored a handful of other films – yours truly has been wishing for a soundtrack album of this music for years…
Great editing, wonderful set design, and excellent music all come together to make the movie an enjoyable shocker that can easily be viewed more than several times.