Alice, Sweet Alice


Alice, Sweet Alice was released in 1976. It is one of the notorious "Video Nasties" that we like to discuss here. You might, at this point be wondering why a fairly obscure film from the middle of the 1970s was part of a moral panic in the 1980s. Hold on, I will explain. 

Alice was initially released in the U.K. under the rather bland title, Communion and did very little box office.  It was re-titled for an American release under the snappier title above and languished a bit. Then something interesting happened. 

Pretty Baby was released and became a big hit. I am not going to dig into the moral implications of that here, but might do so at another time. Brooke Shields was suddenly bankable and the distributors of Alice wanted to cash in. They did some editing to the film and changed the title to Holy Terror and sent it back out into the world.

This time the U.K. labeled it a video nasty and siezed it. 

The plot is pretty twisty for a so called video nasty.  Baby Brooke Shields is bullied by her big sister, Alice in a yellow rain slicker and a creepy ass Halloween mask. Then, in the back of a big Catholic church, while she is waiting to get her first taste of Jesus wafer, someone in the same slicker and mask strangles her and sets her on fire. Honestly,  I feel like torching Brooke Shields is a very bad thing to do.

The killer perforates Alice's auntie's legs and runs away and Alice is blamed. 

Poor little Alice gets locked in an asylum,  but the murdering continues apace. Alice says the dead sister did it. Is she right? 

The kills are actually pretty tame. The killer's costume is incredibly disturbing though.  The film has a nice anti-religion subtext which is largely why it was banned.  Perhaps the most troubling aspect is the way child molestation is more than hinted at, but then kind of shrugged off. Alice has been at least groped if not worse by the landlord,  and the film never treats it as anything worthy of consequence. 

In the final analysis Alice, Sweet Alice didn't deserve the banning, but does deserve the cult status it has attained.