Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Alice, Sweet, Alice - FILM

Shot in 1976 (On the cusp of the Exploitation film boom), this nearly forgotten horror film is an extremely well put together pre-slasher romp that's head and shoulders above the majority of horror 'classics' by creating a complex tapestry that grow the fright scenes out organically.

Alice has problems. She's a disturbed kid that has a habit of dressing up in a rain slicker and plastic doll mask and torturing her little sister - the 'favorite' child. When the sister in question ends up dead on the day of her first communion, everyone's wondering, could Alice have done it?

Not a body count film by any stretch of the imagination (There's only a handful of stabbings), ALICE is still without a doubt a gem in the junk pile of late 70's/early 80's slasher trash. The main turn off for the horror lover is that the film doesn't easily fit into the expected rut that the stab-and-stalk genre dug itself: There's no cardboard teens, over the top grue or invincible killer. We get instead a gaggle of muti-faceted, slightly unlikable (just like real life!) people dealing with very complex issues that span the gamut of adult responsibility and religious destruction. It's a who-dunnit that doesn't treat the audience like an idiot, with events that don't feel contrived for the shock or scare. If anything, there's too much complexity going on, with hints of deeper issues appearing before dissipating completely. The energetic (and grimy) direction by first timer Alfred Sole, coupled with the engaging (if rough around the edges) acting from the entire cast, birth a film that will most definitely stick in ones memory for a long time. It's a perfect examples at how a limited budget, and loads of creativity, can create something that can disturb and move just as well as the biggest budgeted stinker. A definite must see.

Forget the completely misleading tag-line.

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