- Elf 2017
Alice Sweet Alice
Communion / Holy Terror / First Communion
Rick Rosenberg, Alfred Sole for Harristown Funding
directed by Alfred Sole
starring Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula Sheppard, Niles McMaster, Jane Lowry, Rudolph Willrich, Michael Hardstark, Alphonso DeNoble, Gary Allen, Brooke Shields, Louisa Horton, Tom Signorelli, Lillian Roth, Patrick Gorman, Kathy Rich, Ted Tinling, Mary Boylan, Joseph Rossy, Argentina Rocca
written by Rosemary Ritvo, Alfred Sole, music by Stephen Lawrence
Murder within a Catholic church. When young Karen, played by Brooke Shields in
an early role, is murdered after communion, suspicion falls on her strange
sister, Alice, played by Paula Sheppard. The body count continues to rise as
this tiny figure in a raincoat and mask makes its way from killing to killing,
with each incident further heaping suspicion on Alice. In the end, shock of
shocks, it isn't her after all, but a jaded church worker, played by Mildred
Clinton. As she is found out, she goes to the church to take communion and
receive absolution for her sins, but is denied, after which she simply drives
her knife through the priest's neck, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind who the
real lunatic has been all along.
Run as Alice, Sweet Alice in its original release, several issues took
afterward, with editing and retitling. The film became First Communion,
Communion and Holy Terror, all reworked and badly cut editions, while the
VHS and TV releases were even worse. One would have thought the fanatical killer
had jumped out of the screen and been allowed to slice and dice the movie all
to hell. As Shields became a star, reissues saw her name on the posters as a
leading character role, which of course she was not in this project.
Hey, can you say capitalizing on a trend?
Most illogically is the editing out of the murder scene of famed wrestler,
Argentina Rocca, who had a cameo role. In the original movie, he is seen
sitting in his living r oom, reading the newspaper, when he crosses paths with
the killer, gets knifed and that's the end of him. It was done just to get
olden day wrestling fans to watch the thing, supposedly, and because Rocca
knew some cast members. He does not last long in the movie and dies violently,
with blood spurting more viciously than in any bout he ever had with Dick the
Bruiser or Dr Jerry Graham. Maybe he should have dropkicked the killer.
Alphonso DeNoble, one of the most grotesque character actors ever,
plays an utterly repulsive role as a fat, sloppy landlord with a liking for
little girls. He has crappy underwear, dirty teeth, a leer that could give the
strongest of people nightmares and when he gets his, you find yourself
cheering for the crazed killer.
Hopefully a restored version with all the scenes in the original release will
see the light of day, if it has not done so already. In all, not a bad slasher
flick, interesting for the smaller roles by Rocca, Shields and DeNoble, none
of whom last long or die pleasantly.
At the time, the Catholic church did not think much of this movie or its
portrayal of their religion, which sees many little potshots and slaps
directed its way. If you view it right, there is something to offend everyone,
regardless of your vice or virtue, which again, makes the movie interesting,
long after it first hit the big screen.
review © by Dale Pierce
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