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(aka "Holy Terror" or "Communion")

 

directed by Alfred Sole
USA 1976

 

When young Karen Spages (Brooke Shields, ENDLESS LOVE) is murdered on the day of her first communion, suspicion naturally points towards her troubled older sister Alice (Paula Sheppard, LIQUID SKY) who stalks her apartment building in weird masks and plays cruel pranks on her family and neighbors. The only people who do not seem to suspect Alice are her beleaguered mother Catherine (Linda Miller, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN) and her estranged father Dom (Niles McMaster, BLOODSUCKING FREAKS) who returns for the funeral. While the police focus on Alice - especially after her domineering aunt Annie (Jane Lowry) claims Alice stabbed her - Dom carries out his own investigation with the help of his former brother-in-law Father Tom (Rudolph Willrich, NINE 1/2 WEEKS) with Annie's own troubled daughter Angela (Kathy Rich) as his prime suspect. When another murder occurs while Alice is under psychiatric observation, she is released but returns to her old tricks even as the killer continues to stalk her family. Is she the final victim or a kindred spirit?

An ambitious New Jersey-lensed period sleeper that has justifiably become a cult classic (in part due to the presence of a then-unknown Shields and the film's unfortunately public domain status throughout the years after Allied Artist changed the title from COMMUNION without copyrighting it), ALICE, SWEET ALICE has been considered an American giallo due not so much to its knife-wielding stalker as its exploration of the twisted psyches of seemingly obvious red herring characters - including Alphonso DeNoble (NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES) Fellini-grotesque apartment building landlord, as well as Peter Bosche as a senile monsignor driving Mildred Clinton's (SERPICO) parish housekeeper understandably batty - and the religious and familial pressures that shape monsters. The first of three mainstream films of writer/director Alfred Sole (TANYA'S ISLAND), who graduated from the University of Florence with a degree in architecture and would later became a production designer.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 13 November 1976 (USA)

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Comparison:

88 Films - Region 0 - PAL vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Box Cover

 

Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

88 Films
Region
FREE Blu-ray
Runtime 1:42:06 (4% PAL speedup) 1:46:52.572
Video

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.69 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 29,282,108,143 bytes

Feature Size: 27,338,176,512 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps

Subtitles none English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
•  Audio Commentary by director Alfred Sole, editor Edward Salier, and assitant make-up effects artist Bill Lustig
• Alternative 'Communion' Title Sequence (16:9; 1:00)
• 'Holy Terror' 1981 Reissue Trailer (16:9; 1:40)
• Stills Gallery
• 88 Films Trailer Park

DVD Release Date: February 17th, 2014
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

 

Disc Size: 29,282,108,143 bytes

Feature Size: 27,338,176,512 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.97 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Director Alfred Sole and Editor Edward Salier
Original Trailer (01:42)
"Communion" TV Spot (00:15)
Poster & Home Video Artwork Gallery (04:53)
Restoration Comparison (05:16)
Reversible Sleeve


Blu-ray  Release Date: June 11th, 2018
Red Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters: 8

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

88 Films, under their 'Slasher Classics Collection' banner, bring us "Alice, Sweet Alice" on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc. There is a somewhat inconsistent quality to the image, with some heavy grain and a certain fuzziness to some scenes/shots. This is most aptly described by a title card before the film stating, "88 Films' restoration of Alice Sweet Alice was done at 2K resolution, both picture and audio were restored from a 35mm print. The element suffered from the usual wear and tear, dirt, scratches, large film damage and cue dots, as well as instability, flicker and color breathing/fluctuation. The color grade was done in the Nucoda and then semi-automated passes for dirt, stability and flicker were done in the Phoenix and Diamant restoration systems. Once these were complete, thousands of instances of film dirt and damage were manually fixed in the MTI restoration software. Audio was restored in a Protools suite. The 2k image was then framed for the original theatrical aspect ration of 1.85:1 for a HD release."

The film has a newly restored linear PCM mono track. As per the previously mentioned title card, the audio was remastered in a Protools suite. This is the best that the film has sounded so far, but the transfer is by no means perfect. There are multiple examples of hissing/buzzing and sometimes it is a little difficult to make out the dialogue, though for the most part this isn't a huge issue. There are optional English subtitles on this Region Free
Blu-ray disc.

We start with an older audio commentary by director Alfred Sole and Editor Edward Salier moderated by director, Bill Lustig. This is a great track, even though it was recorded way back. We also get a 5-minute example of how the restoration process was achieved, complete with side-by-side comparison shots. We also get the original trailer (under the title 'Holy Terror') as well as the TV-spot (under the title 'Communion'). Coming in at just under 5-minutes is a Poster / Home Video Gallery, with some really differing posters/covers for the film throughout its various iterations. There is also a reversible sleeve.

"Alice, Sweet Alice" or "Holy Terror" or "Communion" or whatever you want to call it, is a film that withstands the test of time. The transfer here is from a 35mm theatrical print, not an original negative, so certain limitations are in place regarding a/v quality. That said, 88 Films has spent a lot of work bringing us the best restoration they could muster. The film is somewhat effective and unnerving, certainly deserving more respect than simply being an early Brooke Shields curiosity.
 

 - Colin Zavitz

On THE DVD: 88 Films' DVD features the first anamorphic issue of the film (even the recent American release from Hen's Tooth Video uses the laserdisc master). The 16:9 image sports some unattractive edge enhancement throughout and only fair detail (Warner Bros. apparently has the negative and have not been helpful to companies inquiring about the title, while the source for the previous versions was the director's own print). Although the title sequence features a 1998 copyright notice, this is the original uncut version and not the shorter director's cut which appeared on the 1997 Roan Group laserdisc (which ran 101 minutes and 20 seconds in NTSC). Despite it's shortcomings, the 88 Films release would appear to be the preferable option for British viewers for which the film is uncut for the first time in the UK (not only in terms of not being the director's cut but also suffered minute trims in its past two video releases).

The audio commentary with director Alfred Sole, editor Edward Salier, and make-up effects assistant Bill Lustig (now president of Blu-ray/DVD label Blue Underground) dates back from the laserdisc release, so it does include mention of the director's cut re-editing even though the footage is present. The film's original COMMUNION title sequence is provided as an extra as well as the 1981 HOLY TERROR reissue trailer (which capitalizes on the presence of Brooke Shields to the extent of suggesting that it is she who plays main character Alice). The disc also includes trailers for other 88 Films releases including other non-Full Moon releases like TWO MOON JUNCTION and the films of Ted V. Mikels.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus - 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL
 

 

 

88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitles - 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

 

1) 88 Films - Region FREE - PAL TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

 

Distribution

88 Films

Region 0 - PAL

88 Films
Region
FREE Blu-ray
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