Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Sinful Delights of "Alice Sweet Alice" (1976) Arrow Blu-Ray Review

Welcome to the video attic a blog where we explore the weird, wild wonderful or just plain terrible hidden gems. Today in the attic we dust off a oft neglected classic Alice Sweet Alice (1976) which Arrow has lovingly restored and made available to the 'mass'es. I had the extremely pleasure to do an interview with Mr. Alfred Sole the director of this film, which has been a favorite ever since Anchor Bay Entertainment put it out on DVD. Blu Ray releases Aug 6th. This release also comes on the heels of the recently announced book on the film by Troy Howarth. Its a great time to be a fan of this film but lets dive into it, shall we?

Young Alice (Paula Sheppard) seems to be envious of her pretty sister Karen (Brooke Shields in her first film role)who seems to get everything she wants, including attention from her mother. In a horrific act Karen is savagely murdered by a creepy doll-masked wearing killer and of course the blame is pointed squarely at Alice, who seems to be hiding something. However as the body count grows, could it really be the strange yet innocent looking girl responsible for the mayhem? As I said in my film guide The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema Alfred Sole's Alice Sweet Alice is probably the closest thing will we come to a true American Giallo. The over the top  and incredibly weird moments, garish yet stylish kills and a classic giallo whodunit all screams true of the genre.Sole does a great job at  racketing up the tension with each twist and turn. Much like Dont Look Now (1973)(an inspiration for the film) the film is incredible looking and very visually engaging. After over four decades Alice is still a movie that can shock an audience coming just a year before Halloween (1978) would help popularize this genre.

 The Specs: Holy crap is this release amazing! For starters Arrow has completely restored the film in 2k using original film negatives and is a much needed upgrade from previous releases. As I said the film is very visual so its great to see it looking this gorgeous.  They also really went all out with the extra's and those with the old 88Films Blu-Ray might to double dip. Thankfully they were able to port the old Anchor Bay commentary over to this release as well as a brand new one with commentary with Richard Harland Smith. Sadly neither Brookes nor Paula Sheppard are interviewed (Both rarely give interviews especially Sheppard) but they do have new interviews with Sole and actor Niles McMaster (of Bloodsucking Freaks fame or infamy) Other features include a deleted scene, an alternate Opening Title, and the alternate TV cut entitled Holy Terror. Also a really cool feature is a video tour of the shooting locations called Lost Childhood: The Locations of Alice Sweet Alice. Rounding out this disc is a featurette Sweet Memories an interview with filmmaker Dante Tomselli (and cousin of Alfred Sole), trailers, television spots and an image gallery and the original script.

Overall/Worth a buy?:

I really cant imagine anybody doing a better release of this film any time soon. Arrow has masterfully remastered this film and includes an array of new features as well as porting over the vintage commentary from the Anchor Bay disc. I would say you should most defiantly buy this, as not only is it a great film but you are unlikely to find a better collection of extra's for this film any time soon. Its much better than the 88Film release in terms of new content.

Available to buy Aug 6th

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