This product was provided by Arrow Video for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.
I first wrote about Alfred Sole’s 1976 horror classic Alice, Sweet Alice way back in 2013 when I featured it in my now defunct “Grindhouse Weekly” column, and revisiting it six years later on a newly restored Arrow Video Blu-ray, my appreciation for this underrated gem has only increased.
Reminiscent of the Italian giallo films that were en vogue during this time, the film involves a raincoat-wearing masked killer who is terrorizing a community and the identity of whom is thought to be a misbehaving young girl.
With its top-notch cinematography and brutally graphic murder scenes, Alice, Sweet Alice (formerly titled Communion) is a gritty, disturbing and well-crafted horror tale that has aged remarkably well in the four decades since its release.
Because I have previously discussed this title in more detail, this review will focus on the new, special edition Blu-ray, which marks the definitive edition of the film and, I believe, the first time it has been released on this format in the U.S. There’s a new, 2K restoration of the theatrical cut from the original camera negative, and it looks nearly perfect, accentuating the film’s bold use of color.
Additional features on the disc include a commentary track from writer and film historian Richard Harland Smith; an archival commentary track from Alfred Sole and editor Edward Salier; interviews with cast and crew members, including an interview with Alfred Sole; a deleted scene; trailers; an alternate opening title; an image gallery; and the original screenplay.
These features alone make it nearly the most complete package possible, but what puts it over the top is the inclusion of the edited-for-television version of the film, which was changed to Holy Terror. This is the second Arrow release I’ve seen that includes a TV-edit (the first being Weird Science), and I really appreciate these additions.
Another feature they’ve added to a few discs recently is a look at the shooting locations for the film and what those look like today, and this is something included in this disc as well. I love when they take the time to produce something like this, as it’s an often fascinating journey to see how specific, and sometimes iconic, locations in a film have changed over the decades.
With this robust amount of content – combined with the fantastic restoration, an included booklet and a poster (the booklet is for the first pressing only) – the Arrow Video release for Alice, Sweet Alice is absolutely top notch and one that I highly recommend picking up.