Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments:#89-Alice Sweet Alice(1976)

By Eric Polk-
The following review has been Stephanie Meyer-approved....

George Costanza, Forrest Gump, the Yoplait lady. Just some familiar names who, behind their characters, got their start in the horror movie genre. Enter the Jordache Jeans Girl and former Mrs. Andre Agassi-Brooke Shields. She was only eleven when she did this 1976 film directed by Alfred Sole.

Catherine Spages (Linda Miller) and her two daughters, 9-year-old Karen (Brooke Shields) and 12-year-old Alice (Paula Sheppard) who both attend St Michael's Parish Girl's School, are visiting Father Tom (played by Rudolph Willrich). Karen is preparing for her first communion and Father Tom gives her his mother's crucifix as a gift. A jealous Alice puts on a creepy, translucent grinning mask, frightening Mrs. Tredoni (played by actress Mildred Clinton), Father Tom's housekeeper. Later on, Alice steals Karen's porcelain doll and lures her into an abandoned building with it. She jumps out and scares Karen with the grinning mask and locks her in a room. When she lets her out she tells her that if anyone finds out she'll never see the doll again.

On the day of the first communion, Karen is attacked and strangled to death by a person donning a translucent mask and yellow rain coat in a back room as the children enter the front of the church. Her body is dragged away by her right arm and dumped into a bench compartment, which is set on fire with a candle, but not before ripping the crucifix from her neck. Smoke begins to fill the church. Meanwhile, Alice enters the church, carrying her shiny yellow raincoat. She kneels in Karen's place to receive communion when a scream is heard. A curious nun had entered the back room where the confessionals are located, and found Karen's body. People run in, horrified. Catherine is inconsolable.

After Karen's funeral, Catherine's ex-husband Dominick "Dom" Spages (played by Niles McMaster) arrives in town to help track down the killer. Catherine's sister, Annie DeLorenze (Jane Lowry), moves in to help Catherine through her grief, but it is soon evident that Alice and Annie despise each other. Catherine tells Alice to deliver a rent cheque to their landlord, Mr. Alphonso (Alphonso DeNoble). After he tries to fondle and molest her, Alice kills his cat and goes down to the basement, where she lights a candle and puts on her grinning mask.

When going down the stairs to go shopping, Annie is viciously attacked by the killer in the yellow raincoat and grinning mask, stabbing her in the knee, foot, and thigh. At the hospital, Annie cries to her husband Jim (played by Gary Allen) that Alice tried to kill her. Catherine says that Annie is only accusing Alice of murdering Karen to divert attention from her own daughter Angela (Kathy Rich) who was absent at the time of the murder, but Alice is sent to a mental institution for evaluation.

At the hospital with Father Tom, Dom receives a phone call from Angela saying that she has Karen's crucifix and is in hiding. They agree to meet up at an abandoned building. When at the abandoned building, Dom follows the killer inside and up the stairs where the killer stabs him in the shoulder and he is knocked out by a brick and tied up. Dom awakens and sees that the killer is in fact Mrs. Tredoni. She killed Karen because she believes that "children pay for the sins of the parents". She reveals that she stabbed Annie by mistake, thinking it was Catherine, whom she considers a whore. She calls Dom and Catherine sinners because they had premarital sex. After Dom bites the crucifix off her neck, Mrs. Tredoni beats him with a rock and pushes him out of the window.

After a pathologist (played by veteran actress Lillian Roth, in one of her last roles), analyzes Dom's corpse, the crucifix is found and Alice is released. When Catherine and Alice go to church Mrs. Tredoni sneaks into the apartment building. As Mrs. Tredoni bangs on his apartment door, Mr. Alphonso wakes up screaming (Alice put a jar of cockroaches on his belly before leaving). He spots Mrs. Tredoni and mistakes her for Alice and grabs her. Mrs. Tredoni stabs him twice and runs downstairs. However, a policeman witnesses her running out of the back entrance without the mask on.

I have to respectfully disagree with the producers of the Bravo special. They base the placement of these movie on their list on what I consider to be a flaccid(love my thesaurus!) scare scene. Other than that, this movie is nothing more then 90 mins. of hammy, Shatner-esqe, overacting. Oh sure, Alice is totally psychotic and her downstairs neighbor is a creepy, but nothing really makes this movie stand out as horror classic. If nothing else*spoiler alert* just watch for happens to young Brooke!

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