The 1976 shocker Alice, Sweet Alice is a great sleeper.
It’s a horror film that’s good enough to make us wonder why it didn’t reach a wider audience upon its original release and why its director, Alfred Sole, did not go on to become an important genre filmmaker.
Like many independent horror films from the 1970s, Alice, Sweet Alice – which tells the story of a troubled adolescent girl who’s suspected in a series of religious-themed murders – was plagued by shoddy distribution and persistent legal issues, which doomed the film to obscurity throughout the eighties and nineties. Alice, Sweet Alice became a secret, as did filmmaker Sole, who’s spent the past twenty years working as a production designer, mostly in episodic television.
In 2013, filmmaker Dante Tomaselli, Sole’s cousin, was set to begin filming a remake of Alice, Sweet Alice, with Kathryn Morris (Mindhunters, television’s Cold Case) set to star as Catherine, Alice’s mother. But this fell through. “We’ve had a series of stop and go experiences mounting the remake,” says Tomaselli. “First, Alfred’s ex-agent was confident she had funding but, ultimately, she didn’t. Then Kathryn Morris was going to serve as Executive Producer, but she couldn’t raise the funds. She did try. That was it.”
Now Tomaselli feels the project is finally on the verge of a breakthrough. “I never submitted Alice to any small studio or anyone for that matter,” Tomaselli continues. “Meanwhile, I get asked about it almost every day on Facebook. More than anything, people want to know about Alice, Sweet Alice. When is it coming? For a while it was just a concept, and there was no script. But, recently, Michael Gingold and I wrote a scary slasher screenplay, honoring the original film’s flavor. I always planned, or hoped, to finance Alice, Sweet Alice with private funding, so it could remain independent, like the original, but the financing is a beast unto itself. At this moment, I do have solid prospects from European production companies and producers that contacted me out of the blue, knowing that, through my cousin, I own the rights to the remake. The original film has a huge worldwide cult following in the horror world. I’m following through and need to make sure that the money is really there.”
Here’s the updated synopsis for the remake:
This reimagining of the 1976 cult classic focuses on Alice, a 12-year-old girl consumed with jealousy of her “perfect” younger sister Karen. When Karen is killed on the day of her first Communion, suspicion falls on Alice. Their mother, Catherine, struggles with the loss of one daughter and the potential guilt of another, and their community becomes overtaken by fear. As more people around Alice are savagely attacked and slain, the mystery deepens: Is this young girl responsible, or is someone else indulging a twisted obsession with murder?