Friday, September 5, 2008

Alice Sweet Alice

This is a strange movie to say the least. Not quite up to a David Lynch level of strangeness, but very strange nonetheless. This was Brooke Shields first movie (I think maybe age 8 or 9), it was also Paula Sheppard's first (and only other) film. Paula's other movie "Liquid Sky" can be found here on Cultarama, so by all means give it a look see. In both movies, Paula Sheppard plays an incredible bitch, but from what information I've managed to obtain about her says that she's a very sweet and generous woman, who after making only two films, retired from show business to become a mother. Oh well, not to be rude but if she hadn't succumbed to the grapplings of motherhood, I'm sure that she would have given us many more wonderful performances. Brooke Shields character of Karen, younger sister to the demented and violent older sister Alice (Paula) is the main center of the story even though she gets killed off pretty early in the movie. Karen is a sweetheart, but Alice could easily pass for a sociopathic serial killer. She's a prankster (and an evil one too), she detests everyone, especially her sister Karen. The movie begins with Alice stealing her sister's favorite doll with promises of smashing it. Mom is convinced that Alice was just up to her usual tomfoolery and soothes her by letting her try on her new dress to be worn at her upcoming Communion. The day before Communion, their Priest Father Tom gives Karen a very special present (a beautiful gold cross necklace that belonged to his grandmother). Since Alice didn't get shit, she now has many hostilities towards her sister. Mrs. Tredoni (Father Tom's housekeeper/cook/answering service, maid, old friend of family, etc) also seems a little miffed about Father Tom giving Karen such a wonderful gift. Midway through this story, we are introduced to many odd and somewhat annoying character, such as Mr. Alfonso, a 600 lb tenant with piss stains on his pants and eats cat food right along with his 300 felines in an apartment the size of a broom closet. Another is Catherine (Karen and Alice's mother) who is just trying to be as good a mother as she can in trying keep peace amongst her feuding children. At the actual Communion, Karen goes missing. We see her being attacked by someone who looks like Alice because it's a small built individual (probably a woman), wearing the same kind of raincoat that Alice always wears, and donning a specific mask that we know Alice has stashed in her secret trunk in the basement. One of those creepy-ass masks that were mostly clear but had exaggerated makeup on them (y'know, typical nightmare fuel). Karen is subdued and thrown into a large wooden box and set aflame. A nun finds her charred body after smelling the smoke. She screams and everyone panics. Catherine (the mother) is very bluntly told by her bitch sister Annie that Karen in dead. Pandemonium erupts, and everyone starts screaming and crying... meanwhile we see Alice slipping Karen's veil under her raincoat to conceal it. Alice is the perfect suspect in the murder because not only did she like to dress just like the killer was dressed, but she also has very sociopathic tendencies, and is hateful and jealous towards her younger sister for many reasons. The estranged father of Karen and Alice arrives in town for his daughters funeral, to comfort his ex-wife and to get to the bottom of who killed his daughter. All the clues acquired point directly at Alice. As the bitchy aunt Annie (who is in a constant battle of wills with Alice) is leaving the apartment. Again, "someone" dressed in the raincoat and mask that Alice wears, attacks Annie in the stairwell and stabs the hell out of her. Once Annie is taken to the hospital, she is convinced that Alice is the person who stabbed her. Alice is taken to a psych ward and questioned about the stabbing of her aunt. She is given a polygraph test which establishes that she knows who stabbed her aunt, but she tells the truth when she says that it was her dead sister Karen. So either Alice is nuts or she really saw Karen (or someone who looks like Karen, possibly wearing the same yellow raincoat). Alice's parents think maybe it could have been Angela (Annie's daughter/Karen and Alice's cousin) who also has a yellow raincoat and just happened to be missing when Karen was killed. One problem, Angela is fat and doesn't resemble Karen or Alice in any way. Angela calls Alice's father (her uncle) and says that she has run away, has Karen's gold cross (which was given to Karen shortly before she died and was then taken by the killer) and asks her uncle if he could possibly meet her at some abandoned building. He follows Angela into the building where she stabs him, he chases after her and they struggle. During the struggle, the mask slips off revealing that it's Mrs. Tredoni and not Angela. The cross is hanging around her neck (which identifies her as Karen's killer). The father manages to bite the dangling cross from her neck before she pushes him off a ledge, landing on a pile of concrete, killing him. Mrs. Tredoni hates Catherine and her family (not yet sure why). She kills Karen because she is jealous that Father Tom gave Karen his grandmother's gold cross. She attempts to kill Catherine too, but misidentifies her and stabs Annie instead. Also being very religious (fuel for the best crimes imaginable), she thinks Catherine is a total whore because she is divorced. Catherine goes to Father Tom's house, but only Mrs Tredoni is home. She starts telling Catherine about how she herself had a little girl at one time, who also died during her first Communion. She feels that her little girl was killed in order to pay for the sins of her parents. Afterwards, she came to care for Father Tom (she points a knife at Catherine) not YOU! During the autopsy of Alice's father, they find the cross lodged in his throat. The cops make the connection that it's the same cross that was stolen from Karen and figure out that Mrs.Tredoni is the actual killer, not Alice. She goes to the church (where police are waiting to apprehend her) and gets in line for Communion. Since Father Tom knows what she's done, he won't give it to her. She screams out "But you gave it to that whore!!". At which time she stabs Father Tom in the neck. As she holds his lifeless body, the cops rush in. The last scene is the creepiest... as the cops are rushing around, we see Alice pick up Mrs. Tredoni's shopping bag that contains the knife used as the main murder weapon. She looks at it and slowly hides it back in the bag and gives the camera a really evil look. The look of an accused and innocent young girl who now has the capacity and desire to kill.

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