Tag Archives: Paula E. Sheppard

Alice Sweet Alice (1976)

alice sweet alice

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Murder in the church.

Surprisingly elaborate thriller detailing murders that happen in and around a Catholic church. It focuses specifically on a family whose one daughter Karen (Brooke Shields) is a victim and the other daughter Alice (Paula E. Sheppard) may have been the killer.

This is a well-crafted thriller and much more than just a chance to see a young Brooke Shields. The set design is meticulous with a unique look and sound that is different from just about any other horror film. There are even a few moments of truly creepy imagery. The twisting plot and suspense should be enough to get you caught up in it and keep you guessing.

This is also a multilayered film with a twisted look at the family unit, the 50’s era, and most importantly the Catholic Church. It paints a rather sinister portrait of the church and some of those who attend it while emphasizing the evilness that can unravel behind even the most pristine of pictures. It is harsh, but also revealing and at times even funny.

Sheppard is chilling as the evil sister and makes Patty McCormack from The Bad Seed look like a powder-puff-girl. Her unique eyes grab your attention and help accentuate her character and are able to convey both beauty and mischief at the same time. She falls into her difficult role effortlessly and it’s easy to see why she has gained such a wide cult following even though, to date, she has only done one other movie.

paula 2

Brooke of course was re-billed as the star when her fame shot up afterwards. Yet she doesn’t last past the first half-hour and her presence is really not all that significant.

The film’s first third is gripping, intriguing, and even surprising. The final thirty minutes though is a letdown and pretty much ruins the film as a whole. It gives away its final twist too early and then drags along until it culminates with a rather far-fetched climax. It also leaves open a few loopholes and no real closure.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Alternate Title: Communion

Released: November 13, 1976

Runtime: 1Hour 38Minutes

Rated R

Director: Alfred Sole

Studio: Allied Artists Pictures

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video

Liquid Sky (1983)

liquid sky

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 8 out of 10

4-Word Review: Aliens invade punk hangout.

No matter how many years go by this film remains cutting edge. It’s one of the few movies made in the 80’s that makes fun of its own era and those that considered themselves hip and sophisticated.

The plot has to do with a young punk girl named Margaret (Anne Carlisle) living with her lesbian roommate Adrian (Paula E. Sheppard) in a New York City penthouse. The place is frequented by the usual weirdos, vagabonds and druggiess. The two make a living by dealing drugs and offering indiscriminate sex. One day a spaceship the size of a dinner plate and filled with aliens that have no shape or form lands on their penthouse roof and zaps away anyone who has an orgasm. Margaret is unable to achieve climax so she is left remaining while everyone else is gone, which convinces her that someone or something has finally ‘recognized’ her and that she is ‘special’.

Literally every camera shot, scene and line of dialogue is unique. This film not only has an offbeat point-of -view, but reinforces it by constantly looking, feeling, thinking, and sounding different, which includes its funky musical soundtrack. There is no compromising here. The filmmakers believe in their material and keep it true to form throughout forcing the viewer to adjust to its bizarre sensibilities. Yet if you do you will not be disappointed. It’s pace and sense of humor has a fresh free-form flow not seen since the European new wave films of the 60’s.

Despite the radical style it still touches on many universals including the human need for acceptance, understanding, fulfillment, and communication. It also takes jabs at many of modern society’s fringe groups who many times can end up embodying the same hypocrisy as the mainstream.

Star Carlisle also wrote the screenplay and the novel version of this film and based it on her own experiences while involved in the punk scene during the late 70’s. She hasn’t been in a film since 1990 and today lives in southern Florida and is involved in both psychotherapy and teaching. Here is a recent pic of her:

anne carlisle

Her co-star Paula E. Sheppard, who if recent reports are correct has now changed her name and working as a nurse in the Seattle area, gives another great performance. This turned out to be her last film and one of only two that she was in her other film Alice Sweet Alice will be reviewed on Wednesday.

My Rating: 8 out of 10

Released: April 15, 1983

Runtime: 1Hour 51Minutes

Rated R

Director: Slava Tsukerman

Studio: Cinevista

Available: VHS, DVD (out-of-print)