Alfred Sole, Writer and Director of Cult Horror Classic ‘Alice, Sweet Alice’, Dies at 78

Alfred Sole, who co-wrote and directed the cult horror film Alice, Sweet Alice, the disturbing 1976 thriller that featured Brooke Shields in her movie debut, has died. He was 78.

Sole died Monday by suicide at his home in Salt Lake City, a family member told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Sole also wrote episodes of Hotel, Friday the 13th: The Series and Alfred Hitchcock Presents and more recently served as a production designer on such shows as Veronica Mars (from 2004-07), Castle (2009-16) and MacGyver (2017-19) before he left Hollywood a couple of years ago.

Born on July 2, 1943, in Paterson, New Jersey, Sole was an architect and interior designer when he cobbled together about $25,000 to make Deep Sleep (1972). The X-rated movie was filmed in his hometown, with friends and family members serving on the cast and crew.

In 1973, a county prosecutor charged Sole and Deep Sleep actors Joseph Rose and Kim Pope with violations of New Jersey’s fornication law. Then, Sole was indicted for interstate transportation of pornography when his film was shown in Oklahoma City. He wound up with a one-year suspended sentence and a fine.

Sole rebounded with Alice, Sweet Alice, first released under the title Communion, then released again as Holy Terror after Shields had gained stardom with her turns in Pretty Baby (1978) and The Blue Lagoon (1980).

Alice, Sweet Alice, also mainly shot in Paterson, centers on a troubled 12-year-old girl (Paula E. Sheppard) who becomes the prime suspect in the brutal murder of her younger sister (Shields) on the day of her First Communion and in a series of stabbings that follow. Sole had seen Shields, then 10, in a Vogue ad and cast her as the first actor in his sophomore feature.

In his review, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that Sole “has a brilliant touch for the macabre,” and Vincent Candy in The New York Times noted that the filmmaker “knows how to direct actors, how to manipulate suspense and when to shift gears.”

Sole then helmed Tanya’s Island (1980), starring Prince cohort Vanity, and Pandemonium (1982), a horror spoof with a cast that included Tommy Smothers, Carol Kane and Eileen Brennan. He moved into production design in the mid-1990s.

Survivors include his husband, Rodrigo; son Rueben; nephews Jeffrey and Mark; and a cousin, Dante.

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