Alice Sweet Alice Director Talks About Keeping Film In Family

Dante Tomaselli Talks ‘Alice, Sweet Alice’ Remake, Casts Kathryn Morris As Lead

Alice, Sweet Alice remake plans have moved forward in a big way with Cold Case star Kathryn Morris taking on the lead role of Catherine Spages, mother to a little girl, who may or may not be a psycho killer.

Morris’ production company Revival House and Mosaic Media Group will co-produce this “re-imagining” of the 1976 classic, Tomaselli said.

In the original film, Catherine’s youngest daughter (Brooke Shields) is butchered on the day of her first communion. Older sister Alice (Paula Sheppard) is the prime suspect.

While Alice certainly has “issues,” however, her parents can’t believe she would be capable of murder. Meanwhile, a ghastly knife-wielding figure in yellow raincoat and translucent mask is offing people one-by-one.

Are the crimes related? And if Alice isn’t the killer, then who is?

For those of us familiar with the film, director Dante Tomaselli promises surprises aplenty. In other words, don’t think you’ve got this one figured out just because you’ve seen the original 100 times.

Tomaselli recently agreed to an interview with The Inquisitr in which he discusses plans for his Alice, Sweet Alice remake, and what it’s like to follow in the footsteps of the original director — Castle production designer and cousin — Alfred Sole.

He also discusses the new script, working with a larger budget, where the project’s at in development, and whether we can expect Sheppard or Brooke Shields in cameos.

(Come on, Brooke, wouldn’t you rather do this than The View?)


THE INQUISITR. Anyone who knows me knows Alice, Sweet Alice is one of my favorite horror films. I’m almost obnoxious about it. How do you take this story and make it fresh for people like me who’ve seen the original 100 times?

DANTE TOMASELLI: I understand your obsession. As you probably know, the director of the original, Alfred Sole, is my cousin. Communion, as it was first titled, was shot in Paterson, New Jersey, where I grew up. I remember its World Premiere. I was seven. Many of my relatives were extras, my father, who owned a bridal shop, provided all the white gloves and veils. We were all very proud of Alfred. As a little kid, I used to stalk around my house wearing a yellow raincoat and replica of the famous translucent mask. Back then, I thought that I was the only person who knew of Communion or … Alice, Sweet Alice. I had no idea there were so many fans of the film. It’s a staple of my childhood.

How to penetrate those who already saw the original a zillion times? That was really the biggest challenge while conceptualizing the screenplay. We see so many remakes and know exactly what’s coming because the original is so engrained in our DNA. I don’t want to stray too far from the original’s main ingredients, that’s what fills me with passion. This is a faithful remake, but there are definitely new twists in the script. The original is a disorienting mystery and I aim to retain its mysteriousness, even for those who know the original by heart. There’s an elusive, ethereal quality to the original. You never know what’s around the corner. I’ve created four low budget independent feature films that are mostly about family dysfunction, religious fanaticism and disorientation. I believe all my films so far have been leading up to the re-imagining of Alice, Sweet Alice. A line straight to this.

THE INQUISITR: The idea for a remake has been brewing for several years, and from everything we can tell, you’ve been the driving force. In what ways has the project evolved since you first started discussing it, and why is now the right time? Also, why a remake and not a sequel?

TOMASELLI: Well, I wouldn’t want to continue the story of Alice, Sweet Alice. It ended on just the right ambiguous note. Mainly, there are all these remakes of horror classics these days. And Alfred was getting offers. He sent me some of the scripts and they were awful. He said, “Dante, you direct it, you create this.” I was so happy and relieved to hear it from his lips because I’m fiercely protective of the film. I started to write a script, but never finished. Years passed and I directed my recent film, Torture Chamber.

Once that was completed I started dreaming of Alice again. Alfred contacted me and said there was a possible investor. This turned out to be a false alarm but I’m glad it happened because it got me to finally work on the script. It put a fire under me. I knew I needed a co-writer so I immediately thought of Michael Gingold, managing editor of Fangoria Magazine.

We wrote a screenplay in the past together and it was a terrific experience. So he came on as co-writer and that’s when the script was created. Mike brought so much to the table, a natural communicator, a wordsmith — an expert on horror cinema. Needless to say, he was a huge help. I’m more of a visual storyteller and score composer than anything else. I gave him top billing as one of the writers. Once the script was finally finished, there was little doubt that we made the right decision to write the screenplay.

I knew that the financing was not going to come from my world — the low budget indie horror realm. It would likely come from Alfred’s west coast camp. Soon Alfred called me again with positive news. He put me in contact with his friend, actress Kathryn Morris. I was told by Alfred that she’s executive producing and that she read the screenplay and enjoyed it very much. Kathryn and I started communicating through email and then on the phone about getting it off the ground. She told me about the company that manages her, Mosaic Media Group. They produce lots of high quality movies (Bad Teacher, Step Brothers, The Bank Job, according to IMDb).

Dave Fleming of Mosaic spoke to us on the phone and we all had a magic meeting. He came on board and it was pretty instantaneous. So now Kathryn Morris’ production company, Revival House, is producing Alice, Sweet Alice with Mosaic Media Group.

THE INQUISITR: Where is the remake at right now in the production process — casting, filming, editing, finished script, etc. — and do you have a date for the final cut? Also, is there a firm or general release date on the horizon, and if so when?

TOMASELLI: Alice, Sweet Alice is in development … The screenplay, co-written by Michael Gingold and myself is completed. I’m attached to direct and score. The screenplay is a scary, suspenseful mystery horror tale that honors the integrity of the original.

THE INQUISITR: Who has signed on to star in the remake, and what character information can you provide at this time?

TOMASELLI: Kathryn Morris will star as Catherine Spages, Alice’s mother. Kathryn was the lead in the CBS series Cold Case and had a role as Tom Cruise’s wife in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. She’s like a chameleon — totally versatile. Slips right into a role. Her character in Alice is modeled after the original Catherine Spages, played by Linda Miller. In keeping with the spirit of the original, Kathryn’s character will look and feel similar, strikingly beautiful, perfectly sculpted dark hair, fiercely protective of her children and plagued by deep Catholic guilt.

The next important casting step is to confirm her husband’s character, Dominic Spages. We have some actors on our radar. Once we have her husband in place, then, the rest of the family — namely Alice — crystallizes. Finding the right Alice will be a mission.

Paula Sheppard Starred As Alice In Original Film