Alfred Sole

Alfred Sole was born on July 2, 1943, in Paterson, NJ. He grew up avidly watching the movies of Alfred Hitchcock, who later was an acknowledged influence on Sole’s best known and most well-regarded feature, Alice, Sweet Alice (1976), better known as “Alice, Sweet Alice.”

Sole graduated from the University of Florence in Italy with a degree in architecture and spent his young adulthood working as an architect. He made his directorial debut with the tongue-in-cheek hardcore parody Deep Sleep (1972), which starred 1970s porno superstars Harry Reems and Georgina Spelvin. It won first prize at the New York Erotic Film Festival and was made in Sole’s hometown of Paterson on a paltry $25,000 budget. Alas, the movie was pulled from theaters on charges that it was obscene, and all prints were confiscated.

Sole’s superbly atmospheric and vehemently anti-Catholic horror winner “Alice, Sweet Alice” fared much better with critics and audiences alike. It won first prize at the Chicago Film Festival and garnered highly positive reviews from critics, among them Roger Ebert. The film also boasted a then-unknown Brooke Shields in her film debut and was also shot on location in Paterson. Alas, it, too, did poorly at the box office due to spotty distribution.

Sole next made the quirky and kinky soft-core fantasy outing Tanya’s Island (1980), which starred future Prince protégé Vanity acting under the pseudonym D.D. Winters and showcased a remarkably convincing ape costume designed by Rob Bottin. Unfortunately, this film likewise suffered from virtually nonexistent theatrical distribution. Sole’s final film as director was the silly slasher-movie spoof Pandemonium (1982), which offered an amazing all-star cast that included Tom Smothers, Phil Hartman, Tab Hunter, Eileen Brennan, Carol Kane, Eve Arden, Judge Reinhold, Kaye Ballard, Paul Reubens, and David L. Lander all doing their best with a dopey script. Sole also wrote stories for episodes of the TV shows Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985), Friday the 13th: The Series (1987), and Hotel (1983).

Fed up with studio politics and the Hollywood rat race, Sole called it a day as a director in 1982 and went on to become a successful production designer. Among the movies he has worked on in this capacity are Halloweentown High (2004), These Old Broads (2001), Clubland (1999), Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), Glory Daze (1995), Bodily Harm (1995), and Night of the Running Man (1995). More recently, Sole handled production-designer chores on the TV series Veronica Mars (2004).

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