Slasher icons like Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, and Leatherface are celebrated for their iconic looks but to my mind, none of them can hold a candle to the creepy countenance of Alice's diminutive killer. With a yellow rain slicker with the hood pulled up and a dime store Halloween mask of a blank, translucent face with bright red lips and blue eye shadow printed on it, the mystery killer in Alice gets my vote as the scariest masked killer in horror history. There's a hint of Don't Look Now (1973) in that outfit, with the figure that Donald Sutherland pursues in that movie having memorably sporting a red rain slicker. I don't know if Sole had seen Don't Look Now and purposely appropriated that look for his film but whatever the inspiration was, he choose wisely.
The great thing about the appearance of the killer in Alice is that it's so simple. There's something very relatably low rent about it that you wouldn't see in a horror movie today. The trio of psycho killers in The Strangers (2008) had scary masks, to be sure, but they looked like someone custom-made them (even the bag mask in that film looked pimped out - well, as pimped out as a bag over someone's head can be). The same with the cupid-masked killer in Valentine (2001). In Alice, though, it was an outfit that needed no special assembly or preparation. It was cheap and ordinary and that's what made it scary.
Made just prior to the slasher wave of the late '70s/early '80s, Alice, Sweet Alice was a film that had the good fortune to predate the rise of horror franchises. Once slasher films became the stuff of multiple sequels, and the look of characters like Freddy and Jason became part of their appeal, the chances of a killer in a kid-sized rain slicker and a common, store bought mask became very slim. Instead, it's more likely to see nonsense like this:
I'm all for nonsense but it's a shame that when it comes to psycho killers, for the most part, 'kick-ass' has prevailed in horror over scary. If you want to know what scary is all about, go ask Alice.