Academic journal article Notes

Super Duper Alice Cooper; Welcome to His Nightmare

Academic journal article Notes

Super Duper Alice Cooper; Welcome to His Nightmare

Article excerpt

Super Duper Alice Cooper; Welcome To His Nightmare. DVD. Written & directed by Reginald Harkema & Scot McFadyen & Sam Dunn. [London]: Eagle Vision, 2014. EV306599. $14.98.

Alice Cooper was, through much of the 1970s, one of the biggest rock stars in the world. His fame hinged largely on the theatrical excesses of his concert performances--which featured stage blood; mock hangings, electrocutions and beheadings; live snakes; and chopped up baby dolls--and on the persona of Alice Cooper, a mentally unstable, ghoulish vision in drag and bondage gear who sang about insanity, nightmares, and violence. Cooper, whose real name is Vince Furnier, is heralded as an early influence on many musical genres, and his imprint is readily seen in punk, in the glam metal and goth rock movements of the 1980s, and latterly in the emergence of darkly-themed contemporary industrial rock acts like Marilyn Manson.

Super Duper Alice Cooper bills itself as "the definitive, extraordinary story of the man and the myth that is uniquely Alice Cooper." The film certainly is about as definitive as a rock documentary--it claims to be a "doc opera"--gets: the majority of the generous voice-over narration (there are virtually no "talking head" interviews) is provided by Alice Cooper himself, along with all of the major players in the story--bandmates, managers, family members-plus a laundry list of rock royalty, offering ringing endorsements of Cooper's influence and legacy. In addition to being informative, the film also visually very appealing, comprising a nearly seamless blend of photo montages, archival film and television footage, clips from classic horror cinema, and animated sequences in support of the narrative.

The film is focused mainly on the period during which Alice Cooper reached the heights of fame (roughly from the early 1970s into the early 80s) but along the way fell victim to decadence and excess: the line between the man and his wild stage persona--it really is a Jekyll and Hyde story--became nearly fatally blurred. …

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