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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

VHS Vednesday: Monster Dog

MONSTER DOG (1984). Directed by Claudio Fragasso. Starring Alice Cooper, Victoria Vera, and Carlos Santiuro.

Quick rundown: Alice Cooper, in his first leading film role, plays Vince Raven, a successful rock star returning to his hometown (accompanied by his entourage). This proves to be a very bad idea, as his presence appears to reawaken an old family curse, and Vince's friends are picked off one by one by a werewolf. But is Vince the beast, or is he its prey?

Apart from Vince, who benefits from Alice Cooper's charisma, the supporting characters are all as indistinguishable as they are unlikeable, so it's almost a relief as each one meets his or her inevitable doom. The story plods along predictably, and the monster/transformation special-effects are simply absurd. In other words, a must-see.

Who's Leaving This Off Their Resume?

From the theatricality of his musical performances, it would seem a natural progression for Alice Cooper to embark on an acting career. However, while he has contributed a number of cameo appearances before and since, Monster Dog remains his only starring role...and all of his dialogue is dubbed by Ted Rusoff. (I don't know whether the substitution was the filmmakers' decision, or whether Cooper was simply unavailable for the English any case, it's quite jarring to hear an unfamiliar voice coming out of Alice Cooper's mouth.) The only points when Cooper is completely himself are the musical numbers, "Identity Crises" (performed in the opening music video, and reprised at the end of the movie) and "See Me in the Mirror." As you might expect, those songs are the highlights of the movie.



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