'Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare'
(Alice Cooper / DVD / 15 / 2017 / Eagle Vision)
Overview: This special edition DVD feature from Alice Cooper includes the 1976 concert film "Welcome To My Nightmare" and, appearing on DVD for the first time, the 1975 TV special "Alice Cooper: The Nightmare".
DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, although surely that must be a mighty small circle, Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over five decades.
With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be "The Godfather of Shock Rock".
He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.
Well, not to say that it started here, but it sure kicked off his mayhem trail perfectly on this newly-released by Eagle Vision 'Alice Cooper - Welcome To My Nightmare' concert film PLUS a the inclusion now of 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare 1975 TV Special' featuring Vincent Price.
With Alice currently on tour promoting his brand new album, Paranomal (a tour that when it plays 3 dates in the UK will also feature the surviving members of his original band, bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce and drummer Neal Smith) all his fans can now add these two celluloid gems to their front room collections.
On DVD for the first time ever, either of them, 'Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare Special Edition' DVD will be released on September 8th, 2017 (via the aforementioned Eagle Rock Entertainment) is as great as you would have imagined / remembered it to be.
1) 'The Awakening'
2) 'Welcome to My Nightmare'
3) 'Years Ago'
4) 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'
5) 'I’m Eighteen'
6) 'Some Folks'
7) 'Cold Ethyl'
8) 'Only Women Bleed'
9) 'Billion Dollar Babies'
10) 'Devil’s Food'
11) 'The Black Widow'
14) 'School’s Out'
15) 'Department of Youth'
The show is set in Cooper's bedroom where we have creatures dancing around only to disappear into a massive toy box, skeletons coming out during Steven, him beating a woman unconscious during 'Only Women Bleed', a giant spider's web, a big furry Cyclops and other weird moments that make up his stage show.
It is a million miles away from the modern rock concerts where songs are performed, pyrotechnics explode and those who are about to rock are saluted etc. Within these weird happenings on stage, Cooper is a good fit. Dressed in a sort of adult romper suit and in his famous black eye makeup Cooper staggers round totally bought into the action he is part of. OK at times I was laughing and unable to take it seriously but to a point I guess that was the aim.
The production of the film as well as the action dates it as it is obviously not up to modern standards. The sound is not as crisp as you would like, which didn't bother me too much but what did bug me was the fact that it had comparatively little crowd noise on the soundtrack.
Similarly the crowd are mostly missing visually and I would have liked to see more crowd shots just to get a feel for how all this stuff was going down with them – it was only in 'School's Out' where we got to see and hear them, which suggests their reactions up till that point had perhaps not been good enough to make it onto the film. Otherwise the action is filmed from several well placed but mostly static cameras – quality is a bit fuzzy, but it comes with the mid-'70s territory.
Then comes the fun TV special 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare', which first aired on ABC in the United States in 1975. Indeed, 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare' showcases every song from the legendary Welcome to My Nightmare album, which had just been released at the time.
1) 'Welcome to My Nightmare'
2) 'Devil’s Food'
3) 'Some Folks'
4) 'Only Women Bleed'
5) 'Cold Ethyl'
6) 'The Black Widow'
7) 'Years Ago'
8) 'Department of Youth'
9) 'Years Ago (Reprise)'
11) 'The Awakening'
12) 'Ballad of Dwight Fry'
14) 'The Awakening (Reprise)'
With Cooper taking on the role of Steven and actor/horror icon Vincent Price serving as “The Spirit of the Nightmare,” the special was a unique introduction to the album, drawing fans even further into the dark fantasy and twisted psyche of Cooper.
Back the '70s, ABC had a late night variety series called "ABC's Wide World of Entertainment." It showed after prime-time, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, and featured a rotating roster of specials, series and concerts. It was this show that first introduced me to Alice Cooper via, of course, 'Alice Cooper - The Nightmare'.
Images that, now having rewatched it here today, still stick in my mind are Alice as the fly stuck in a glittery web with glistening, black body-stocking clad beauties during the 'Black Widow' segment; the cool and chilling dance with a dead lover in 'Cold Ethyl,' and the spooky ballerina of 'Only Women Bleed.'
But best of all is Vincent Price lending his ghoulishly gleeful presence as the "Spirit of the Nightmare" from which there is no escape for Alice as "Steven". This is as corny, as cheesy and as fun-filled horror rock as there has ever been and so buy this DVD today - and show your kids just what theatre and rock music combined is all about. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) with a 4:3 Format, enhanced for 16x9 TVs.