Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper (1974)
By: Mr Intolerance on August 10, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Eagle Eye Media (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 100 minutes
The Movie
Director: Joe Gannon
Starring: Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith Screenplay: Joe Gannon, Shep Gordon, Fred Smoot
Music: The Alice Cooper Band
Tagline: "The film that out-grosses them all!"
Country: USA
Rock'n'roll exploitation films are a mixed bunch – Rock'n'Roll High School showcased the wonderfulness that is the Ramones. Terrible film, but a scorching Ramones live set at the end; Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park – a film so bad it gave me leprosy; the less said about those Elvis films the better… As a film, this is utter bilge. But as a picture of how truly fucking awesome the original Alice Cooper band were in the early 70s – bow down and worship, you heathen scum.

Seriously, the Alice Cooper band from 71 – 74 were the only real commercial alternative to the Rolling Stones. Yeah, I know that the Velvet Underground, Blue Cheer, the Stooges and MC5 were all in operation at that time, but the key word was "commercial", which the Cooper band unashamedly were. Actually, "sensationalistic" is a word that springs readily to mind. And for the likes of those who trawl these hallowed pages, the Alice Cooper band is where it's at. Over-the-top horror themed stage shows, ridiculously outrageous props (ever seen a grown man in a mini-skirt and snakeskin cowboy boots stalk a woman dressed as a giant molar, armed with an oversized toothbrush before?), guillotines and fake executions mixed with hi-octane rock'n'roll. This is all a few years before Alice fired his original band, succumbed to alcoholism, lost the plot musically (if you've heard the album Lace and Whiskey, you know what I'm talking about…), appeared on the Muppet Show (the evidence is on youtube, people) and Hollywood Squares and eventually became a metal-lite FM rock star, a DJ in his own right, and, if rumours are to be believed, a Christian. There is at least a sense of ironic self-detachment here missing from some of his later efforts.

Basically, this is a concert film with a framing narrative – and a very bad one at that – to do with a film director who hasn't been able to get the Alice Cooper band (or "gang", as he insists on calling them in an atrocious sub-Colonel Klink German accent) to do the film he wants them to do. They wreck his set, and leave, and he wants to get revenge. The direction is poor. Very poor, actually, and I seriously doubt – with no sense of exaggeration – that there was even a script involved; watch it and see for yourself. Thankfully, these intrusions into the concert footage are generally brief – but they are so ineptly acted as to be extremely painful - the cinematic equivalent of bamboo shoots under the fingernails. Seriously, these inserts make the acting in a Herschell Gordon Lewis or Ted V Mikels film look like top shelf material. That said, the opening sequence with Alice dressed as a lounge singer with an appalling blonde wig generally hamming it up while singing "The Lady Is A Tramp" is hilarious – albeit on a kind of sub-Monkees level. The feature length version with the inserts is the kind of thing you'll only watch once. Probably with a sense of disbelief and the kind of headache that could stop a charging rhino. Select the concert-only version.

The Coop's earliest incarnation was true exploitation – by their own admission all about sex, death and money (check out the liner notes in the gatefold of School Days – the reissue of the seriously weird Pretties For You and the moderately less bizarre Easy Action - if you don't believe me). And watching Alice (during the tasteful little ditty "Dead Babies") wave a cutlass with a baby doll impaled on the end of it certainly cements the exploitation angle, particularly when he tries to insert it between the legs of an inverted female mannequin, before a few songs later hurling real money into the crowd in order to incite a riot (as Alice states on the commentary track).

Peaking the concert proper with the ultimate hymn to necrophilia, "I Love the Dead" (a song I want played at my funeral), Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper is tremendous fun and top-notch rock'n'roll entertainment. Just avoid the framing narrative and watch the concert. My neighbours must hate this DVD – I sang along with every song. Loudly.
Not so flash, but we're hear for the music. It's kind of washed out, and the insert bits look like the print must have been tied to the back of a car and taken for a scrape around the parking lot. As with Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones, the camera is centred almost exclusively on the frontman.
Pretty damn good. Hook your stereo up to your TV if you don't have 5.1. Alice Cooper's early music is the best rock you'll hear this side of the Stones' "Golden age" from '68 to '72. All of the toons here are off Love It To Death, Killer, School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies – if you don't own and love these albums, it's time to kill yourself instantly.
Extra Features
There's an audio commentary with the always entertaining Alice (a shame no other members of the band are present), as well as a poster gallery, some bios of the band members (albeit rather short ones), a deleted scene, outtakes, the 'play concert only' option (seriously, the ONLY way to watch this) and a bunch of Easter eggs. There's also the uncensored version of Unfinished Sweet – although as one of my least favourite Alice Cooper songs from the period, I didn't get too excited about this.
The Verdict
If you are an Alice Cooper fan and you don't own this – RUN, don't walk to get it. Quite simply: this is great. A master showman at the top of his game – and it totally smokes the other Coop live shows I've seen, mainly due to the superior set list. As a feature film though – it stinks out loud and is practically unwatchable. I'd sooner pry out my own eyes, stick my big toes in the open weeping sockets and spin around on my back on a bed of broken glass than watch the "story" again. Yes, it's that bad. Embarrassingly so. My rating below is based on the concert performance alone. I'm pretending the framing narrative never happened.
Movie Score
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