BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Alice Cooper has a drinking problem, or so says Vincent Furnier — Alice’s real life alter-ego — in the prelude to the video version of the over-the-top tour de force that marked the 1979 Madhouse Rock tour. An exercise in theatrical excess and outrageous spectacle, it goes to show how durable Alice has always been, so durable in fact that he currently has a featured role in the Johnny Depp remake of Dark Shadows, looking every bit as ghastly and ghoulish as he did back in the day. No matter, then, that the character has an abuse problem or a psychopathic disorder; the enduring icon is in peak form in this intriguing period piece, one that finds him and his band
surrounded a variety of loony characters and enough special effects to mount a Broadway extravaganza. Furnier’s ability to mine his muse for nearly four decades has turned Alice’s road show into a handsome paycheck, and unlike Kiss, his closest competition, Alice has never shed his make-up or attempted to suppress the quirkier aspects of his character’s persona.
As a result, Alice’s oddities are never more evident than they were here, as the demented star
pleads, cajoles and generally bares his fears and fantasies for an approving audience. Using songs from his then-current album From the Inside to guide the narrative, the 72-minute video takes him from an insane asylum to a stage shared with dancing bottles of booze of an
international variety. He’s accompanied by a ghoulish cast of creepy caretakers and all manner of ghastly accoutrements – among them, disembodied heads, his ever-ready straight jacket and, naturally, Alice’s pet boa constrictor.
And of course, there’s also an ample stash of hits – “Welcome to My Nightmare,” “Only Women Bleed,” “Billion Dollar Babies,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen” and, naturally, his signature song, “School’s Out,” all sung with typical Cooper cachet. The ageless Alice regales the crowd in full freak frenzy, as strangely stunning as ever.
DVD extras: none