Contributed by our panelist member, The Heavy Breather.
I rented MONSTER DOG one year on New Years’ Eve when a group of friends and I decided we didn’t feel like going out and watching intelligent people we ordinarily love and respect burp the alphabet and knock each other down on the dance floor. It seemed like it could be a real winner. Let’s just say that the following New Year I went out in full force. Not only did I burp the alphabet, I was the alphabet. Witnesses tell me I freaked a man wearing a poncho on the dance floor and then puked on myself. Did the scarring memory of MONSTER DOG’S awfulness fuel this self-destructive debauchery? Let’s examine, shall we?
MONSTER DOG is a BAD horror flick, not just because it stars Alice Cooper (as Vincent Raven), who can’t act even when he plays a rock star; and not because it sounds retarded to call something a “monster-dog” when its obviously just a f**king werewolf- no. MONSTER DOG sinks under the weight of a plot so ponderous it makes Jason Voorhees look like a kid on the high school track team. Add to that the fact that every scrap of dialogue in the movie has been dubbed over (from English to Spanish and back again) so many times it may qualify as sound collage. Okay, I know that’s a lot to take in, so I’ll give you a moment to catch you breath because we’re just getting started.
Three fourths of the movie is spent navel-gazing over whether or not Cooper has inherited the family monster-dog curse while he and his band mates hang out in his dimly lit ancestral castle. Worse, once the plot takes off it has almost nothing to do with a monster-dog, but rather with the prejudices of gun-toting backwoods rednecks. By far some of the best scenes in the movie are of Alice Cooper blowing hicks away with a shotgun Charles Bronson style. The movie features a genuinely surprise twist at the end but the critical scene is so poorly lit to make much sense (did he just punch someone or are they hugging?), but it does in fact feature The Creature Formerly Known As Werewolf.
Without question, the movies finest five minutes is its opening sequence, a fake rock video for Vincent Raven’s Alice Cooperesque song, “Identity Crisises.” The song itself, aside from its hilariously ungrammatical chorus, adds little to the film, though I think the director really wanted it to. The video features Cooper dressed up in the stereotypical getups of various stock characters, none of which are canine, btw. The two outfits I recall most clearly are a “detective” costume, meaning he looks like Sherlock, though I’d say Hemlock rather than Holmes, and a cheesy James Bond tuxedo. If you are thinking these scenes seem to have NO horror value at all, well, you are right.
Overall, the plot doesn’t hold much interest and the potential excitement of having Cooper in a horror movie playing a thinly veiled alter ego gets squandered. When I watched MONSTER DOG we psyched ourselves up for it by watching the half hour episode of “The Muppet Show” Cooper appeared on back in the Seventies. I can safely recommend that episode as both a scarier and more playful cinematic take on Cooper’s legendary stage shows. MONSTER DOG, a few silly moments aside, does not escape its own curse: this movie is BAD.
Rating: ½* (out of four)
Rating: ½* (out of four)