Alice Cooper - "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" (100 min. General Media Inc. 1974)
After releasing his/their magnum opus with "Billion Dollar Babies" in 1973, Alice Cooper went out on the tour that would become the highlight of their touring career. It included the most expensive stage-set used by a rock band until then, and the show had become even more shocking. This was the rock'n'roll version of Las Vegas and Broadway, and the band's management was fortunately wise enough to capture it all on film, resulting in "Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper" that despite a few problems stands as the definitive cinematic document of Alice Cooper at the absolute height of their career.
The movie opens with Alice and the band in white suits and wigs performing "The Lady is a Tramp" in a very kitschy studio. This was of course a joke, but it wouldn't be too far from the truth to say that Alice became scarily close to doing the almost same stuff in the very late '70s, but then being serious about it! The band of course realises that this is not their style at all, so they quickly stop playing and demolishes the entire studio to the protests of the German director on the set, introducing the idiotic plot that is the weak link in this movie. He decides to take his revenge on the band, chasing them through the entire movie during some horribly bad sketches, and also consulting a psychiatrist that in the end turns out to be Alice himself. The humour is extremely cheesy and infantile, looking almost like something directed toward very young children.
But if you forget about these parts of the movie, you're in for some superb concert footage, opening with "Hello Hurray" that remains one of my personal favourites, followed by a gutsy "Billion Dollar Babies". "I'm Eighteen" is delightfully raw and vulgar in this version. And yes, Alice were probably just as drunk as he appears to be here. A pleasant surprise for me was the inclusion of the excellent "My Stars", an overlooked and forgotten gem from the "School's Out" album that next to the following "Unfinished Sweet" were the two most complex songs performed. And it was during the latter one that the legendary stage show was beginning to take off, showing Alice in fight with the dentist and his giant drill, before he chases a big, rotten tooth with a toothbrush of the same size! Utterly hilarious.
The rest of the show features everything that made Alice Cooper the worst nightmare for parents in the '70s: the snake on "Sick Things", stabbing baby dolls and mannequins during "Dead Babies" and finally topping everything with the bloody decapitation in the guillotine in "I Love the Dead". "School's Out" is unfortunately constantly interrupted by the earlier mentioned "plot" of the movie, but still shows together with "Under My Wheels" the communication between Alice and the audience, both for good and bad actually. The show ends with "Star Spangled Banner" and a short appearance of Richard Nixon-look-alike Richard M. Dixon who receives a serious beating from the band.
The comedy sequences of the movie are a real pain to sit through, but believe me, the concert more than makes it well worth the effort.