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With: Alice Cooper, Victoria Vera, Carlos Santurio, Maria Jose Sarsa, Pepita James, Emilio Linder, Ricardo Palacios, Luis Maluenda, Bernabe Barta Barri
Written by: Claudio Fragasso, Carlos Aured
Directed by: "Clyde Anderson" (a.k.a. Claudio Fragasso, Carlos Aured)
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 84
Date: 12/01/1984

Monster Dog (1984)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Hound Barrier

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Monster Dog on DVD.

By any measuring stick, Monster Dog is a bad movie, but I love it because it provided a night of hilarious heckling for my brother and I on a dull Friday night back in the 1980s. (My brother claims he doesn't remember the film, however.) Alice Cooper stars as Vincent Raven, an improbably huge rock star who finishes a video for a song called "Identity Crisises" (bad grammar intentional), and decides that it's no good. His producer sends him home to his small town with a video crew to do another one. (Of course, in this film, music videos are shot all in one take.) Once there, he discovers that the town has been ravaged by werewolves, and that he might turn into one himself. Cooper is by far the best actor in the film, which isn't saying much considering that other, better directors daren't give him a speaking part (i.e. Prince of Darkness). His lovely leading lady Victoria Vera has either been badly dubbed or completely lacks the genetic code required for acting. The special effects are pathetic, the dialogue and script logic are nonexistent, and, save for some ominous shadowy shots, the directing is severely lacking. Cooper contributes two songs (the other is called "See Me in the Mirror"), both from his mid-80s synthesizer period. That aside, Monster Dog works because it knows how to take a break; it's not out to scare you or make you tense 100% of the time. It has a wonderful late-night, goofy mood that makes it a perfect party video for friends with the right sense of humor.

DVD Details: The new DVD, by Substance (via Music Video Distributors), is just about one of the worst I've ever seen. The transfer obviously comes straight from a VHS tape rather than any kind of film source. The sound is muddy and there are no subtitles. Extras include cast and crew info (and an Alice Cooper bio) and eight of the most amazing exploitation trailers I've ever seen, including Cannibal Taboo and Frat Ratz.

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