Hit Parader

Originally Published: 1987

Alice Cooper

The Master Returns

Author: Marc Shapiro

Alice Cooper hasn't cozied up to a snake for quite a while. So he was understandably tentative about approaching the scaly extra in his first music video - He's back (The Man Behind the Mask) for the mad slasher film Friday The 13th Part VI. Actually, the occasion of the video marks a twin return - for Jason, the killer in the film, who's come back from the grave to once again slice and dice stupid teenagers, and for Cooper, who returned from a three-year rock hiatus, bound and determined to do another kind of job on the teens.

"I'm healthy again," said Alice moments before the snake showed up. "But I wasn't three years ago. I was burned out. I was frustrated. I was drinking two bottles of whiskey a day and basically killing myself. So I decided to take some time off to recharge my batteries."

Cooper's recharging was successful, but it led to his getting involved in some mighty strange business.

"I've always been a horror film fan and during that break I started getting into some real bizarre ones," recalled Cooper. "After renting about three splatter films a night, I finally decided that being in one of those movies was what I wanted to do."

Alice, who currently spends his off time shuttling between homes in Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona, got his wish when he was contacted in 1984 by some people with a script called Monster Dog.

"Monster Dog didn't have much of a plot," laughed Alice. "It was basically an excuse to see how many people we could kill. There was so much blood flying around that the cameramen had to wear raincoats. Then I ended up having my shoulder ripped off by this giant mechanical dog in the film. It was a kick!"

A "kick" that catapulted Cooper back to the recording and touring wars. He practically fell over himself saying yes when he was asked to score Friday The 13th Part VI. And his latest album, Constrictor, also has a scare theme running through songs like Thrill My Gorilla and Life And Death Of The Party.

"This isn't wimpy stuff I had hits with," Alice snorted. "The new songs are a return to the old-style Alice. Constrictor is kind of a throwback to the period up to and including Billion Dollar Babies. But there's one important difference. These new songs are a lot less show business and a lot more scary."

Alice warned that this scariness will spill over into the antics of his upcoming tour. Besides the Alice Cooper trademark snake and guillotine, Alice promised he has something really disgusting up his sleeve.

"I've been talking to Tom (horror film FX master) Savini," said Cooper. "And we're working on an onstage gore effect which would be a first for a rock concert. It's very difficult, though. Really good blood and guts stuff on film has the advantage of being right in the audience's face. But I'm dealing with the logistics of a concert where some people are going to be ten thousand rows away from the stage. A throat being slit of a body exploding won't play for the guy in the cheap seats. So Tom and I are attempting to put something together which will work for everybody in a big arena."

Alice, however, wasn't about to spill the beans about what he has in mind. "If I tell you, I can guarantee that some bands out there will read this and steal the idea. Those bands know who they are. They're the ones who've taken my old shtick and turned it into a brand new career."