Hot Docs 2014: Super Duper Alice Cooper (Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen & Sam Dunn)

2014_hotdocs_stock_imageIn case you’ve missed it at it’s two amazing screenings already, this doc-opera screens one last time this morning at 11 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

My first introduction to Alice Copper came early in life, through his appearance on (surprise, surprise) The Muppets. I liked the music I heard, but didn’t get a lot of opportunities to pursue rock until the early 80s, which was a long time when you’re a kid.

As such, it was fun for me to settle in to this film, and learn a lot about one of the true legends of the Rock and Roll world.

Born the son of a pastor, Vincent Furnier got into music at a very early age, with a succesful high school rock band with the Earwigs, the first taste of fame led down a long and rocky road, through alcohol and cocaine, giving the world of rock the enduring legacy and music of Alice Cooper.

Using a kick ass soundtrack, and a wonderful visual style that utilizes photographs, concert and television footage, alongside clips from the classic Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, the Golem and Jekyll & Hyde, to illustrate the life story of this icon.

Running chronologically through Furnier’s life, battling his demons, almost losing his wife, Sherry, meeting his manager Shep Gordon, and producer Bob Ezrin, the film shows us the ups and the downs as Cooper begins to take over Furnier’s life, in a true Jekyll & Hyde story.


The legendary chicken story is there, the meeting with Dali, the theatrics, the sanitarium…

For real fans of Alice Cooper, there isn’t going to be much there that hasn’t been told before, and there probably isn’t any footage you haven’t seen either, still, it’s all nicely packaged, covered in glam and classic Cooper tunes, and is a brilliant way to spend an evening.

I was fortunate enough to see the simulcast on Monday night, that had been shared with 47 other theaters across Canada from Victoria to Halifax. WOW.

The trio of directors keep the film moving, it never lags, and there is always something happening, accompanied by a near constant reflective narration by Cooper himself. There are tons of recognizable names through the course of the film, Bernie Taupin, Elton John, Iggy Pop, Dee Snider… they talk about his influence, his style and the always brilliant showmanship.

You’d think with three directors that the film may be unbalanced, or chaotic, but the three of them, working alongside their subject, have made what could be the quintessential rock and roll film, as artist and performer try to find a healthy separation of stage and life.

Whether you have a passing interest in Alice Cooper, or are an ardent fan, this one is a bit of a must see. It tracks his journey from Detroit to Phoenix, Los Angeles back to Detroit, his first taste of fame, the boom of success, and all the trappings, good and ill that come with it.

Check it out!




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