Monday, May 9, 2011

MONSTER DOG (1984)

And the hits just keep on not coming as Fragassopalooza sluggishly wends its way to completion. Yes, that is Alice Cooper right there and this is a review of MONSTER DOG, with which I have had a more complicated relationship than with any monster girlfriend. I saw it (via big box VHS at the HARDWARE STORE that was the first place in town to rent movies) when I was maybe nine or so and adored it because I was young and innocent and obviously not too sharp. Then I grew old enough to realize that it was quite faily. Then I grew even older still and went back to loving it again, primarily because of its inane inept dialogue and terrible effects. Now I am very near death and hate most of it except for the first twenty minutes or so and the music. Going with the girlfriend analogy, it is like I really like MONSTER DOG's hair and the way it touches my neck, but it spends way too much of its time lying on the couch eating fudge, plus it has urinary tract infections constantly and like why is that.
Alice Cooper plays Vincent Raven, a rock singer who is shipped back to his hometown full of five people and packs of mad dogs running everywhere and killing. The record company thinks it will inspire him to produce art even greater than his hit "Identity Crisises". We open with said video, lip-synched (natch), which is ironic, considering that Cooper's dialogue here is overdubbed by the same actor who has dubbed shit-tons of z-grade Italian horror fare. It gets even more meta as the gang are watching the video (ON VHS, please believe) whilst en route to said town. Raven is unimpressed—"It stinks! The next one we do has gotta have more punch." I know that Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson have done and said exactly this and nothing will change my mind. They run smack into two obese redneck cops in orange ponchos who make "a whole big deal about these mad dogs". I know, right?
Anyway, they reach the house and this is where MONSTER DOG gets exceedingly tedious and full of lowlights. There are some oases of Fragasso insanity—"Well, I guess you must be the werewolf's sweetheart! Ain't that right!!"—but way too much of it is devoted to the kind of action content and chase scenes that Claudio just can't handle. He's best at outrageous and ridiculous scenarios, not at assembling hella-tight and heart-stopping thrill scenes. MONSTER DOG simpers along for a while before it sort of ends well, with a backseat werewolf and shotgun death. I'd rank this below ZOMBIE 4 and actually rate it the least of the Claudio Fragasso films I've seen. In his defense, it was his first real spin in the director's seat, plus this was a cast comprised of Spaniards, dogs, and Alice Cooper, all of whom are difficult to manage.
Cooper fans might want to see this because it includes two very good and hard-to-obtain songs, or you could just watch these here videos of them: