Audio

Prince of Darkness

TRACK #168:

Prince of Darkness by Alice Cooper

In 1987, after struggling to work within the studio system and the unfortunate box-office performance of Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter decided to go rogue once again.

And rogue indeed, producing a straight-faced and strange (maybe even ahead of it’s time) film that I can’t imagine any major studio green-lighting.

What emerged was an atmospheric, dread-drenched affair of Science converging with Religion to prove the existence of God.

Or perhaps more appropriately, the existence of Satan.

Sub-atomic. Moving within the atoms of things, where logic need not apply. Liquid evil. A green, putrid substance filled with all the abominations of the earth.


It was captured and sealed up long ago. A race of Humanoid Aliens, of which Jesus was a member, kept watch. But the truth was hidden. Wrapped in metaphor and buried under ritual.

Now, in light of our faithlessness, it has awoken, and it wants control.

I like Prince of Darkness. It’s a little talkie, sure, and maybe a tad slow, but I don’t mind. I could listen to Egg Shen spout off about theoretical physics all night. Donald Pleasence is solid, even if he feels like he’s just plugged in from The Devil’s Men, and A.J. Simon is only distracting if you actually used to watch Simon and Simon, which you probably didn’t. The supporting players do a fine in their respective roles, including Carpenter regulars like Victor Wong, Peter Jason and Dennis Dun.

And, once the scientists start getting slowly absorbed by the evil and the hobos begin to gather, John turns on the gas a bit.

Speaking of the street people, Alice Cooper jumps in to play the pale-faced, beanie-rockin, head-hobo. He even kills a dude with a rusty, old bike. A dude who happens to be listening to this very song on his Walkman….meta.

Seems this bike was Alice’s own personal prop too, as he used to do this gag live during his stage show. Now thats pretty bitchin’.

Here’s reigning All-Star Alice Cooper rockin’ again with Prince of Darkness.

 

Audio

He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

104_friday-6TRACK #104:

He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) by Alice Cooper

In 1984, Paramount Pictutres made way too much money on Friday The 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter to let that truly be Jason’s final chapter.

So they set upon quickly churning out a part 5. Only Jason was dead now,…for good,…right? What’s a greedy production company to do?

So in 1985, Paramount quickly proceed to fuck right up. They essentially took the exact same model, delivered a by the numbers Friday installment, with Jason in a hockey mask and called it A New Beginning. Only they pulled the old Kansas City Shuffle. It wasn’t actually Jason. Fans were pissed.

Roy? Who the fuck is Roy? Seriously? This dude’s name is Roy?

Here’s Roy.

roy-burns

Fans didn’t cotton to old Roy here.

“But why?” You may ask.There’s a guy in a hockey mask brutally murdering teenagers at a summer camp. Isn’t that the point? Fuck, Roy kills 18 people for Christ’s sake! Jason ain’t puttin’ up those kinda numbers yet. Who cares who’s under the mask? It’s been a different actor, sometimes in the same damn movie, since part 2. Is it that important it be Jason Voorhees?

Apparently so.

I’d say it’s a least somewhat important, if only to keep Friday the 13th from turning into a running Scooby-Doo gag. “Why it’s old man Burns, the guy who run’s that haunted ambulance!”

Plus, we always get a peak at Jason, and it’s usually fucking horrifying. Observe…

friday3_jason

Maybe it’s a little important. No?

So, Paramount quickly swung in on a jungle vine for some damage control.hesback_junglejay In 1986 they unleashed Jason Lives and changed the entire franchise forever.

No more is Jason a mere mortal stalking the woods of Crystal Lake. He’s now a full fledged supernatural, unstoppable zombie killing machine.

No longer is the series a straight faced stalk-n-slash either. Tinges of satire, self parody and silliness have entered the Friday landscape.

Additionally this installment, while producing a sizable body count, is suspiciously lacking in the gore department. It’s also the only entry to feature no nudity. Fo reals?

But more importantly pop icons appear.

hesback_jalicecoopees

Despite the fact that this is Alice Cooper

Enter Alice Cooper and his single He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) blatantly reassuring all the Friday Freaks that yes, he’s back. Yes, the man behind the mask, Jason. Don’t worry, we even put his name first in the title to placate all the doubters and haters that may not come to suckle from our money cow’s teat.

Jason goes for a full blown team-up. Music videos, multiple songs, Fangoria spreads which give us such awesome images as this.

jason-and-aliceThankfully, Jason didn’t take too many cues from Freddy, and remained silent. I don’t know if I could have handled a wisecracking Voorhees.

Despite its lighter tone and generalized Skynet-like self-awareness, Jason is still pretty menacing, and there are some good kills, however neutered they may appear. It’s certainly not the poorest entry and it has a lot of style. It may just be one of the more entertaining of Jason’s outings, but that’s all up for debate, as that sort of assessment depends largely on your temperament and what kind of Friday you prefer.

It remains perhaps my favorite of the post zombie half of the series. It’s all downhill from 6, by degrees. I gotta a lotta love for aspects of 7 though, so there’s some wiggle room with that declaration.

Pulling Jason Voorhees clear in the the mid-80’s, here’s Alice Cooper’s He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)

 

Audio

The Black Widow

082_alice-cooper_welcome_to_my_nightmareTRACK# 82:

The Black Widow by Alice Cooper

Vincent Price is awesome. I’m not really sure how else to put it. I could use words like “extraordinary,” or “singular,” or even “eminent,” but they all just sound like “awesome” to me.

Another, even more appropriate word, might be “iconic.” Having starred in over 40 genre pictures, Mr. Price, though not exclusive to horror (having appeared in almost 200 film and television productions) has left his indelible mark on the world of the macabre.

Simply anchoring some of my all-time favorite horror films, including The House on Haunted Hill, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Vincent Price already equals horror. And that’s not even mentioning The Tingler, The Raven, A Comedy of TerrorsLast Man on Earth, House of Wax, The Pit and the Pendulum, Witchfinder General or The Fly. You get the idea.

Even outside the sphere of horror, Price still owns my loyalty, adding his distinctive flare to Egghead, one of my favorite villains from one of my favorite shows ever, the old Batman series from 1965.

Again, that’s not even to speak of his radio work, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, his Sears-Roebuck sponsored Fine Art Collection, The Great Mouse Detective, Dead Heat, Edward Scissorhands, and this absolutely insane album of him talking about witchcraft and the demons.

I’ll type that again just in case you breezed passed it: Vincent Price recorded a 90 minute spoken word album all about witchcraft and it’s fucking incredible.

His credits even include a stint on Hollywood Squares. Seriously?

Seriously.

So iconic is Vincent that he appears on the Shindig at least 3 times without any intervention from my sampling hand. Bands who wanted to sound spooky tapped Vincent for that little extra something sinister. Never a bad decision.

The first example of this is from none other than Alice Cooper, no stranger to the sinister himself. Price leads in Track 82, The Black Widow from Cooper’s 1975 album Welcome to My Nightmare.

As if that wasn’t enough, Price also starred in the corresponding television special which followed the album entitled Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, where he reprises this monologue, in perfect Price fashion, almost identically.

Vincent Price may have passed, but among horror fans he will live on forever, ritualistically resurrected with each push of the play button. And as for the Shindig, his extraordinarily singular and eminent voice can be heard all over it.

 

Audio

Feed My Frankenstein

058_alice-cooper_hey-stoopidTRACK #58:

Feed My Frankenstein by Alice Cooper

Inclusive, though not to any movie relevant to the Shindig (1992’s Wayne’s World) this hit from shock-rocker Alice Cooper needs no introduction to anyone reading this right now, I’ll wager.

One of 2 songs on the Shindig featuring a monster allusion to sexuality, Feed My Frankenstein uses the dubious imagery of Frankenstein to replace the word “cock.”

Why Frankenstein, though? Is it sewn together from several different cocks? Does it just want to be loved, only to meet disdain from all who gaze upon it? Or is it simply that it’s just a monster of a cock?

If that’s the case, why not Mummy? Feed A-MY…..mummy.

Hmm, guess that lacks a little something syllabically.

That probably cancels The Wolfman, too. And the Creature from the Black Lagoon is definitely out.

Hey, Dracula could work! He’s already a monster of a sexual nature. Plus, he’s associated with hunger (or more appropriately, thirst), something I can’t really say for Frankenstein. I guess he’s just not big enough, and I suppose that’s really the underlying, if perhaps juvenile, point.

Recently, for his stage show, Alice Cooper commissioned haunt specialists Distortions Unlimited to create a giant Alice Cooper Frankenstein puppet. Here’s a video of it if you no idea what I’m talking about. He…uh….pops out…at that 3:45 mark, if you just wanna scan to it.

As mentioned previously, this puppet was sculpted by my buddy and horror/music/Shindig enthusiast Mikey Rotella. I’ll reblog the photo so no one need dig for it. Pass it around Tumblr! Make his work famous.

Oh, and I almost forgot. This track is led-in with almost unnatural appropriateness by a sample from George Romero’s Day of the Dead. Too perfect for words.

Enjoy!