The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monster Dog (1984)

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This movie was the first of three that we watched during last Saturday's Neflix Bad Movie night, which was organized by fellow bloggers at Mr. Gables Reality, Morbidementia, and Guts and Grog Reviews. It was a great time, where a bunch of us watched three movies on Netflix Watch Instantly and tweeted about it to each other. Keep an eye on their sites, and/or my Twitter feed and Facebook page for when the next one will be.

Monster Dog has classic metal luminary Alice Cooper as a pop singer who goes out to his family's cabin in the woods with a bunch of friends and coworkers to shoot his next music video. Something's not quite right though, as there are fresh sandwiches in the fridge, and crazy dogs lurking. The neighbors think Alice Cooper is a werewolf, and they want him dead, but the neighbors don't look that great either, so Cooper's friends would rather take his side. Could that be their undoing?

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This was a pretty fun movie. It starts and ends with an Alice Cooper music video for a song called "Identity Crises", which was pretty sweet with Cooper dressed in all kinds of outfits and whatnot. The movie itself is pure schlock, directed by the guy who did Troll 2, meaning if you're watching it, you can't piss on hospitality. As far as the werewolf aspect goes, I'm not sure it's even there. It's mostly just dogs biting people, like a really bad episode of the People's Court, and then at the end Alice Cooper turns into more of a were-Elliot Gould than a werewolf, which is pretty funny, but might not be what you're looking for if you're in the market for a werewolf movie. Then there's all the silly stuff thrown in, like an inexplicable empty milk carton on the dash of Cooper's van, random sandwiches in the fridge, and Cooper's $9.99 sweater he got at Sears-- very befitting a rockstar. A perfect choice for a bad movie night.

My first introduction to Alice Cooper came when I was in fourth grade, through the song "Poison", which was a very popular Hair Metal track at that time. My fourth grade teacher (named Mrs. Kruger, which automatically made her a little scary) overheard a few of us talking about it, and she told us about his stuff from the 70s that she grew up with. This was before the age of the Internet, so we had to rely on her showing us some albums and stuff, which was probably a lot cooler than Googling it would've been. As far as Monster Dog goes, Cooper is the main attraction, and whether he disappoints or not might be debatable, but the novelty of him never wears off, which is all you can ask for as far as I'm concerned-- though no one was beheaded, which was a disappointment for me.

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Do any of you MSTies recognize this guy? He was the manager from Pod People. Unfortunately the "It stinks!" guy wasn't in this as well, and also no one broke their neck from a high fall requiring the manager guy to carry her off, making sure he jiggled her spine around some more. This movie could've used some Trumpy, I'll tell you that. Alice Cooper vs. Trumpy: this time it's personal!

The female lead in this, Victoria Vera, looked hotter and hotter the more disheveled she became. That's good stuff right there, and something modern horror directors need to take note of. Torture porn is just gross, give me a chick that looks even better with fake blood and messed up hair than she did earlier in the film with her hair and make-up done perfectly. Her character was kind of all over the place, between just being a pretty face, to gradually turning into a tough chick with a shotgun and a sweater torn into Jennifer Beal mode. This is Scream Queen done right.

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I worked with a guy who saw Europe in concert, and he said they opened a closed with "The Final Countdown", and since Monster Dog opened and closed with the same Alice Cooper song, I figured I'd open and close with Cooper as well. First, his voice in the English version is not his, someone else dubbed it. It sounds pretty close to it, so I was fooled. Second, Cooper can play in all the golf tournaments and open all the restaurants in Arizona, but he'll never escape this bad boy as long as people like us are fighting the good fight and reminding people. I got your Man vs. Food right here baby, and it's in the form of a were-Elliot Gould! Finally, it was really cool to go back and revisit some of those Hair Metal era Cooper songs over at his YouTube VEVO page. I embedded a couple on the image page.

As far as the movie goes, this is a great choice for a bad movie night, it has all the elements you'd want, from the badly dubbed dialog, the schlock special effects, random elements like a milk carton on the van's dash, and finally the novelty of Alice Cooper. You can't go wrong here. As far as the Netflix Bad Movie night went, that was great as well, so thanks to Mr. Gable, Morbidimentia, Tromeric at Guts and Grog, and everyone else for having me along, and I can't wait until the next one!

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087616/

13 comments:

  1. Great review! This looks like a blast! Will have to watch it soon. Also: I wonder why Alice Cooper's voice was dubbed?

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  2. It's an italian production. Up until around this time almost ALL italian movies were filmed with no sound so they could dub it in english AND in italian easier. (At least that's what my friend told me. And the more italian flicks I see around this time period, the more I believe it)

    Monster Dog: AWESOME. I kept going on and on about how it was the TRUE Evil Dead 3. It had the feel about it. Not nearly as good, obviously, but I still thought it had the feel about it.

    And Alice Cooper with a Shotgun is just amazing.

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  3. Another thing about Italian dubbing is that a lot of times they use the same voice actors over and over again. So it's possible that if you watch a couple 80's Italian horror flicks back to back, you'll hear the same 5 or 6 voices.

    As for the movie, I didn't enjoy it as much as you did. (In fact, I think it pretty much sucked.) I think the thing that hung me up on it was that it was a Claudio Fragasso joint and I went in expecting another Troll 2. But there can be only one Troll 2, unfortunately.

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  4. God, this is one I always wanted to see when I was a kid. Good stuff.

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  5. Boy, do I have egg on my face, totally forgot to mention that this was an Italian production, and it was dubbed. I did know the part about the same voice actors, didn't know about the filming the movies w/ no sound, but that makes sense too.

    I'm obviously closer to Mr. Gable than the Video Vacuum on this one, but you really need to see it from that bad movie night, lots of people riffing on it perspective. When Mr. Gable talks about it being like Evil Dead 3, it really has that kids in a cabin out in the woods and crazy shit happens kind of feel that is perfect for yelling at the screen-- and then there's Alice Cooper, and he sings! Ed, I'd take advantage of it while it's on Watch Instantly.

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  6. Oh man! I remember watching this way back in the 80's! I've still got the image in my head of seeing the clamshell vhs case at my local video store. Ha! They even had the poster up on the wall believe it or not. I had no idea it was the same guy who did Troll 2! Now I must revisit it!

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  7. Definitely worth a revisit, I think you'll have tons of fun.

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  8. Found you via Comeuppance - looks like we decided to review this one almost simultaneously. I want to know how the Alan Parsons Project got involved, and why they didn't counsel Alice on his choice of outerwear.

    Dr. Algernon Blacksteed - flightofthebmovie.blogspot.com

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  9. Excellent, glad you found us, and I dig your blog too. I'm not sure what was going on with Cooper's sweater button-up shirt combinations, not very rock n' roll, I can say that-- but still kinda awesome.

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  10. Thanks man - does anyone know who the 'Lou' mentioned on the Monster Dog poster is? I can't figure it out. Maybe I missed something, but I think that Vince Raven was originally named Lou Raven. Someone must have thought that sounded like an R and B singer and changed the name, but at that point posters had already been printed and ... I'm rambling.

    Dr. A B

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  11. Excellent pick up, I never noticed the "Lou" thing. Who knows what that was about, maybe he was Lou in the original dub version, and then changed to Vince for the English.

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  12. WOW! I vividly remember this cover from my youthful days in the videostore. Never picked it up, but with the "Pod people" connection, it sounds like a winner!

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  13. Oh yeah, the Pod People connection, among so many other things, will make this a winner for you.

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