While perusing Vincent Price’s filmography on IMDb to find potential flicks to hit during It’s All Connected, I saw something that piqued my interest: Alice Cooper’s: Welcome To My Nightmare! In an interesting twist, I bought that DVD, but for my dad way back when. He’s the on who got me into classic rock and we even went and saw Alice Cooper’s incredible live show together back when we both still lived in Toledo. So, when I found out that Rhino was doing a DVD of Cooper’s Welcome To My Nightmare-era tour film, I snatched it up for him! He had it here in New York, so I borrowed it and gave it a watch. The results were…interesting.
I’ll just get this out of the way right off the bat, Vincent Price’s voice is only in this thing for about 30 seconds. I was bummed out by that, but actually had a lot of fun watching this special and it’s still a solid Halloween watch if you can find it (hey look, the entire thing is on the below YouTube clip). Welcome To My Nightmare was a landmark album for Cooper because it was his first major record without the band that was originally called Alice Cooper (he took the name as his own and carried on with a new group). The man behind the madness also decided to tour the album with a full-on stage show that incorporated pre-taped video segments, theatrical stage effects and dancers dressing up like skeletons and ghosts and the like.
As he and the band go through classic songs like the title track, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen,” “Only Women Bleed” and “School’s Out” it’s a nice representation of his career up to that point, but also a super-fun, wild stage show that felt like it may or may not have inspired the ending of Phantom Of The Paradise. It was a heck of an undertaking that Cooper’s voice may not have been up to the challenge of, but it’s a great artifact.
However, since I didn’t get the dose of Price I wanted, I watched a few other related things! The Price MGM DVD set has a whole disc of special features. One called “Art Of Fear” offers some context to the films in the set and also features Fangoria legend Tony Timpone. The other, “Working With Vincent Price” was a nice showcase of the actors and actresses who worked with him over the years. I was especially interested to learn about the friendship Price had with Peter Lorre, which makes their shared segment in Tales Of Terror all the more delightful. It was also cool hearing various experts talk about Price’s female co-stars, especially the ones who could go toe-to-toe with him!
Finally, for one more Price nugget, I pulled out my Get Smart DVD box set, went to the fifth season and watched the 1969 episode entitled “Is This Trip Necessary?” In it, our guy plays an evil scientist by the name of Dr. Jarvis Pym who basically intends to dose everyone in Washington, D.C. with acid (the drug)! They don’t really call it that, but it’s clearly the intent with all of the wild Head-inspired filming and editing that goes on. Some of the costumes are a bit problematic, but overall the episode is super funny and surprising when you consider it was on network TV! Plus, not surprisingly, Price is wonderfully fun in it, especially when he’s playing off of Don Adams’ genius! In a better world, they had a long-running sitcom together.
I thought about just skipping all of these entries, but it’s fun to look at some of the more unique choices a favorite actor makes. We’ll have another one of those with our next entry!