In 1975 Alice Cooper was one of the biggest rock stars of his generation and one of the few singers who had been able to split from his former band and become a solo sensation.
By the end of the decade his life was in tatters from alcohol and cocaine addiction. Super Duper Alice Cooper is the tale of how this preacher’s son from Detroit went from shambolic art-rocker to one of the world’s biggest stars, fell from grace and then returned with one of the most spectacular comeback shows in rock history.
To make their film stand out, the Banger Films team have given their documentary a very different slant, taking the animated style of Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas’ American: The Bill Hicks Story while blending archival footage and splicing in scenes from silent-era horror films to illustrate key points of Cooper’s evolution as an artist and star. The film’s self-billed “docu drama” approach is further enhanced by letting its characters narrate their own story and neither the film-makers nor the interviewees are shown on screen. This complete subversion of the usual rock documentary format is difficult to accept at first as it’s occasionally hard to tell who is telling which part of the story. Given the innovative artistic nature of their subject, and what Alice Cooper brought to rock n roll, however, it is actually the perfect approach.
Told by original Alice Cooper musicians Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway, life-long manager Shep Gordon, various other players in the story like Alice’s mum and wife and the man himself, Super Duper‘s focus is the years up to 1986 when Cooper made his glorious televised comeback on Halloween in Detroit. The tale is a typical one of a young band developing an act, struggling to find an audience before becoming megastars and spiralling into addiction but the unique production and the engaging narrative – not to mention that it’s about one of the greatest showmen of all time – sets it apart. Super Duper Alice Cooper is another very worthy film from the Banger team.