Welcome To A 1970s Rock’N’Roll Nightmare

12th September 1975: Shock-rock singer Alice Cooper, real name Vincent Furnier, singing live on stage at Wembley Empire Pool. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Is it just me… or was pop culture allowed to be weirder in the ‘60s and ‘70s? Not necessarily better (although, let’s be honest, it was that, too), but weirder… This Friday, September 9th, Eagle Rock Entertainment is putting out 1975 ABC TV special Alice Cooper: The Nightmare on DVD for the very first time… The special features Alice Cooper performing vignettes of each of the tracks from his recently-released solo debut (Welcome To My Nightmare) in the role of Steven, a perpetually haunted young boy, with Vincent Price playing the role of The Spirit Of The Nightmare… The hour+ special plays like a cross between Faerie Tale Theatre, The Muppets, and a Vegas revue for the Interim Dark Lord (There is tap dancing, folks… glow-in-the-dark tap dancing, at that…)  Although much of it is quite laughable, there is something thoroughly creepy about the sincerity with which such camp is approached and is still likely to creep out this generation of youngsters up past their bedtime and late-night basement stoners (And to be fair, it does include some of the Coop’s best mid-‘70s work, such as “Only Women Bleed,” “The Black Widow,” and “Steven.”)

The Nightmare comes, courtesy of Eagle Rock, alongside the far-more-widely-available Welcome To My Nightmare feature film, documenting Alice Cooper’s 1975 tour, over the course of two nights at Wembley Arena, on what has been dubbed Welcome To My Nightmare Special Edition, featuring the midnight-movie-favorite concert film as the headlining act.  Although many die-hards would likely dub this Cooper’s “wuss period;” despite the graveyard, frolicking skeletons, and mega-spiders (dead babies and guillotines were removed to make room for the choreography and direction of David Winters, best known for his role in West Side Story, before Cooper would once again return to both the avant-garde and metallic shortly after), it proves to be quite a satisfying display of camp, more akin to Rocky Horror or Hedwig than anything to be found on network television… And even the PG-edit of Alice Cooper proves to be a pretty brilliant Rock’N’Roll spectacle, especially if… Well, you’re in the state in which you normally showed up to midnight movies…