Monster Dog (1984) Retrospective

SUMMARY
Vince Raven (Cooper) is performing in the music video for his new song, “Identity Crisis.” Later, Vince, Vince’s girlfriend Sandra, and Vince’s film crew drive to Vince’s old childhood home to shoot a music video.

While waiting for the crew, Jos, the caretaker of the house, prepares a welcome home party for Vince. He is interrupted when he begins hearing strange noises. After searching around the house, he walks outside to find a pack of wild canines growling outside his door. The canines outnumber him and attack him.

The next morning the crew continue their drive to the house. Along the way, they run into two police officers, Sheriff Morrison and Deputy Dan, who are standing at a barricade. The police warn the crew that there has been another “attack”. After the crew leave, the sheriff and his deputy are both killed by the Monster Dog in the woods.

The drive comes to a halt when Vince hits a German Shepherd with the van. The crew cannot stand to watch it suffer in pain, so Vince puts it to rest by killing it with a large rock. While the crew mourns the dog’s death, an old man in blood-stained clothing attacks them. He warns them that they “will all die”, except for Vince. The old man then runs into the woods. Vince and Sandra chase after him to get him to a hospital.

When the crew finally arrives at the house, Jos is nowhere to be found. Vince is worried about what happened to Jos, so he takes a shotgun and searches around the house. While the crew waits for Vince to return, they discover the food for the party. After searching the house, Vince gives up and wanders into a room where he discovers a book about werewolves.

Later that night Angela has a nightmare that the bloody old man murders everyone in the house. She runs from him and tries to get to Vince. She finds him reading a book in a rocking chair, his back toward her. She slowly walks up to him from behind until he gets up, revealing that he is the Monster Dog. Angela wakes up screaming and the crew tries to calm her down. She tells them about her dream and how Vince was a “werewolf”.

Vince is later found reading in the same rocking chair as in Angela’s nightmare. Sandra comes to talk to him, and he tells her the story of his father’s death. He says that his father had lycanthropy (the werewolf curse) and that he was blamed for many deaths. He was stabbed with pitchforks, doused with gasoline, and burnt alive.

The next day, the crew decides to begin filming their next music video for Vince’s song, “See Me in The Mirror”. Angela is dressed as a bride and Vince sings to his reflection in a mirror. As Angela walks down the stairs, she notices the shadow of a body that is resting against the upstairs window. The light outside flashes and the body crashes through the window. It is revealed to be Jos’s corpse. Angela leaves the house in shock while the others search the roof to find out what happened. Vince runs after Angela as a mysterious car pulls up to the house.

The four armed men con their way into the house and quickly overpower the crew. They wait inside until Vince and Angela return. As they try to come in, one of the men shoots and kills Angela by mistake, forcing Vince to escape.

Vince heads to the roof where he has a shootout with some of the armed men. Meanwhile, a pack of wild dogs break into the house and attack the crew and one of the armed men. Sandra and Marilou run upstairs, with the dogs chasing them. Strangely the dogs become calm when Vince appears, allowing them to get to the car. Because the armed men had the keys, they have to go back and get them, leaving Marilou in the car alone.

Vince and Sandra return to the car with the keys after another run in with a gunman. As they drive off, Marilou’s corpse falls on Sandra and the Monster Dog attacks Vince from the back seat. Sandra jumps out and hears the car get destroyed with the sound of a gunshot. She finds the old man, who tells her about how he was attacked by Vince’s father, which resulted in him becoming a “lycanthrope”. The old man dies after telling Sandra that he has bitten Vince and that Vince will now become a werewolf. Sandra leaves to find Vince, who tells her to kill him before he turns into a werewolf. As Vince begins his transformation into the Monster Dog, Sandra shoots him.

BEHIND THE SCENES/INTERVIEWS/Alice Cooper
DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION PART II: THE METAL YEARS, Alice Cooper, 1988. (c)New Line Cinema/Cou

Monster Dog. How did you get involved in that?
Alice Cooper: Well I get like 10 scripts a week from people that want me to do movies, and I got this one that was going to be like three months in Spain, and about a million-dollar budget. And I said great, because I didn’t want to do a heavy budget movie. I said if I do one of these I want to make sure it’s sleazy. I want it to be really cheap. I said ‘How many people do we get to kill in this?”

You played your largest film role as Vince Raven  .
Alice Cooper: I was so out of my comfort zone on that. I had just gotten out of the hospital and told my manager Shep that I had to find something that would let me prove to myself that I could work sober. I had never done a concert sober, never  done anything. He said, “What if we take  a movie?” And we found that movie in Spain.

That must have been a different experience for you.
Alice Cooper: I knew I had to show up at 7 in the morning and know my lines. I had to film every day and I was the romantic lead, which was weird for me. I really challenged myself. I wanted to make the kind of movie I like to rent. Really a great C-movie. I don’t like A- movies or B-movies. I wanted to do a C- movie where there’s so much blood in it.

“It didn’t have much of a plot, laughs Cooper about the Spain lensed film. “It was basically just an excuse to see how many peopie we could kill. There was so much blood flying around that cameramen ended up having to wear raincoats. I end up having my shoulder ripped off by this monster mechanical dog. It was a real gas to do.” Bitten with the acting bug, Cooper was subsequently offered other scripts with horror content, some of which he is still considering. “There were some really bizarre things.”

You’re a regular Rambo in that movie.
Alice Cooper: Yeah, I wipe out everybody. But I mean it was totally for fun. They told me it would never get released in the movie houses, and I said, “Great. It should just be one of those movies you can rent at the video place.” And they said that’s what it would be, so I did it.

Did they pay you well for that?
Alice Cooper: Oh yeah! I got a lot of money for it. I think I was the biggest part of the budget.

Claudio Fragasso
Claudio Fragasso

You directed your next horror movie without Mattei: Monster Dog, starring Alice Cooper
Claudio Fragasso: Producer Eduard Sarlui had seen Rats, called me into his office and said, “You’ve made a movie with rats, now make me a movie with dogs!” It’s not a joke, that’s how it went. Then he told me that the star would be Alice Cooper I was overjoyed; Alice was and is a legend to me, and I’ve always been a big fan of his. Meeting Alice was exciting. He was the exact opposite of the evil rock icon he represents on stage — a cultured man, reserved, even shy. No star tantrums, unlike many others. Like all true artists, he prevailed with great humility. Alice is a great lover of horror films and literature. I am happy to have been the first to have him as the protagonist in a horror movie back in 1984.

Is it true that producer Carlos Aured actually directed most of that?
Claudio Fragasso: No. Not at all. After it was done, he changed a lot of it in the editing. Unfortunately, now it’s another movie. Monster Dog had all their gore removed! Can you believe this? What is the point of cutting all the horror out of a horror movie? The film was much more extreme. Now all is cut, Monster Dog especially. The best parts of Alice’s transformations! I was more than angry.

Carlos Aured
Carlos Aured

“Cooper was the total opposite of how we tended to imagine him in those days,” Aured recalls. “I went to meet him at the airport and failed to recognize him! He was wearing white slacks and a jumper, looking like an Englishman dressed for cricket! He didn’t give us any problems. He only made two ‘demands’ to have a supply of cold Coca Cola on set and a VCR in his hotel room so he could watch old Western movies; he was crazy about Westerns. On weekends, he used to playing golf.” – Carlos Aured

Monster Dog was shot in five weeks in Torrelodones, Spain. Fragasso stated that the special effects caused a lot of delays while filming. The special effects shots were all shot in the last week, this included creating a large puppet head for the monster which broke on the first scene it was used in. This led to the screenwriters to re-write part of the script to make use of the puppet without being able to operate it.

cdm5

CAST/CREW
Directed
Claudio Fragasso

Produced
Eduard Salui

Screenplay
Claudio Fragasso
Rossella Drudi

Story
Claudio Fragasso
Rossella Drudi

Alice Cooper as Vincent Raven
Victoria Vera as Sandra
Carlos Santurio as Frank
Pepa Sarsa (credited as Jose Sarsa) as Marilou
Pepita James as Angela
Emilio Linder as Jordan
Ricardo Palacios as Sheriff Morrison
Barta Barri (credited as B. Barta Barri) as Old Man
CREDITS/REFERENCES/SOURCES/BIBLIOGRAPHY
earofnewt
Gorezone#32
Fangoria#163
Fangoria#189
Fangoria#307

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