Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scorpion Releasing/Kino Lorber - MONSTER DOG on Blu-ray ""

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Scorpion Releasing/Kino Lorber - MONSTER DOG on Blu-ray

MONSTER DOG (1984; Claudio Fragasso)
MONSTER DOG is notable for a couple reasons. First (and foremost), it stars heavy metal icon Alice Cooper. Second, it is from the director that brought us the cinematic glory that is TROLL 2. We all know TROLL 2 now for having a reputation as one of the single worst movies ever made. It was even the subject if that delightful documentary BEST WORST MOVIE. So when you hear that another movie was made by the same guy, it sets up certain expectations (or perhaps lowers them).
Alice Cooper plays a rock star named Vincent Raven (nice), who is returning to his creepy family home after years away to shoot his latest music video. Unfortunately, he picked a bad time to come back as the town has been beset wild dog attacks - a scenario that had played out when Vincent was young and resulted in his father's demise. So that's the setup and it plays out kinda like you'd expect it to. It's still interesting to watch and not nearly transcendently bad like TROLL 2. It's biggest flaws weak writing and a slow pace. And the dubbing. What it does have though is atmosphere to spare and I enjoyed that about if. 
There's something about Italian horror movies like this one that makes them almost hypnotic to watch. For one thing, they are often dubbed (as this movie is) so that gives everything this extra added layer of weirdness. Dubbing is an interesting practice and one that I've always found to be both offputting and strangely compelling at the same time. I can't even explain why, but watching actors speak with voices that are often obviously not their own feels like watching possessed people talking. Like they are being inhabited by some other being that is puppeting them. It feels especially this way in horror films. And when an actor has a voice you know and are familiar with, as with Alice Cooper in this film, it's all the more odd. That combined with Italian sensibilities makes for something that is just a bit off. It's like some Italian directors saw the same old American horror films that influenced a lot of filmmakers, but to then see that material filtered through them makes for some screwy stuff. It's like the characters are saying a lot of similar lines to the ones that would be in an American film, but it just comes out different. It's about behavior or something. It's strange and fascinating to watch. Plus, this movie has killer dogs and (eventually) a monster canine and  I'm a sucker for that kinda thing. Also, the movie opens with a Vincent Raven music video for a song called "Identity Crisis", which is funny. I've included the video below for your enjoyment.
The transfer on this disc looks pretty good. I remember catching this movie on MGM HD years ago and being kind of shocked that they had bother to make an HD master for it, but they clearly did and that may possibly be the source for this transfer.

Special Features:
-"Lord of the Dogs" - a 43-minute featurette about the making of MONSTER DOG, featuring interviews with director Claudio Fragasso, screenwriter Rossella Drudi & executive producer Roberto Bessi. It's rare that a movie like this should get such a lengthy piece dedicated to it, so this offers a nice picture of the crazy circumstances that led to the finished movie.
-Deleted and Alternate scenes - about 14 mins of them are included here.

MONSTER DOG can be purchased on Blu-ray here:
http://amzn.to/1pFtuo7

1 comment:

Creepy Glowbugg said...

You know you're in trouble when Alice Cooper is the only recognizable star of an Italian horror film.
I was so excited to finally watch this film about a month ago. I was surprised that I hadn't already seen it considering I've been an Alice fan since the early 80's and a horror fan as well. The dubbing was very off putting as were Alice's musical numbers. Such a bad film all the way around, but I did manage to stick with it until the end. Now I can say I've seen it, but little else is left to be said.