Alice Cooper was my first-ever concert. I saw him play when I was still a wee baby-child in grade school, with my dad at an old drive-in theater in Northern Michigan. We couldn't afford tickets, so my dad parked on the grass just outside the fence. We stood on the roof of the cab of our truck, the huge summer night sky full of stars, and watched Alice Cooper's nightmare unfold—a world of pyrotechnics, fake blood, and headless baby dolls. I remember telling my dad that I really liked the "Scary Man," and then I asked why he was wearing mascara like Mom. He played the 1972 anthem "School's Out," and even so young, I got it, and I loved it.
Super Duper Alice Cooper (yes, that's what it's really called) is a worthy trip down nostalgia lane. Instead of the typical rock-doc VH1 Behind the Music format—with talking heads and people "who were there"—the story is mostly told with old photographs and archival film footage. And some of the old photos are magical—early images of a skinny high-school art nerd, still named Vincent Furnier, who moved from Detroit to Phoenix in the early 1970s to grow his hair out and start a band. Furnier, the once-straight-edge son of church pastor, and his degenerate-lookin' long-hair band (first called the Earwigs, then the Spiders), didn't know how to write proper songs, but they did discover that wearing weird clothes and bringing live chickens onstage would get 'em lotsa hype. Upon moving back to Detroit, Furnier ate blotter acid one night and asked a Ouija board for a name, bringing to life the theatrical character of Alice Cooper.
There are photos of the wisecracking, eye-makeup-wearing quote machine with Frank Zappa, Johnny Carson, the Muppets, Fred Astaire, and the one-and-only Kentucky Fried Colonel Sanders... Then about halfway through, the film becomes less about the band and more about Vince, errr, Alice—his celebrity/icon status and personal rise/fall/redemption tale related to booze and drugs. The Scary Man becomes the Sober Man, trades in his cocaine, and starts playing golf. There's also a kinda corny Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde narrative you should probably just ignore.
You do learn that Alice Cooper/Vincent Furnier is actually a good dude, a good dad, and a consummate showman who lived a mostly excellent life, sailing musically through the hippie 1960s, the stoner-rock 1970s, into the 1980s to his present role as the godfather of both shock and glam rock. School's been out for a long time, to be sure, but Alice Cooper is still forever.