OCTOBER 23, 2010
There are many puzzling choices made over the course of Monster Dog's 84 minutes, but none more than the decision to dub Alice Cooper's voice with some other guy. Alice is obviously speaking English, and to his credit, the dubber does a fantastic job of syncing up his words to Alice's mouth, but the guy SOUNDS nothing like Alice Cooper or any sort of rock star whatsoever (Alice plays a shock rocker). He actually kind of sounds like Mike Brady, so I could hardly focus on anything he said, because I kept picturing Robert Reed and then laughing.
But then you realize that writer/director Clyde Anderson is actually none other than Troll 2 legend Claudio Fragasso, and somehow it all makes sense. Logic and coherency are not welcome on this man's movie sets. That's why when a girl gets attacked, her friends all instantly leave her alone while they go investigate. Or when a man pops out from behind a bush and grabs one of them, someone shouts "Who are YOU?", because that is what anyone would say to a possible mugger, right? And who else but Claudio would end the film on the same (terrible) music video that it began with (copied below in lieu of a trailer), despite it having zero to do with the plot (and being one of Alice's worst songs ever, and I've heard Special Forces).
I also love that the dog pack is comprised of several different breeds. You'd think that they'd all be the same, and sort of wolf like, but no, there are German shepherds, labs, dobermans, boxers... I imagine they just rounded up all the dogs they could find and turned the camera on. There's an attack scene late in the film where one dog clearly has no interest in pretending to eat this poor sap, so it just stands there looking around.
There's also a moment that in any other movie I would think it was a sight gag, but with this crew it has to just be a dumbass/lazy decision. Alice pulls out a dusty old book about werewolf legends, and flips it open... to an illustration of Lon Cheney as the Wolf Man. It's a standard moment in these sort of movies, but usually they flip to woodcut images and the like. Not Claudio! Speaking of cheap props, what the hell kind of music video shoot is this? There's no crew, only what I assume is Alice's band, and they film it themselves with a dinky video camera that would barely be suitable for home movies? Isn't he a big star in this movie's world?
As for Alice's acting, well, it's kind of hard to tell with everything he says being dubbed. His wardrobe is also a bit suspect - why is ANY rocker, let alone one loosely based on Alice himself, wearing a white knit sweater at all times? But Alice just looks bored (and a bit like Gabriel Byrne) for most of the movie - he seemed to be having much more fun in Suck or even Freddy's Dead. Or maybe he was just tired from trying to understand the story; I sure as hell couldn't figure it out (were there TWO "Monster Dogs"?). And like I said, that opening/closing song is one of his worst ever, though the other isn't too bad for the period. It's certainly better than the other music in the movie, which sounds like The Buggles covering Goblin.
But as these things go, it's certainly an entertaining way to spend 84 minutes. There are a lot of kills (plus a lengthy dream sequence in which everyone dies), a random group of thugs who show up and shoot our heroine for no reason, some decent gore, a baffling conclusion where we barely see the monster's demise, and a fog machine overload that even James Wan circa Dead Silence would find excessive.
Speaking of the fog, this film was oddly given one of the best transfers I've seen on Netflix Instant, but it's got a long way to go before it can figure out how to process fog (or wateer/rain, snow, etc). All of the actors and the sets look really great, but the fog "skips" and suffers from compression. In the (few) non-fog scenes I could have been fooled into thinking I was watching a DVD, but the compression just couldn't keep up with something that was constantly moving like that. They're getting there, though! Keep reaching for your rainbow, Netflix!
What say you?