How Acting in a Horror Movie Flop Helped Alice Cooper’s Sobriety

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Early sobriety is a trip.

Ask anyone who has been down the path of recovery before and they’ll tell you just how fucked up and psychedelic those first few months away from drugs and alcohol can be. For someone coming off of a serious chemical dependency, recovery means learning to walk with a new set of legs, see through a new pair of eyes, and experience reality with a newly unfiltered mind. It’s a beautiful process, but it can also be quite terrifying.

“Godfather of Shock Rock” Alice Cooper is no stranger to these trials and tribulations. Suffering from an intense physical dependency on alcohol in the late 1970s, Cooper committed himself to the sanitarium at Cornell Medical Center for treatment. Although his experience served as inspiration for one of his most important albums, From The Inside, Cooper relapsed within a year.

Alice Cooper was once again hospitalized in 1983, this time with cirrhosis of the liver due to acute alcoholism. When he was finally released, Cooper wanted to start small and see if it would even be possible for him to work sober. This resulted in him taking the leading role in Claudio Fragasso’s euro schlock masterpiece of failed werewolf fiction, Monster Dog.

Cooper spoke about the experience in a 2011 interview with Fangoria:

FANG: You played your largest film role as Vince Raven in the 1984 Euro-B-movie Monster Dog.

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.

FANG: That must have been a different experience for you.

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’s stupid, and the story is stupid. I had to do it sober, and it worked. I am very proud to say I am in two of the all-time greatest turkeys: Monster Dog is one of them, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the other one.

Alice Cooper has remained sober since.

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