Tim Burton Recreates The Look of Original Alice Cooper Band for Dark Shadows Film Cameo

Alice Cooper Dark Shadows
Alice Cooper with Dennis Dunaway Clone to his Left

It’s not exactly a secret that singer Alice Cooper has a small part in the new Tim Burton film version of the 1970s Gothic TV Soap Opera Dark Shadows. What I didn’t know until I saw the film yesterday is that it’s not just Cooper but the entire original band called Alice Cooper that’s recreated for several scenes taking place during a ball at the Collin’s family mansion, Collinwood. For these scenes, Alice fronts a group of actors who mime to the band’s hit “No More Mr. Nice Guy” as well as the fan favorite “Ballad of Dwight Fry” from 1971’s Love It To Death. I must say that Burton did a terrific job of casting actors who look remarkably like original band members Glen Buxton, Mike Bruce and Dennis Dunaway (see photo above). And while the actor playing drummer Neal Smith is mostly hidden behind Alice during the performances, at least he appears to have Smith’s trademark long blond hair.

Worleygig.com has learned from a source inside the Alice Cooper camp that the concept of giving the audience an authentic, 70s-era Alice Cooper Band experience is owed not just to Tim Burton but also primarily to Johnny Depp (who must be a fan) and Burton’s team executed it beautifully, and as well as they could given the infinitesimally brief amount of screen time given to anyone other than Alice. It is certainly a deserved homage to one of the most innovative and enduring American bands of the seventies. What makes this story even more interesting though is the fact that Cooper’s former band mates (who were all inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011) apparently had no idea they were being represented in the film. Apart from being aware that Alice had a cameo in Dark Shadows, drummer Neal Smith told me on the phone that Alice hadn’t offered him any details on the part and that he was hearing about the entire original band being represented in the film for the first time from me. One might think that with the Hall of Fame induction last year, Cooper would consider that having their likenesses portrayed in a major motion picture would be newsworthy to his former band mates. But then again, why would he. Overall, I really loved the film, even though I was expecting to be disappointed, and thought the Alice Cooper band bits were lots of fun, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” being my favorite song from the original band and all. it Have you seen Dark Shadows? If so, what did you think?

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8 thoughts on “Tim Burton Recreates The Look of Original Alice Cooper Band for Dark Shadows Film Cameo

  1. I ended up loving the film for the most part. The end was way over the top tho. Loved the overall music score and the popular songs that dotted the soundtrack, nights in white satin, top of the world…I think the original Alice Cooper group would have been appropriate for the BALL scene as original cast members, Lara Parker, Katherine Leigh Scott, David Selby and Barnabas himself, Jonathan Frid, appear very quickly in that sequence. All those faces kinda lump together in a cheery late 60s-early 70’s gallery of ghouls sort of way…Charming movie anyway.

    • Thanks Christopher for your comment! I really had my eyes peeled to see the cameos from original cast members but somehow managed to miss them. I will have to try again when the DVD comes out! — G

  2. I am of very mixed minds about this whole film from the get-go. I was a huge Dark Shadows fan back in the day, and from what I’m gathering about this remake it is sort of a comic twist sort of deal. I want SCARY, CREEPY Dark Shadows. And then to find that there’s this Alice Cooper Group scene without the actual members of the original GROUP…well, seems to me someone could’ve made a phone call to Neal, Dennis and Michael to get the real deal in the movie… Call me a curmudgeon, but that’s my feeling…

  3. I got scared when I saw the comic trailer. But when I saw the movie and realized that it was a genre hopping Burton picture I really loved it! Lots of references to the soap opera (as starting with the train ride of Vicky). I didn’t think the Dennis, Michael, Glen and Neal where much alike. They had like the hair and stuff but there are a lot of differences between a concert movie from the ’70s or this scene. I guess it was too expensive to recreate the 5 members to their younger selves for just a few minutes of screen time. Though would have been cool if they did…

  4. This isn’t completely related, but last night’s Cougar Town finale had two references to Alice Cooper – the joke being that when Jules cried with make-up on, she looked like Alice Cooper and was “Coopering.” Haha, I thought of the Gig!

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