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?