"At one point he had me on a leash. I told him he shouldn't be afraid to jerk me around": For Alice Cooper, working with horror legend Vincent Price on his 1975 TV special The Nightmare was an absolute scream

Alice Cooper and Vincent Price
(Image credit: Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

When Alice Cooper and producer Bob Ezrin were mulling over who could voice the role of 'The Curator' on Cooper's debut solo album Welcome To My Nightmare, they hit upon a minor problem: almost everyone they initially considered for the role was dead.

"We wanted a voice that was absolutely undeniable, and all of a sudden we went, Vincent Price!" Cooper recalled in 2018, speaking to Planet Rock magazine. "No-one in our group knew him, and we also were wondering whether he would do something like this. We had our doubts. But we got in touch and told him what the project was, and he said, 'When do you want me there?' He comes down to the studio, and we were expecting this great dramatic actor who, aside from the horror stuff, is capable of all the big roles. But he walks in, and he's one of us!"

When Cooper's management approached ABC television with the idea of making a conceptual TV special based around the album, they were able to talk up Price's involvement in the project as an indication that this would be a music special like no other. The actor was cast for the part of the 'Spirit of the Nightmare', and when shooting commenced in Toronto, he proved to be a most willing collaborator in pushing Cooper's macabre vision of a kid trapped in a nightmare from which he cannot escape to the American public.

"At one point he had me on a leash - I was the kid he was showing around - and he'd ask things like, 'Should I be really aggressive?' I told him he shouldn't be afraid to jerk me around. We worked very well together."

Price's enjoyment of Cooper's company later led him to guest onstage with the Godfather of Shock Rock when Cooper took the ...Nightmare album on the road. Some years later, the actor would make another cameo with another musical icon, adding a spoken word outro to Michael Jackson's global smash hit single Thriller, and making a cameo in the song's award-winning video. This was no coincidence, Jackson would later tell Alice Cooper that his Thriller album was actually partly inspired by Welcome To My Nightmare, so Price's involvement was a no-brainer.

Watch Cooper and Price hamming it up below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.