Alison Hell

Album: Alice in Hell (1989)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a girl who thinks she is being terrorized by an evil spirit. She asks her parents for help, but when they ignore her pleas, she slowly goes insane.

    The song is based on a true story about a girl in Montreal who was in the news in the early '80s. In a Songfacts interview with Jeff Waters of Annihilator, he explained: "She had a mental disorder and her parents would lock her in her room because she was waking up with these nightmares about the Boogeyman and things like that. And the parents did this for a few years. The kid was really young, and she went into some kind of full-on mental breakdown and had to be institutionalized.

    I read that and for some reason, as a teenager, I thought that was neat. Looking back it obviously wasn't, but it became our biggest song."
  • Alice in Hell was the first album by the Canadian hardcore band Annihilator, and it was funded by a Factor Grant, which the government provided for bands that they are starting off in an effort to help developing acts in Canada. The album title is a joke on "Alice in Wonderland." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Cody - Kansas City, MO
  • Annihilator guitarist Jeff Waters wrote this song with John Bates, who was the group's original lead singer. He left the band in 1985, but stayed in touch with Waters and occasionally wrote with him. He later recorded as a solo artist using the appellation "Big John Bates."
  • The song takes a sardonic look at Alison's true story, but the band understands that it is a serious subject and has empathy for her plight. At the beginning of the video, they disclaim: "Annihilator wish in no way to implicate those involved in this particular incident; merely to portray a speculation of evolving psychological events. This song is narrated by Alison's progressing insanity."

Comments: 3

  • John Bates from VancouverDon’t listen to the fake John Bates! I’m the real one!
  • John Bates from VancouverThis story is patently untrue. I wrote the lyrics myself and it was inspired by a difficult relationship I was going through. I used metaphors liberally throughout but there was no unstable girl in Montreal.
  • Ozzy Osgood from St. Petersburg, FloridaWho was the actress playing Alison in the video?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Grammar In Lyrics

Grammar In LyricsMusic Quiz

Lyrics don't always follow the rules of grammar. Can you spot the ones that don't?

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Brandi Carlile

Brandi CarlileSongwriter Interviews

As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.

Movie Stars In Music Videos

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.

Song Titles That Inspired Movies

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up Musicians

Into The Great Wide Open: Made-up MusiciansSong Writing

Eddie (played by Johnny Depp in the video) found fame fleeting, but Chuck Berry's made-up musician fared better.