In 1986, Alice Cooper officially returned to the music industry with the album Constrictor. The album spawned the hits "He's Back (The Man Behind the Mask)" (the theme song for the movie Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives; in the video for the song Cooper was given a cameo role as a deranged psychiatrist) and the fan favorite "Teenage Frankenstein". The Constrictor album was a catalyst for Cooper to make a triumphant return to the road for the first time since the 1981 Special Forces project, on a tour appropriately entitled The Nightmare Returns. The Detroit leg of this tour, which took place at the end of October 1986 during Halloween, was captured on film as The Nightmare Returns, and is viewed by some as being the definitive Alice Cooper concert film. The concert, which received rave reviews in the rock music press, was also described by Rolling Stone magazine as bringing "Cooper's violent, twisted onstage fantasies to a new generation". The Constrictor album was followed by Raise Your Fist and Yell in 1987, which had an even rougher sound than its predecessor, as well as the Cooper classic "Freedom". The subsequent tour of Raise Your Fist and Yell, which was heavily inspired by the slasher horror movies of the time such as the Friday the 13th series and A Nightmare on Elm Street, served up a shocking spectacle similar to its predecessor, and courted the kind of controversy, especially in Europe, that recalled the public outrage caused by Cooper's public performances in America in the early 1970s.
In Britain, Labour M.P. David Blunkett called for the show to be banned, saying "I'm horrified by his behaviour – it goes beyond the bounds of entertainment". The controversy spilled over into the German segment of the tour, with the German government actually succeeding in having some of the gorier segments of the performance removed. It was also during the London leg of the tour that Cooper met with a near fatal accident during rehearsal of the hanging execution sequence that occurs at the end of the show.
Constrictor and Raise Your Fist and Yell were recorded with lead guitarist Kane Roberts and bassist Kip Winger, both of whom would leave the band by the end of 1988 (although Kane Roberts played guitar on "Bed of Nails" on 1989's album Trash).