Holy Christ, I don’t even know where to begin. Before I attempt to dig into this meatball, I must state that the absolute worst part about this movie is Pia Zadora and that carp-mouthed bellowing she passes off for singing. I do not understand how this foul dwarf achieved fame, and the fact that she was a sex symbol at one point is revolting to me. The only thing slightly more disgusting than Zadora's Penthouse spread would be the prospect of a Yeardley Smith sex tape.
In my search to discover how she achieved her fame, I trolled the extensive pop culture knowledge of good friend Gerard Cosloy of sports blog Can't Stop The Bleeding. This is what I got in response to my question, "just who the fuck does Pia Zadora think she is?":
"Pia Zadora was a z-list actress with a zillionaire, aging husband. In one of her first movie roles (Butterfly), she won a Golden Globe for "best newcomer" award despite a shitty appearance in a film no one saw. Her husband [had] wined and dined the voters on his yacht. For years the award was cited as evidence that the Golden Globes had no credibility. Over time, she kind of became a running joke -- frequent punchline on
, etc. She used the notoriety to her advantage, taking on commercials that played on her ditzy/no-talent image. Later in life she was cast in one or two John Waters movies in small parts. She was sort of the Paris Hilton/Kardashian of her era in that she was famous for being famous for being famous for sucking. However, because she took the abuse with considerable grace (keep in mind this was before blogs and Twitter) she actually fashioned something close to a favorable public reputation despite no one actually remembering any of her work." Carson
Ah, Mr. Cosloy drops the mortar with the bricks here. I can finally start to put this thing together now. Unfortunately a lot of sources that detail Zadora's career neglect to mention factoids such as her husband's income bracket. Anyway, onto "Voyage of the Rock Aliens."
This hernia-inducing box of “what the fuck” opens with a Flying-V shaped space craft cruising through outerspace while blasting "Openhearted" by Real Life. I see this, and I’m kind of thinking, “Fuck yeah! This is alright! I can get down with this!” At the helm of the ship, a robot pilot scans nearby planets for some sign of life. He gets a hit and looks through the scope to see this:
It’s a post apocalypse-themed music video for the Jermaine Jackson song “When The Rain Begins to Fall” featuring Pia Zadora! I'm freaking out, about to have an aneurysm of joy, thinking, "holy shit, Jermaine is the leader of an apocalypse motorcycle gang, and he's going to have to fight aliens -- this is going to be the most amazing thing I have ever seen!" But then the video ends and so do my hopes and dreams of this being a truly amazing experience. Sadly, this is not a set up for the whole movie, even though it SHOULD HAVE BEEN! It was right under their noses. Unfortunately, the video was actually shot after this movie was filmed and later tacked for the release, so I can't really point fingers at anyone for missing the boat.
The Robot scans another planet, which is far less promising than the previous. Pia’s here too for some reason, but instead of Jermaine she’s backed by some horrible Stray Cats rip-off by the name of the Pack. Throughout the duration of the movie, all I can think is that this would have been a much better movie had it featured the Pack from Germany.
So, the ship’s occupants, a bunch of Devo wannabe’s by the name of Rhema, decide that this must be the place and quickly beam down in a phone booth, ala Bill and Ted. Once there, they wind up clashing with the strict regime of the Pack and their domineering manager Frankie, played by Craig Sheffer. Pia, who also happens to be Frankie’s girlfriend, soon catches the eye of the Rhema’s leader, and sparks fly. There’s not much in terms of plot, but the dancing and singing comes in relentless, two-ton slabs throughout the course of this bottom of the barrel sci-fi spoof, and it all ends without much of a conclusion.
Bottom line, this is a wretched effort. I can't call it bad because its intentions to be a campy tribute to 1950s drive-in culture are very apparent. They're trying to make a "good-bad" movie. However, they fail at the good. In fact, there is virtually no good about this movie. Bad can redeem itself -- it can even contain goodness. The humor is not good. The actors seem uncomfortable. The production value looks below sitcom scale. The bulk of the music, which isn't even rock, is merciless in its abundance and illogically littered throughout the film. What little story there is gets continually sacked by terrible, out-of-nowhere dance numbers. This wasn't really so much a viewing for me as it was a suffering. I felt a wide range of emotions while enduring this thing, from violent impatience to sadness. However, there was one scene that saved me from the brink of meltdown. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Craig Sheffer.
This is so bad it's fucking amazing! This is a mighty kraken in a virtual sea of "whatever!" The funniest thing about this is that the song itself is fucking awful. It's so bad that at first I thought it must really be Craig Sheffer singing it, but then I learned that HE ISN’T! Sheffer is actually lip syncing to the song which is performed by Michael Bradley of Paul Revere & The Raiders, which actually might make it twenty times more amazing than it was.
The only things really worth visiting from this film are the “Nature of the Beast” number as well as the “When The Rain Begins to Fall” video, which was basically inserted into the film after it was shot. The song actually does appear later in movie, with Sheffer lip syncing to Jermaine’s part while he and Zadora piss all over the fourth wall.
Originally the film was not written as a musical. In fact, it was intended to be an ultimate homage to b-movie culture. The premise of a town crawling with supernatural activity is a warm and fuzzy one, and was more likely intended to come off like the fantastic cult comic “Creepsville.” But the common tragedy of producers with bright ideas and little creativity struck hard here, and it was their hand that sewed a colostomy bag filled with the pungent influence of 1978’s “Grease” to the back of this mess. Ultimately, this thing is a top to bottom atrocity. Sadly, this was also Ruth Gordon’s last film – a sour note to go out on. Michael Berryman also provides a glimmer of decency as an escaped lunatic. Still there’s not much that will redeem this experience.
Here’s the theatrical trailer, though this movie didn’t really get a theatrical run.