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  Voyage of the Rock Aliens Never Fear, Pia Is Here
Year: 1984
Director: James Fargo
Stars: Pia Zadora, Craig Sheffer, Tom Nolan, Ruth Gordon, Michael Berryman, Alison La Placa, Gregory Bond, Craig Quiter, Patrick Byrnes, Marc Jackson, Jeffrey Casey, Jimmy Haddox, Marshall Rohner, Jeffrey Cranford, Troy Mack, Peter Cullen, Jermaine Jackson
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Science Fiction, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: This robot 1359 (voiced by Peter Cullen) is seeking an appropriate planet for the crew of the flying V guitar-shaped spaceship to investigate, and after dismissing a few choices it takes a closer look at Earth where he observed a couple of rival gangs who were pitted against one another since Dee Dee (Pia Zadora) felt a romantic attraction to Rain (Jermaine Jackson), in spite of being on different sides. There was a big fight which 1359 thought would be worth a project, and so reanimated the crew, led by ABCD (Tom Nolan). They were only too keen to get down to the surface and find out more...

Though what they did find out had nothing to do with Jermaine Jackson: if you were wondering where he had gone or indeed what that opening five minutes had to do with the rest of the movie, that can be explained by the year this was released being the same as the one he and Pia Zadora had a hit with When the Rain Begins to Fall, and they wanted to shoehorn the video into this somehow. Actually, the way the rest of this played out was as a musical comedy with kitschy science fiction elements, which made it sound like a precursor to Earth Girls are Easy, which it did resemble to an extent, though that was assuming anybody much had seen this little item.

The history of its distribution is a murky one, but it was the fourth and final attempt to make a movie star of Pia before she found her music career more successful, not that she needed the money being married to a multimillionaire who was funding her tries at stardom, much to the derision of audiences (although John Waters confessed he was a fan, which is why she's in Hairspray). By this stage, what few people who wanted to see a vehicle for Pia were not numerous enough to justify a wide cinematic release for Voyage of the Rock Aliens, that in spite of it probably being her most enjoyable move as leading lady.

It was no masterpiece of course, but as part of that love the eighties had for the pop culture of the fifties it was a surprisingly breezy example, with all the brightly-hued accoutrements that decade brought to the party. If Troma had deigned to make a musical in 1984, it would have looked a lot like this, although they would likely have gone overboard with intentional bad taste whereas all the bad taste here was unintentional (or so you had to assume). The plot is merely an excuse to hang a bunch of pleasingly catchy numbers on, so we had just about every set of characters getting their chance in the limelight, though Michael Berryman fans would be let down to see he didn't sing, though he did get to play a maniac with a malfunctioning chainsaw.

Pia did get to sing however - a lot, and now the grumblings about her backing had died down it was possible to see she could have been an Annette Funicello for the eighties if her movie career had been managed better. With common concerns to that decade such as pollution (which has created a tentacle monster in the nearby bay) and just how garish your fashion choices should be, we watched Craig Sheffer as Dee Dee's boyfriend take umbrage about her new interest in ABCD, as meanwhile everyone apparently tries to hook up with everyone else - there was even a scene where the alien leader's female attracting device goes wrong and he disappears under a mound of the male cast members. Sheffer got a song to mime to as well, where he prowls around with a wildcat while stripped to the waist, looking uncannily like Bruce McCulloch from The Kids in the Hall performing a spoof. Needless to say, this was screamingly camp, entirely disposable and very silly, but it was fun. Embarrassing to admit perhaps, but fun.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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