Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984)

“Voyage of the Rock Aliens” is certainly an oddity. Conceived as a spoof of various genres of b-movies, Curb Records got involved and turned it into a vehicle for many of their musicians. A production team was assembled that included people who’d worked on films such as “Dr. Strangelove,” “A Hard Days Night,” “Star Wars,” “Deadly Blessing,” “Staying Alive,” and “Swamp Thing,” amongst others. Not a shabby crew. The result is a completely off-the-wall low budget movie populated with actors who weren’t really actors and featuring beautiful visuals, an offbeat production design, catchy songs… and a completely random music video with Jermaine Jackson that was synthetically (and confusingly) inserted into the film as an afterthought.

The story concerns a group of aliens who come to Earth and find themselves strangers in the even stranger land of Speelburgh, which is filled with greasers, kooky cops, psycho serial killers, and a slimy sea monster. It’s there that one of the aliens (Tom Nolan) falls in love with an aspiring singer (Pia Zadora). But will these starcrossed lovers sing and dance their way across the universe? Or will her jealous greaser boyfriend (Craig Sheffer) stand in their way?!

There’s something so endearingly tacky about the whole thing that it’s downright charming in the way so many similar cult movies are (“Rocky Horror,” “Beach Party,” “Xanadu,” “The Apple,” “Earth Girls Are Easy,” etc). The characters are quirky and unique (Spyder Mittleman and Patrick Byrnes are both particularly noteworthy for their campy performances), the songs and dances are as ’80s as it gets, there’s more seemingly random WTF moments than you can shake a stick at, and it seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun screwing around and devouring the scenery.

The problem is the film is not very well known. It barely saw any theatrical distribution in the USA before being unceremoniously dumped on video five years later, and I can’t find any evidence that it ever played on cable (though it did in Canada). In Europe it had a slightly more substantial release since Pia Zadora’s music was popular.