I adore Pia Zadora. Nothing you say to me will ever change my mind. Pia could go on a murder binge and it’d only make me love her more. She could start a sweatshop, perpetuate the opioid crisis and make fun of Lucio Fulci movies and I’d still cut her a break. She’s everything wonderful and joyous about the 1980’s. At around 15 minutes into this film, she shows up in red leather pants and cutoff sleeve Union Jack shirt while a sea monster menaces the beach, belting out a tune and it was all I could do to not explode in pure joy.
To create a movie about aliens who have come to Earth to discover the power of rock and roll, of course you would turn to James Fargo, the director of Clint Eastwood’s The Enforcer and Every Which Way But Loose.
Somewhere in space, Robot 1359 has the same voice as Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and is leading a crew in search of the origin of rock ‘n roll, which takes the entire crew to Earth. That’s where Dee Dee (Pia!) sings all about her love of Frankie (Craig Sheffer, Aaron Boone from Nightbreed) to her girlfriend Diane.
The aliens — led by ABCD (Tom Nolan, who was once the child star Butch Bernard and was the writer who reported the phrase “don’t fuck with the formula” in an article about Mike Love and The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone) — land in Speelburgh, a fact only noticed by the sheriff (Ruth Gordon!).
Dee Dee’s dream is to sing with Frankie’s band, The Pack. ABCD gets a dream too — to win over Dee Dee, who makes him lose his mind to the point that his head blows up. And oh yeah — there are two serial killers on the loose, Chainsaw (the ever-wonderous Michael Berryman) and The Breather (Wallace Merck, who was in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives and Super Mario Brothers). The band Rhema plays most of the aliens while Jimmy and the Mustangs are The Pack.
None of this movie makes any sense whatsoever. And it’s awesome. Imagine a series of music videos with Pia Zadora dancing on top of planets and wearing some of the most mindbending science fiction outfits ever in a world that seems perpetually stuck in the 1950’s as filtered through the lens of the early 1980’s. If that sounds like perfection, good news. We’re gonna be best friends.
Now, you may be wondering — why the hell did this movie start with a music video for Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson singing “When the Rain Starts to Fall?” It has nothing to do with the rest of the film, appearing to be an Italian post-apocalyptic movie. I can only assume that this decision came about as all movie decisions were arrived upon in 1984. Cocaine. Glorious, glorious cocaine.
Needless to say, this movie enjoyed an incredibly limited theatrical release in the United States and a somewhat wider one in Europe. It made it to a Vestron Video VHS and occasional HBO viewings four years later, but then disappeared off the face of the Earth, other than in Germany, where it’s had numerous releases on DVD and blu ray.
I got my copy of this from VHSPS. Be warned — if you come to my house and ask me to pick a movie, chances are I’m going to make you watch this while I sing its songs at extreme volume.