Voyage of the Rock Aliens

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Voyage of the Rock Aliens
Voyage of the Rock Aliens Poster.jpg
Directed by James Fargo
Bob Giraldi
Written by Edward Gold
James Guidotti
Starring Pia Zadora
Craig Sheffer
Tom Nolan
Ruth Gordon
Michael Berryman
Alison La Placa
Jermaine Jackson
Music by Jack White
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Release dates
  • 1984 (1984)
Running time 97 min.
Country United States
Language English

Voyage of the Rock Aliens is a 1984 film directed by James Fargo. It stars Pia Zadora and Craig Sheffer.[1]

Plot[edit]

A guitar-shaped spaceship and Robot 1359 (voiced by Peter Cullen), search the universe for the source of rock and roll music. He finds it on Earth. 1359 wakes the crew to visit the planet. A rocket telephone booth lands in the town of Speelburgh and ABCD (pronounced "Absid") (Tom Nolan) with his group of aliens exit. The humanoid aliens force robot 1359 to take the form of a fire hydrant. Only the Sheriff (Ruth Gordon) witnesses their landing, and she becomes obsessed with alien invaders.

Dee Dee (Pia Zadora) is a singer in high school who is in love with Frankie (Craig Sheffer), the leader of Speelburgh's local high school rock band, The Pack (Jimmy and the Mustangs). She sings of her heart's desire to best friend Diane (Alison La Placa). Dee Dee's dream is to sing with the band; Frankie loves her but doesn't want her to sing with them. Meanwhile, a giant creature with tentacles lives in nearby Lake Erie, a product of environmental pollution, and it periodically extends its arms throughout the town.

As the aliens, played by the rock band Rhema, search the area, they encounter Dee Dee, Frankie and The Pack at the local maltshop. Absid literally loses his head over Dee Dee (i.e. he explodes and needs to be put back together by his crew) and decides to win her heart. Meanwhile, his cohorts search for specimens such as flowers, leaves and cow chips. STUVWXYZ (pronounced "Stovitz") (Patrick Byrnes) stumbles across the path of two crazed mass murderers, Chainsaw (Michael Berryman) and The Breather (Wallace Merck), who recently escaped from The Speelburgh Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

Feeling dejected by Frankie's refusal to let her sing, Dee Dee succumbs to the charms of Absid, who asks her to be the singer of his band at the Heidi High Cotillion Dance and Battle of the Bands. Frankie and The Pack arrive at the school to keep the aliens out... but they can't stop them because of the aliens' powers: they teleport into the bathroom through the toilets. Dee Dee finally gets her chance to sing at a battle of the bands between the aliens and The Pack, with the very jealous Frankie furious that Dee Dee has switched sides.

Absid and Dee Dee sneak off to the lake. While the tentacled creature searches the banks, Absid tries to convince Dee Dee to fly back to his planet. Hesitating, she agrees to visit the ship, but discovers once there that she'll have to give up all human emotion to live on the alien's planet.

Meanwhile, Diane encounters Chainsaw at the high school. The crazed killer intends to make her his next victim, but his rusty chainsaw breaks down. Love blooms as Diane helps Chainsaw fix his chainsaw.

Bolting back to her true love, Frankie, Dee Dee finds him cornered in a school hallway by the Breather. Frankie manages to fend off his rival, only to be attacked by the monster from the lake, which has gotten loose and surrounded the school with its tentacles. With his chainsaw now repaired, Chainsaw rescues everyone.

In the end the aliens board their ship and Absid decides to leave the humans "a little alien persuasion." He fiddles with the buttons in the booth and clears away all of the town's pollution. He also turns the brutal Pack into a group of boy scouts. The creature leaves town, the skies clear, flowers bloom and Frankie and Dee Dee sing and dance into a smogless sunset.

Cast[edit]

Songs[edit]

  • OpenheartedReal Life
  • When the Rain Begins to FallJermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora
  • 21st CenturyRhema
  • New OrleansNeil Sedaka with Gary U.S. Bonds
  • Real Love – Pia Zadora
  • Bobbie AnnMichael Bradley
  • Back on the Streets3 Speed
  • JustineJimmy & the Mustangs
  • That's Life – Rhema
  • You Bring Out the Lover in Me – Pia Zadora
  • Always – Real Life
  • Combine Man – Rhema
  • Little Bit of Heaven – Pia Zadora & Mark Spiro
  • She Doesn't Mean a Thing to Me – Mark Spiro
  • Come On – Jimmy and the Mustangs
  • Trouble Maker – Jimmy and the Mustangs
  • Let's Dance Tonight (Medley) – Pia Zadora, Jimmy & the Mustangs, and Rhema
  • Get Out and Dance – Rhema
  • My World Is Empty Without YouJohn Farnham & Rainey Haynes
  • Nature of the Beast – Michael Bradley
  • Before the Jupiter EffectCliff Sarde
  • When the Rain Begins to Fall (reprise) – Pia Zadora & Jermaine Jackson
  • End Credits Medley (Let's Dance Tonight, She Doesn't Mean a Thing to Me, Justine, Back on the Street, 21st Century)

Production[edit]

The original script by James Guidotti, Attack of the Aliens, was conceived as the ultimate b-movie spoof. "It's a little like sitting home and watching TV late on a Saturday night, all the while switching channels from 5 to 9 to 11 and to 13," Guidotti explained.[2] "On channel 5 they're airing an old Beach Party movie; on 9 one about alien invaders; on 11 a film about a mad, homicidal maniac on the loose; and on 13 a rock 'n roll program." When Guidotti's script was spotted by executives at the production company Inter Planetary Curb, Vice President of Development Edward Gold[3] and consultant Charles Hairston polished the script, turned it into a musical,[2] and the film went into production under the title Attack of the Rock 'n' Roll Aliens.[4][5]

Pia Zadora was first cast as a result of her previous work on stage and screen.[6] With Zadora attached to the film, they began fleshing out the cast. The Frankie character sings two songs in the film, but producers wanted someone with acting experience, so Craig Sheffer was offered the role, which he chose over a TV series, another film and the Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy (the latter of which he took after Rock Aliens had wrapped).[7] Sheffer initially had another theory as to why he was cast: "The funniest part is that I thought they hired me for my long hair," Sheffer revealed.[8] He and other cast members were in for a rude awakening when the filmmakers sent them to the barber shop.[8][9] Similarly, Tom Nolan was chosen to portray alien leader Absid based on his acting background rather than singing abilities.[9]

Then-president of Curb Records Dick Whitehead needed a techno band for the film and learned of Rhema through an acquaintance.[10] Whitehead, star Pia Zadora and their entourage flew to Arizona to hear the band play, and they were quickly cast in the film.[10] After scoring poorly on a screen test, Rhema bassist Bobby Freeman was not asked to participate in the film.[9]

Principal production of the film took place in Atlanta, Georgia for 9 weeks in 1983.[9] Outside scenes were shot in downtown Fairburn, Georgia. In these outside scenes many extras were local Fairburn residents including the members of the Fairburn Volunteer Fire Department.[citation needed]

In April 1984, Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson headed to Italy[11] aboard Zadora's personal jet[12] to shoot a music video for their duet When the Rain Begins to Fall. Although the song already appeared in the movie (with Sheffer lip-synching Jackson's part), the plot of the music video had absolutely nothing to do with the film, and there was an entirely different cast and crew, it was decided that the video would be tacked onto the end of the film.[11] Ultimately, the filmmakers wound up synthetically injecting the music video into the film as part of the opening sequence.

The production is also notable for having as its cinematographer Star Wars Director of Photography Gilbert Taylor.

Soundtrack[edit]

A soundtrack album was released by Curb Records in 1984. The cover of the album downplays the film in favor of the hit single When the Rain Begins to Fall, prominently featuring Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora. Many of the songs heard in the film are not on the album and numerous songs have different arrangements. In many countries, the album was released on vinyl and cassette; in Germany it was also issued on CD.

Original Soundtrack Album
  1. When the Rain Begins to FallJermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora
  2. Little Bit of Heaven – Pia Zadora & Mark Spiro
  3. Real Love – Pia Zadora
  4. Nature of the BeastMichael Bradley
  5. Let's Dance Tonight – Pia Zadora
  6. Back on the Street – 3 Speed
  7. OpenheartedReal Life
  8. She Doesn't Mean a Thing to Me – Mark Spiro
  9. 21st CenturyRhema
  10. JustineJimmy and the Mustangs
  11. My World Is Empty Without YouJohn Farnham & Rainey Haynes
  • Zadora's missing song from the film, You Bring Out the Lover in Me, appeared on her album Let's Dance Tonight, which also included alternate versions of most of her songs from the film.[13] When the Rain Begins to Fall was also released as a vast array of singles and remixes.
  • Neil Sedaka's New Orleans was released on his album Come See About Me,[14] and several singles of the song were released which cited both his album and the film.
  • Cliff Sarde's Before the Jupiter Effect was released on his 1983 album Every Bit Better.[15]
  • The additional songs from the film by Jimmy and the Mustangs (Come On, Trouble Maker, Let's Dance Tonight), Michael Bradley (Bobbie Ann) and Rhema (That's Life, Combine Man, Get Out and Dance, Let's Dance Tonight) were never issued.

Home video[edit]

The film was released on VHS in the USA and Japan in February 1988 by Prism Entertainment.[16][17][18]

In the UK it was released on VHS by Raven Home Video in 1997.[19]

In 2005, the movie was issued on DVD in the UK by Moonstone Pictures.[20] Fans have complained about the quality of this release, which appears to be transferred from video.

In 2009, the film was issued on DVD by Alive/CMV Laservision in Germany.[21] Subtitled "Let's Dance Tonight," this version features a very clear full-screen print with German and English audio options, as well as the theatrical trailer and alternate opening/ending scenes. Although it's the same version as that released in the USA, the film runs a few minutes shorter as a result of PAL speedup.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Iotis. "Voyage of the Rock Aliens > Overview". AllMovie. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  2. ^ a b "S. James Guidotti: Writer" (Press release). Inter Planetary Curb. 1984. 
  3. ^ "Edward Gold: Co-Writer/Co-Producer" (Press release). Inter Planetary Curb. 1984. 
  4. ^ Scott, Vernon (October 16, 1983). "Poor Pia Zadora: 'I'm Not a Joke'". Hutchinson News. 
  5. ^ Legend, Johnny (March 1984). "Pluto Speaks: Michael Berryman, star of 'Hills Have Eyes 2', talks about his career as a master of menace". Fangoria: 27. 
  6. ^ "Production Information" (Press release). Inter Planetary Curb. 1984. 
  7. ^ "Sheffer: A New Face for TV, Stage and Screen" (Press release). Inter Planetary Curb. 1984. 
  8. ^ a b "Craig Sheffer: The Best Way to Play Comedy Is Straight" (Press release). Inter Planetary Curb. 1984. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Crag Jensen and Marc Jackson (page 2)". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Jensen, Craig. "Rhema Bio". www.zehmaloim.com. Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Pia: A New Idea". Syracuse Herald American. April 22, 1984. 
  12. ^ Stewart, Susan (September 12, 1984). "Jackson Maintains Silence as Brother 'Explains' Pia". The State. 
  13. ^ "Pia Zadora – Let's Dance Tonight (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Neil Sedaka – Come See About Me (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Cliff Sarde – Every Bit Better/Waiting". Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Voyage of the Rock Aliens release dates". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Voyage of the Rock Aliens VHS". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Voyage of the Rock Aliens Japanese VHS". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  19. ^ "The Voyage of the Rock Aliens [VHS]". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  20. ^ "The Voyage of the Rock Aliens [DVD]". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Voyage of the Rock Aliens". Retrieved July 31, 2010. 

External links[edit]