It was the decade when every bad movie had its chance to shine on VHS…and these flicks still failed. Here’s my first triple feature of 80s b-movie cult trash!
VOYAGE OF THE ROCK ALIENS (1984)
I can barely contain myself when it comes to Voyage of the Rock Aliens. This sci-fi comedy musical is the epitome of 1984 and deserves a Blu-ray release, or at least a DVD.
It fricking opens with Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora playing new wave bikers and singing their classic “When The Rain Begins to Fall.”
On top of that, a bunch of cute aliens comes to Earth to the town of “Speelburgh” to discover the source of rock n’ roll music. But considering this is 1984, they’re going to get a bunch of Devo knock-offs instead! And naturally, one of the aliens is going to fall for Pia, who already has a bad boy boyfriend….
Voyage of the Rock Aliens has Craig Sheffer looking his hottest gay best as he gyrates in leather (and less) while lip-syncing, Ruth “Minnie Castavet” Gordon as a sheriff, a giant sea monster tentacle puppet lurking in a lake of hazardous waste, and horror icon Michael Berryman as a chainsaw wielding escaped convict.
Plus, Pia dances and sings her way through most of the songs from her 1984 synthpop album “Let’s Dance Tonight”…including a number featuring backup dancers in bathroom stalls with Craig Sheffer doors.
Every bathroom in every gay club in the 80s should have had those doors.
In fact, that pic might have to join the poster already in my Dan Cave bathroom of Maxwell Caulfield in Grease 2.
SCHOOL SPIRIT (1985)
School Spirit is bottom of the barrel 80s sexploitation crap. It’s the kind of movie a teenage boy in the 80s (me) would watch on cable dozens of times because it’s loaded with boobies (not me), but it’s not particularly fun or funny. And the only real familiar face in the film is that of Major Frank Burns from M*A*S*H.
Cutie Tom Nolan (who happened to be the main alien in Voyage of the Rock Aliens) is a college student who runs out to buy a condom to have sex with his girlfriend. He gets into a car accident, dies, and becomes a ghost that has the ability to be a totally living human when he wants and to turn into your usual invisible ghost when he wants. Talk about getting hard on command. Awful.
He spends the rest of the movie trying to score with his girlfriend, checking out naked girls in the showers, and planning a big party with his college buddies. Now that’s an afterlife. He also has a pervy ghost uncle who’s trying to get him to go into the light.
The entertainment at the big dance party comes courtesy of new wave band Gleaming Spires, best known for their song “Are You Ready for the Sex Girls.” Also entertaining is the muscle hunk riding a water slide in his speedo.
NOT OF THIS EARTH (1988)
The Not of This Earth remake is the landmark moment when Traci Lords went legit as the main girl in a sci-fi/horror film. It opens with a classic horror setup—a couple parked in the woods having sex in their car. A man in black appears and takes them out. Then we get a self-serving (but awesome) intro montage of scenes from other 80s films by producer Roger Corman.
The man in black is actually an alien vampire who needs blood for his planet, so he goes to a doctor for medical attention…actually hoping to score transfusions. Traci Lords is the nurse and ends up coming to live in his house to “care” for him. The live-in house boy, played by adorable and funny Lenny Juliano—who is my favorite part of the movie—tells her never to go in the basement. So…you know what that means.
Meanwhile, the man in black continues finding victims for sustenance. But this is no fang vampire. He drains victims using his white alien eye lasers. This is where the film fails to be as good as the original film. The man in black in the original was just more menacing and creepy.
In fact, considering the man in black preys mostly on shirtless women, the movie is mostly about boobs instead of blood, and the only two suspenseful “scary” scenes of women being terrorized are lifted from other Roger Corman produced films! Still, what this remake lacks in horror it makes up for in its campy sci-fi throwback charm, including a perfect sci-fi horror score, Traci Lords in a chase scene at the end, and even Kelli Maroney of Night of the Comets in a small role.