VOYAGE OF THE ROCK ALIENS
WHEN THE RAINS BEGIN TO FALL
Voyage of the Rock Aliens is a film that sees science-fiction as no more than the sum of its imagery robots, spaceships, New Wave costumery and hairstyles. All of this is only there for a dumb and entirely predictable level of comedy for instance, the ships robot disguises itself as a fire hydrant, whereupon there are predictable gags about it getting peed on by dogs. The film revels in a dumb slapstickery the antics of the aliens, clearly modelled on 70s nerd rockers Devo, are so bizarrely awful as to be fascinating. Not to mention there is a random melange of competing elements a mutant tentacle monster in the lake, chainsaw-wielding maniacs escaped from an asylum, musical numbers at regular intervals that seem mainly there to keep the plot moving whenever the audiences attention is in danger of flagging. There are a number of bland pop songs from bands that nobody had heard from then and ever did again.
The film was one of the starring efforts of Pia Zadora, a 5 actress who had first appeared as a child performer in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). As an adult actress, Zadora had a breakout with the erotic film Butterfly (1982), which had her winning both a Golden Globe as Best New Star and a Golden Raspberry in the same year. She appeared in a mere handful of films, all of which had her performances critically trashed, and for a time during the 1980s developed a minor career as a pop singer. Seven months after Voyage of the Rock Aliens was released in the US, Zadora had a Top 40 hit in a duet with Jermaine Jackson, brother of Michael, with the song When the Rains Begin to Fall (1984), which reached No 1 in some countries (the only chart-topping hit she ever had). Thus the video-clip for the song has been edited in at the beginning of the film. The film was retitled When the Rains Begin to Fall in some parts of the world to capitalise on the songs fleeting popularity, even though such a title and the sequence has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film.
Amid the rest of the cast, there is a young Craig Sheffer in his feature film debut and looking his pouty meanest. The film also criminally wastes a wonderful actress like Ruth Gordon, the work of art from films such as Rosemarys Baby (1968) and Harold and Maude (1971). Gordon took the role on at age 88 she died the following year, although did go on to make two other films and has about five minutes total screen time in a wholly irrelevant role as the sheriff.
Voyage of the Rock Aliens was the sixth directorial outing for James Fargo, previously an assistant director for Clint Eastwood and on several early Steven Spielberg films. Fargo made his directorial debut with the Dirty Harry film The Enforcer (1976), followed by the Eastwood comedy hit of Every Which Way But Loose (1979).
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