Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Overviews. The purpose of this review isn’t to say whether a movie is good or bad and worth picking up or not – I’d like to highlight records that go the extra mile and provide moviegoers with enough tasty treats to satisfy even moviegoers. the hungriest. With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on vinegar syndromethe exit of Voyage of the rock aliens.
Vinegar Syndrome’s Halfway to Black Friday sale in late May included the announcement of two surprise titles. One of those, terribly afraidfit right down the aisle of Vinegar Syndrome, but there was a second title that left some, myself included, scratching their heads: Voyage of the Rock Aliens. A forgotten low-budget musical from the mid-80s? In my article detailing my Halfway to Black Friday collections, I said, “a lot of that 1984 movie doesn’t appeal to my senses.” It would be fair to say that I was somewhat skeptical.
And this skepticism was justified. I inserted the disc and, while not hating the movie, I found myself not enjoying the movie as much as I wanted to. I’m not sure I understand the plot, but it’s the story of aliens coming to Earth, finding love and the lunatics who live here while singing many tunes along the way. And sing they do. Unfortunately, musicals aren’t one of my favorite movie genres, so Voyage of the Rock Aliens is not a film that corresponds to my sensibility. If you like cheesy 80s movies and a good dose of musical numbers, Voyage of the Rock Aliens maybe right up your alley. For me, some of the music was catchy and the supporting role of Michael Berryman made me laugh, but ultimately it’s not a movie I would choose if I didn’t have a subscription to the vinegar syndrome.
As usual with vinegar syndrome, the version comes with a thick cardboard cover. The case features a reversible sleeve with the cover artwork on one side and an alternate artwork on the other. As I tend to do, I flipped the cover over to the reversible artwork because it differentiates itself from what the cover offers, allowing all the artwork to shine.
On the additional material side of the release, Vinegar Syndrome included a lengthy making-of documentary, “Embarking on a Voyage: The Making of an Alien Dance Rock Opera”. The documentary is a five-part, 40-minute making-of covering the film from its initial conception to its current re-evaluation. Although only a handful of cast and crew appear, there is plenty of behind-the-scenes information for Voyage of the Rock Aliens Fans. Highlights for me include a story told by Michael Berryman about the dangerous use of a chainsaw during a scene in the film and the attempts to get the opening title sequence right. The runtime is wall-to-wall with other informative goodies handed out to those who need to understand the film’s intricacies.
The other bonus feature, “Where Are They Now: Reuniting the Rhema Band in the 21st Century”, is a long featurette with members of the band, Rhema, seen throughout the film as the titular Rock Aliens. Vinegar Syndrome compiles an interview of almost 50 minutes with the band Rhema. Members Jeffrey Casey and Marc Jackson record together while Craig Quiter and Gregory Bond are filmed separately. The latest member, Patrick Byrnes, offers his thoughts on this featurette via audio only. The band members get together to discuss the birth of Rhema, how they came to produce Voyage of the Rock Aliensand the aftermath of their group since the film’s release.
Each member of Rhema offers their thoughts and opinions, though Casey and Jackson dominate much of the execution. Not to say it’s a bad thing. Casey and Jackson work well at bouncing memories and thoughts off each other, creating an entertaining dynamic that alternates between information and self-mockery. All members of Rhema bring a lot of information about the production and the musical history from the point of view of their group. While “Where Are They Now” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s an entertaining and funnier-than-expected history lesson for a forgotten movie and the band the production employed.
There’s no trailer on the disc, and while it’s not essential, I still feel like something is missing. It’s on YouTube, so it’s not a big loss, it just would have rounded out the package nicely.
And There you go! Coming out of vinegar syndrome Voyage of the Rock Aliens reminded me of Shout! Factory release of Teen Wolf. When looking at the additional material, you can assume the release is loosening up. Looking at what Vinegar Syndrome cooked up, the two extra features were long and well crafted – probably more deserving than the movie deserves. I may be the wrong person to recommend Voyage of the rock aliens. It didn’t strike me, but there are a lot of people out there who I’m sure will love the movie. Vinegar Syndrome has gone above and beyond to bring fans of Voyage of the Rock Aliens or the fans who haven’t yet discovered what to smile about. I would recommend the disc if you are familiar with the film or the idea of an 80s nerdy musical is something that excites you. If that’s something that makes you shake your head, this version isn’t for you; to each his own.