Vicious Lips (1986) — Rocky Horror meets Star Wars

“You’re just like her. Little girl on the outside, shark on the inside. Cute.”

Justin’s rating: Yeah, so I’m still listening to the soundtrack. I have no shame.

Justin’s review: I know what you’re thinking. “What, ANOTHER movie about interstellar female rock ‘n’ roll glam bands trying to make it big with even bigger hair?” We’re practically drowning in them in 2022, but in 1986 they were something of a rarity.

An early Albert Pyun flick, Vicious Lips tells the rise of the eponymous band. On the eve of their big shot at stardom among the stars, the band loses their lead singer Ace. Their sleazy manager recruits a substitute named Judy Jetson (because that’s the kind of movie this is), but the group faces a difficult journey to get to the planet where their gig is planned to take place. Think “crash landing on Tatooine,” “hungry cannibals,” and “escaped serial killer” kind of difficult, and you’ll have some sympathy to the girls’ predicament.

I hope you like smash cuts in the middle of scenes, loads of facial close-ups, and the most outlandish fashion 1986 had to offer, because it’s not like Vicious Lips is an Oscar contender that got overlooked. It’s a jumble of ideas, some fun songs, extremely choppy editing, bad acting, and a kind of neat cyberpunk motif.

A scifi Rocky Horror is an idea worth merit, but Pyun isn’t quite up to ripping off this movie’s inspirations to any degree of competence. It’s campy and the music is kind of a blast, but the untapped potential is pretty significant here. And once the band crash lands on a desert world, the pacing slows down to a virtual standstill as the girls just fart around on the spaceship for way too long.

Also, the girls of Vicious Lips don’t get much in the way of personalities — and when you have hair that outrageous, you need an attitude to match. Or maybe you don’t, because it’s not like Jem and the Holograms were brimming with memorable characteristics. Sometimes you simply show up for the empty style and flash.

Seeing as how it never got a release until 2012, Vicious Lips is hardly a movie that anyone can claim to remember. But discover? Sure, that may be in the cards. Even though it’s just as messy as the most slapdash Pyun flick, there’s something so sincere and glam about this outing that it’s hard to outright dismiss it.

Didja notice?

  • Digging the neon opening credits
  • If you try to peep in on these girls, you’re going to lose an eye
  • Do their guitars have bug zappers attached to the end of them?
  • The spaceship model is pretty nifty
  • As are the occasional alien designs
  • “Aloha”
  • How many times this movie says the word “gig”
  • No electron showers! Even though they do look pretty funky…

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