It’s really hard to find anyone who does eighties neon pop surrealism like Empire Pictures. If you want to soak in everything about the decade from the bright colors, weird synth music and massive hair, look no further than films like “Terrorvision,” “Bad Channels” and or “Vicious Lips.” Your experience with Albert Pyun’s rare cult film may vary depending on your love for the decade, but sans the nostalgia goggles, it’s only a moderately entertaining experience that it limitless in its oddities. Something of a mixture of “Rock and Rule,” “Jem and the Holograms,” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Albert Pyun throws so much imagery at the audience and there’s never any kind of substance soaked up.
It acts mostly like a music video when it tries to be a musical, as our characters break in to random songs, and everything is treated with such monotony. Our female band the Vicious Lips just jump on a space ship one day thanks to their weasely agent Matt like it’s nothing. One moment they’re trying out a new lead singer for their group when their old one dies, and the next moment they’re being chased by cannibalistic desert dwellers that look like the brain eaters from “Return of the Living Dead.” “Vicious Lips” centered on a group of four very frizzy and largely haired women as they travel around space performing rock and roll through various clubs including Maxine’s Radioactive Dream, a very notable venue. After their lead singer ditches the group for a rival rock band, the trio of ladies begins looking for a new singer.
Just in time, their manager Matty, finds a new singer named Judy Jetson who is granted a make over and made a part of the band. No, really. Renamed Ace, Judy has to prove herself among the new band mates, all of whom don’t have a lot of confidence in her as a performer or singer. They then venture out in to space on their space craft to perform at the nightclub Maxine’s Radioactive Dream, but crash land on a desolate planet. There they’re terrorized by a tribe of monstrous cannibals, all the while hoping to perform for Maxine and settle the tensions and mistrust among their group. There’s also singing, and probably a budget that spent a lot on hairspray. There are dream sequences, and long instances of space ships floating through the cosmos, and so much pointless nudity.
Midway Matty gets the help of two scantily clad women (Jacki Easton Toelle and Tanya Papanicolas) who lure him to their home. Meanwhile there’s a razor toothed minion of the desert planet who is watching the women preparing to strike at any moment. It’s all so nonsensical and unusual, but oddly entertaining. I certainly had a hard time diverting my attention from the film, especially during the second half where it attempts to get cerebral on us. “Vicious Lips” is really just a movie about a rock band trying to prove themselves and play a big club. There are just a lot of genre elements and unusual settings tossed in that make it a little more unique and weird. I liked “Vicious Lips” even though it left me watching most of the time with a look of sheer bewilderment, and I suggest it mainly for folks that want to dip in to the eighties and find something completely different from the typical genre offerings.