Rock and the Alien (1988) poster

Rock and the Alien (1988)


USA. 1988.


Director/Screenplay/Producer/Songs – Denis Adam Zervos, Photography – Bud Gardner, Music – Paul Francis Witt, Makeup – Tyler Smith, Art Direction – Jeff Glickman. Production Company – Denis Zervos/Omega Entertainment/Herculean 1.


Denis Adam Zervos (Tyler Upshaw), Tamela Glenn (Lazer), Henry Coleman (George), Harry Sando (Ritto), Gregory Harvey (Feeder)


Tyler Upshaw, a rock singer in New York City, is sick of playing fleabag bars and tells his crime boss manager that he quits. In the street, he meets Lazer, a woman who says she is from another planet and has been searching for him for 212 years to give him a gift to stop violence in the world. They become lovers and afterwards Tyler finds that she has imbued him with a special frequency that is released and pacifies people when he sings. As he goes on tour, violence in the country goes down 80%, but an East-West nuclear war escalates. As he sets out to stop the war by writing a song that will be broadcast worldwide, a creature from her planet that feeds on the dark side of the soul arrives, determined to stop him.

The most incredible thing about Rock and the Alien is not its idea that rock music will save the world, or even its B plot that runs like a rock’n’roll remix of The Terminator (1984), but that any alien would choose the awful sub-Springsteen music of would-be Man of the Masses, the film’s director/writer/producer/songsmith/actor Denis Adam Zervos, to spread its message.

As his own lead actor, Zervos’s lack of expressiveness is just one of the funny things about the film – “Love feels like a hard-right cross to the stomach, all the air sucked outta you – that’s love,” is his most articulate offering. Songs with lyrics existing solely of “I’m going to sing to you because I love you” are another of the film’s eloquent point. Other scenes watching Zervos sitting in a bath more concerned with trying to make the lines in his song rhyme than actually writing about nuclear war only keep up the hilarity.

Then again if one was an alien like Tamela Glenn, who acts with eyes wide-open, merely like a more spaced-out version of a party girl, then such a choice probably seems quite logical. Their bonking scenes are more laughable than interesting in the way Zervos’s camera focuses on the details of the synthesizers and cruises up the rather phallic looking guitars in the background of his dimly lit apartment. Nor does the film seem fit to answer where it is that she goes when she isn’t around, how she gets her clothes or how she has survived on Earth for 212 years.

A thoroughly tedious film, lacking even any conviction in its atmosphere, let alone keeping up interest by the time it arrives at the showdown with its laughable monster, which merely consists of a man in a plastic mac and a monster mask. The film even holds a plug in its end credits for Michael Dukakis for President (who unsuccessfully ran against George Bush as the Democratic nominee in the 1988 US Election).

Rock and the Alien is a very obscure film that hardly anybody has heard of – nobody else on the web has reviewed it, for instance. Director, writer, producer and star Dennis Adam Zervos made his debut here and went on to make the equally obscure likes of Romeo: Love Master of the Wild Women’s Dorm (1995), Space Freaks from Planet Mutoid (1995), Skippy (2001) and The Shore (2005).

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