The film kicks off with people desperately trying to get into the Graffiti Club, where MOR rock band Cherry Suicide are playing a sold-out gig.

The band perform an energetic song with their blonde singer Nicole (Margaret Currie) bouncing all over the stage, much to the thrill of the young New Wave audience.

However the fun is cut short when Nicole's psycho ex-boyfriend Ivan (Graham Smith, TRICK OR TREAT) starts a fight. The one good thing to come out of this is that it pushes New Romantic Martin (Garth McLean, JOHN) into pretty young Samantha (Katherine Harrison) - literally.

Martin takes Samantha back to his place and they start to talk, revealing that Samantha lives with her sister Nicole. During their conversation, Martin and Samantha become very good friends.

Meanwhile, back at the club, Ivan breaks into Cherry Suicide's dressing room backstage and gets violent with Nicole when she refuses to take him back.

The following day, Martin tells his best friend - blind street beggar Wally (Steve Boles, CHERRY FALLS) - how he has fallen for Samantha. Wally encourages Martin to pursue her, advising that "you never find love when you go looking for it, love finds you".

At the same time, Samantha confides with Nicole her feelings for Martin.

That night, Martin takes Samantha on their first date - to a rock club to watch a band perform live.

When Samantha returns home that evening, she saves Nicole from another violent attack from Ivan by bashing him over the head with a bottle. Finding a stash of money on his person, the girls resolve to go on the run before Ivan regains consciousness. They plan on getting a taxi and travelling down south.

Nicole wants to take her band's guitarist Curtis along for the ride, hoping they can make more money by gigging along the way. Samantha insists on taking Martin along, and they set off to find him.

As luck would have it, Martin and Wally are in a spot of bother with some petty thieves who left a valuable stolen ring with Wally a day earlier but now want it back - so when Nicole and Samantha turn up in their taxi, the two men are more than happy to join the road trip.

The taxi takes this motley crew as far as Virginia, where Curtis buys a clapped-out old van from two potheads for the remainder of the journey.

From then on, the journey gets wackier as the van breaks down, the group are forced to spend the night in a seriously odd motel, Ivan makes tracks to catch up with Nicole, Cherry Suicide plan to play a gig at a Christian Fair and ... Martin and Samantha consummate their relationship.

ROCKIN' ROAD TRIP was made by William Olsen (THE HAUNTED PALACE; GETTING IT ON) for a measly $20,000. It looks cheap too, and its amateur cast don't exactly lift it out of the pratfalls of no-budget filmmaking.

But, having said that, there is an energy to this that is oddly endearing. The performances, while ropey, are spirited enough to be enjoyable and the script - by Olsen and Nancy Sterling - is refreshingly clean in it's humour, eschewing the crudeness of the teen comedies popular in the 80s. It's sweet, almost.

There's a decent, albeit dated, soundtrack throughout the movie too, which lends a further kick to the already manic pace. And while the film may not be overly attractive (Olsen is no Kubrick), it at least tells its story with precision and wit.

Oh, and don't be put off by the link to Troma in the opening credits - this is not a vulgar display of, er, vulgarity. They merely picked the film up for distribution after it was made.

VCI have given ROCKIN' ROAD TRIP very respectable DVD debut.

The film is presented uncut in it's original full-frame ratio. The picture isn't the sharpest, and the colours do seem quite washed out, but other than that it's a largely clean print that's been given a decent transfer.

The English mono audio track holds up better than the video quality, offering a solid loud track throughout.

Attractive animated menus include a scene-selection menu allowing access to the movie via 18 chapters.

Extras begin with an interesting 22-minute video interview with Olsen. He looks comfortable as he sits in a garden on a sunny day, chatting casually about the film. He's an affable guy with a decent memory.

"Photo Featurette" is a 10-minute montage of behind-the-scenes stills, complemented by a commentary track from Olsen. He reveals, among other things, how the film was originally entitled SUMMERTIME BLUES but that had to change due to legal wrangles.

A 4-page Olsen biography follows.

Finally, we get trailers for GETTING IT ON, SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS and HOMEWORK.

An interesting artefact from the mid-80s, perhaps not to everyone's taste. If it's inoffensive, mild comedy you're looking for with a distinct look and sound of the era that borne it, then this may do the trick.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by VCI
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review