The Cheezy Flicks motto seems to be to bring you the best of the worst and with 1977’s SuperVan they have outdone themselves! This isn’t so bad it’s good as much as so bad you can’t believe it!! And I loved every damn insane, pointless, exploitative, WTF moment of it! Okay, enough exclamation marks. Truth is, most people are going to be bored stupid, turned off by the bad acting, the lack of storyline, the nonsensical direction (and I use the word direction with some hesitation) and the slowness of things. BUT, for those true connoisseurs of trash, this is a true gem, a turd that no matter how well polished will always stay brown but one you’ll notice doesn’t smell half as much as you first thought.
The story revolves around vans, customized vans, lots of them. Oh and CB radios because hell they were cool too in 1976 so why not throw them in as well. See, there’s this big van show called Freakout 76 and our hero, small town boy Clint (Mark Schneider) is going to try and win the big prize, five thousand smackeroos, for best van. Only on the way to the event he comes to the aid of a chick being smash and grabbed by some bikies and loses his van to a crusher in the process. No problems though, he has a friend, a genius in fact who works in the research department for one TB Trenton (Morgan Woodward chewing up the scenery), owner of Mid American Motors and one rich, greedy son of a bitch besides. His mate is supposed to be building a petrol guzzling van for Trenton but instead he’s come up with Vandora – a super van that runs on solar power! Looking likes something from one of them 80s post apocalyptic Eyetalian movies, Vandora has lasers, a sonic scrambler, a weird whistling sound when she drives along and is seemingly unstoppable. Of course, Trenton isn’t happy about this turn of events, particularly since he’s sponsoring Freakout just to promote the Trenton Truck (he owns an oil company too by the by) and wants Clint and Vandora out the way. Oh and the girl, Karen (Katie Saylor), that Clint rescued – she’s Trenton’s daughter. (of course I hear you say).
With the lamest bikers you ever did see, the gayest moustaches this side of Magnum PI, a whipped cream fetish and the guy who went on to play Uncle Leo in Seinfeld (Len Lesser) as comedy relief cop you know it’s going to be trashy from here on in.
Filmed during a real van show it seems, there are endless wasted minutes of people wandering around, looking inside vans, smoking dope, grabbing girls, looking at girls, looking at vans… and then there’s Charles Bukowski!! Yep, the Buk makes an appearance as a waterboy at the wet t-shirt competition. A competition by the way where the girls keep their t-shirts on. Ah the price of fame huh, the price of fame. Of course, for Van geeks this is some pretty cool stuff – there are some sweet 70s murals and vans in this pic so for us kids of the 70s this is purty sweet. George Barris, the man who created Vandora, and who also appears in the movie, then went on to create the demon car in that other lost classic The Car and Kit from The Knight Rider series and when you look at Vandora you can see a little Kit in her. The guys behind this movie would go on to be involved in Moonshine County Express (starring Marcia Brady!) and Terror Train which should give you an idea of the pedigree we are talking about here.
This is a shocking movie, a cash in by some guys trying to work out the next teen thing and coming up with “well, vans are in right now, cb radio, hey, lets have some chase scenes, a teen comedy sort of deal, make a statement about petrol guzzlers.. think we can have it written up by lunch, I’m kinda hungry.” Then throwing it all at the wall and seeing what stuck. Taken from a video print so you get scratches, glitches and even the odd video flicker, this is true exploitation at its peak. I bow to Cheezy Flick’s greatness.
The extras – Keeping with the theme the boys have added trailers from Convoy, Zombies of The Stratosphere, Savannah Smiles, Jive Turkey, Horror Hotel (early Christopher Lee!), Legend Of Boggy Creek and Andy Warhol’s Bad as well as a string of Intermission ads from the days of the Drive-In including Bernz-o-matic Car Heaters so you can go to the drive-in all year round. I think I love these guys.