I Saw a Film!
Another in a very short list of custom van movies. A young feller named Clint enters his van in a “freakout-76” competition only to wind up losing his van to a car crusher at a dump while rescuing a damsel-in-distress from some nasty bikers (bad biker also loses his bike in the crusher, they may need to unplug that thing). The damsel happens to be the daughter of a wealthy motor and oil mogul who has a research facility that creates “Vandora”, a “futuristic” solar powered van (which resembles the old Lost in Space chariot) which gets handed over to our hero because his buddy runs the lab! Always good to know folks!
But forget all that, look at all the amazing custom vans and their murals! Mermaids, gunfighters, hot-air balloons, Vallejo artwork, featuring beasts and lovely behinds . . . and all the rest. A good deal of pot smoking and ill conceived music (“you’ll always be a milestone in my life”?) dominate the playful festivities. Of course, there’s prize money to be won at this custom van freak-out and Vandora easily swamps the competition (though not very believably). Meanwhile motor and oil mogul daddy is trying to undermine the solar powered spirit (which has won over his daughter) alongside the sheriff (played by Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo!) who is pretty quick to be waving his pistola around. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Vandora also fires a laser, making the silly thing even more like something Lost In Space left behind.
Most of what ends up on film is just the sort of playful hippy stuff that gave these rolling living-rooms a bad name in the first place. Despite their popularity here and their utility as camping and band gear transport, it wouldn’t be long before they were associated with criminal behavior and sure enough, as soon as I mentioned my sweet old lounging machines to some friends, I immediately got the usual grief about them (it is unfair!). All said grief was always forgotten when said buddies were moving that’s for sure!
This is a freebie on Prime and is adorable testament to turning basically anything (such as a bunch of custom van rally footage) into a goofy action adventure film. Incidentally the movie poster seems to be pushing a “trucker” theme — all the rage at the time — but despite a bit of CB buzz and a bit of road footage, the association is weak.
Lastly, according to wikipedia, a few actual Vandoras were built to be sold based on Dodge Sportsmans! Also, Wikipedia cleared up an odd fuzzy geezer sighting of Charles Bukowski hamming it up on the screen for a moment! You don’t get that in just any film!