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I've been threatening to do this for a while now and I suppose it is time. Despite me swearing that I'd never force myself to sit th...

Friday, November 11, 2022

Supervan (1977)

Automotive mayhem continues here at the site. Today’s review is for the seventies classic Supervan. In case you didn’t know there was a custom van craze back in the day where people would try to outdo one another with amazing paint jobs and interiors to what were plain old vans. That culture as well as the CB culture of the seventies features heavily in this one.

Our main character Clint is leaving the business his father runs to enter a big contest at Freakout, which is a huge van competition. He has a nice van, but there is a secret weapon. His friend has built a sweet custom van that runs on solar power called Vandora. Sadly, along the way he loses his van when he saves a beautiful young lady from some bikers. She is the daughter of the man running the convention who is also a big oil tycoon. Being that she is a runaway and Clint is getting busy with her it doesn’t make daddy too happy. The fact that Clint’s friend used big oil’s money to make Vandora, which again runs on solar energy, is strike two.

The remainder of the movie is basically a chase sequence as the bad guy sends his minions after Clint and tries to hide the solar van away so he can keep selling oil and making money. Against him the van crowd runs interference, talks on their CB radios, and generally party. We also get some fun with the bikers before the end credits roll.

Now the above might make it sound like this movie has a plot. In reality the story just serves to connect a few scenes together. A lot of the movie is just footage of people being silly and having fun at the Freakout. We get a wet t-shirt contest, frolicking, canoodling, dancing, game playing, and other general shenanigans. I think that much of this footage must have been shot at an actual event because it seems random and spontaneous. The scripted stuff is okay and fun. The formula of rebel versus the man is followed closely and the proper boxes are checked. There are attempts at humor which don’t always land but fit nicely in the overall cheesy feel of the flick.

The star of the movie is... Vandora!
Let me talk a bit about the feel of Supervan. I’m a child of the seventies and my father built and drove a couple custom vans during that decade. I have also spent time watching movies at the drive-in so I might be a bit biased here. This one gave me a real nostalgic feel taking me back to some memories that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. The van culture and the CB (my dad also had one of those) chat put a huge smile on my face. While the movie doesn’t have a great plot and is utterly predictable, I found myself having a lot of fun with it. Will you? I’m not sure but I thought it was worth mentioning because I’m going to recommend this one.

Vandora, which I suppose is the real star of the movie, was the brainchild of George Barris. He was the greatest car customizer ever and I’ll fight anyone that says different. If you think of a great movie or television car from the fifties and sixties, I can almost guarantee you that he was responsible for it. He did the Munster’s Coach, the Beverly Hillbilly’s truck, and of course his most famous work is the Batmobile. Vandora looks very cool, though also very uncomfortable to drive. But it gets the job done and does give the movie its central plot hook and draw.

I like this movie and I think that you might like it too. Though its not a slam dunk that will be the case. So, while I recommend Supervan I do so with the warnings listed above. If you do watch it drop me an email and let me know what you think.

 

© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer 

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