Supervan (1977)

Rating: *
Review Date: 4/6/10
Cast: George Barris

It amazes me that films like this even exist. Definitely a bizarre slice of life tale from the custom van niche of 1970's car culture. A van convention known as the "Super Freakout" is taking place somewhere in Kansas, and a $5000 cash prize is on the line for the best customized van. A disenchanted youth named Clint decides to quit his job and go to the Freakout to win the prize. The poor disillusioned fool doesn't realize that it takes a lot more than crappy airbrush fantasy art to win the contest, but that's okay because he ends up accidentally backing his van into a car crusher during the first twenty minutes of the film. While you're slapping your forehead in disbelief at this absurdity, a member of a motorcycle gang that's chasing him loses his bike to the same crusher when he accidentally parks his bike in it. Huh?!? How is this even possible? "Gee, this looks like a good place to park. OH MY GOD, NO!!!" It's like the car crusher is a sentient and well camouflaged hunter, sneaking up on unwary motorists and pouncing on their helpless vehicles. Bizarre.

Anyway, through an act of heroism and a strange twist of fate, Clint becomes custodian to a revolutionary solar powered van called Vandora, and he decides to take it to the Freakout van competition. Let this be a lesson to would-be criminals: If you're going to rape the daughter of a super scientist, don't give a play-by-play over your CB radio. The antagonist in the film is naturally a seedy oil baron, whose love of vans stems from the fact that they consume so much gasoline. Really, people, I'm not making this up. When Vandora shows up, the villains try every dirty trick they know to disqualify it. Fortunately, Vandora is a super van and can defend itself with ultrasonic weapons and laser guns. Unreal. But perhaps the most unreal aspect is the documentary style footage of the van convention itself, which appears to just be an excuse for young people to get together in a big field and drink, smoke pot, and have wild orgies. And pie fights. Unbelievable. Ultimately, Vandora wins the competition and the evil oil baron is shamed and sent packing.