June 25: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie — is a car movie.
A ten-year-old runaway boy named Gus has left behind an abusive home to go out on the road in a stolen ‘66 Ford Mustang that he drives with stilts attached to the gas pedals. His goal is to collect game cards from the Chimera Gas Company and if he spells M-O-T-O-R-A-M-A, he wins $500 million dollars.
The first person Gus meets on his journey — and the last — is Phil (John Diehl), a gas station attendant who flies a yellow kit with a photo of a cop (Robert Picardo) shaking hands with him, all to show whatever is in heaven that he’s a worthwhile person.
The real thrill of watching this movie is in seeing who shows up next. From Martha Quinn as a bank teller and Jack Nance as a hotel clerk to Meat Loaf as an arm-wrestling biker, Mary Woronov as a kidnapper, Flea as a busboy, Robin Duke as a corporate drone, Allyce Beasley as a receptionist, Susan Tyrrell, Michael J. Pollards, Garett Morris, Drew Barrymore as the girl of our hero’s dreams and, of course, Dick Miller — man, this movie has something for everyone. And by everyone, I mean me.
Director Barry Shils produced Vampire’s Kiss and also made Wigstock: The Movie. Writer Joseph Minion wrote the aforementioned Vampire’s Kiss and After Hours, as well as directing Daddy’s Boys for Roger Corman, using the same sets as Big Bad Mama II.
This movie is great because it’s a hijinks ensue film, but within the context of a child becoming an adult by undergoing a quest to determine what really means the most in life. It’s not weird for weird’s sake. It just feels like it was filmed in a place not quite our own and sent to the wrong reality, where we must study it and determine what we can learn from Gus’s quest.