Year: 1978

Rick Shaw, who is Jim Tate aka Cult Film Freak’s illiterate basement boarder, had a helluva time figuring STAR WARS out since the opening scroll could’ve been flying paper with squashed flies, but his curiosity about Luke Skywalker in a hod rod flick peaked his interest, and he wanted to get the general story down up front…

So what’s the main plot of CORVETTE SUMMER?

It’s simple, really, and the complications arise during the thrust of the plot wherein Mark Hamill’s lonely auto shop high school senior has to find the prized vehicle he himself made, and that all the class took great interest in after the completion. But like all great movie pawns… a character who goes on a trip and bad things happen like falling dominoes… it’s he alone that has to search, going from California to Las Vegas.

Of all the films that wind up in Las Vegas, or even the ones that begin and end there or stay-put the whole time, what distinguishes CORVETTE SUMMER?

Las Vegas is shown mostly during the daytime. The buildings are like skeletons of great beasts; monstrous bones burning in the sun, casting their shadows upon this very little guy in comparison to everything… even back home. It makes the location more of a desolate zone than a hotbed for partying and good times. In one daylight scene, Kenny’s sitting Indian style, writing to his auto shop teacher, and it’s as, even with so many cars rolling along… none of them his prime target… he’s in a ghost town. Life is nothing without that Vette.

Does the movie feel like it’s banking on STAR WARS?

Having come out just a year after the blockbuster, and the fact Mark’s face looks freshly put-together after his horrible motorcycle accident, it’s obvious he had a fair amount of time between projects. Movies take months to film and often a year to edit and… get finished as in, get made. If the question is, Are there scenes that have a sort of science-fiction vibe, or actual nods to the audience regarding the George Lucas blockbuster, well, no. But the story of a young man with no meaning being called to a higher purpose to something he’s connected with, and winding up fighting the bad guys, and ending with a literal explosion of the villain’s own vehicle, then, yeah, sure it does link to STAR WARS.


Kenny Keeps His Diary

Every movie has a heavy… Who plays the villain?

That’s an important question, and an even more important answer…First off, the Hidden Big Villain who is revealed as igniting the main one shouldn’t be spoiled. But the bonafide baddie is Kim Milford, who starred in the cult favorite, LASERBLAST, the same year, and he blows up a STAR WARS sign with the laser connected to his arm (Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig’s catastrophic COWBOYS & ALIENS borrowed heavily from LASER even though it’d never be admitted). In this movie, Luke Skywalker, so to speak, causes Kim’s car stealing body shop chief to… well that’s been mentioned already: BOOM!

What’s the best time to watch this movie?

SUMMER is not bad enough for midnight viewings and is perfect during the day, in the morning but late morning. And by the way, it’s almost a worthy drinking film, but the music isn’t very strong, and a good drinking flick needs a few good tunes, like AMERICAN GRAFFITI, PULP FICTION, JACKIE BROWN, OVER THE EDGE, and hell, even NASHVILLE works since the characters represent the bad music so perfectly. But that’s another post entirely.


Great Import Cover

How does SUMMER attempt to be a bad, or, liken to a cult movie?

Well it does try for… pretty much everything. There’s a hot rod exploitation element for car buffs, and they’ve embraced it like surfers have BIG WEDNESDAY, only not as much. There’s a sort of raw, rough chrome hybrid with the glittering of the disco era, and surrounded by a vast desert encompassing the journey-to and the escape-from. And with Annie Potts as a hooker in a 1970’s style van named Vanessa, it also attempts banking on the drive-in theater sexed-up vibe but plays it safe as she has a heart of gold, and merely takes Kenny’s virginity without exposing much.

What are some negative things about the movie?

First off, Mark Hamill is a good actor. He nailed Luke Skywalker because he was the character. Especially in the otherwise maligned RETURN OF THE JEDI where his scenes with Darth Vader and the Emperor, at the very end, are as intense as anything that’s been nominated. But here, a lot of the times he seems to be going through the motions. And yet, with such groovy motion going on, he fits right in. You can say the vehicle not only carries itself but its leading man as well. But no matter what anyone’s opinion is of Mark’s performance, while better actors could have played the role, no one could have fit the movie like Hamill, and yes, plenty of that has to do with its subliminal connection to STAR WARS because CORVETTE SUMMER, his only starring role beyond the far, far away galaxy, is extremely important to the cult phenomenon. And more people need to realize it so check out Cult Film Freak for a more conventional movie review with photos, further connections and philosophies about one of our all=time favs.


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