Motorin’ … or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Bomb like DAMNATION ALLEY

In 1977, 20th Century Fox released a big-budget, star-studded science-fiction extravaganza and a cheap piece of crap chock-a-block with nobodies. The cheap piece of crap was George Lucas’ STAR WARS, which cost the studio a measly $9,000,000 and could boast among its cast no big names, unless you counted Debbie Reynolds’ daughter and the guy from THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI (1957)… which is to say, no big names. The stars of the $17,000,000 DAMNATION ALLEY, however, were established Hollywood leading man George Peppard from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961), THE CARPETBAGGERS (1964) and THE BLUE MAX (1966), brash young man-of-action Jan-Michael Vincent from THE MECHANIC (1972), BITE THE BULLET (1975) and WHITE LINE FEVER (1976), alabaster-skinned French film actress Dominique Sanda (from Bernardo Bertolucci’s THE CONFORMIST and 1900 and Vittorio de Sica’s THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS) in her Hollywood debut and feisty little teenager Jackie Earle Haley, who had made a splash as Jodie Foster’s irascible Little League teammate in THE BAD NEWS BEARS (1976). Now that’s a cast, Jack! Guaranteed to generate buzz and put butts in seats. (Seriously, the casting agent who put these talents in the same room probably spent the next eight weeks on the Mediterranean as reward by Fox for a job well done.) If you’re old, as I am, you know how this story ends. STAR WARS was hugely successful and changed the shape of American, if not international cinema, while DAMNATION ALLEY, hobbled by a lackluster script, shoddy special effects and phoned-in performances from all involved, disappeared from the public consciousness in the time it took for the celluloid on which it was printed to spool onto the take-up reel. Guess which one I like better?

Okay, trick question. I liked STAR WARS better thirty-four years ago. I wasn’t yet 16 in the summer of 1977 and I was juvenile enough to thrill to its intergalactic sturm (trooper) und drang. Darth Vader was cool and I wanted my own blaster, pew pew. The movie impressed me and inspired me. Of course, being 16 and it being 1977, I saw any old thing that hit my local movie theatre, the good, the bad and the crappy — from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and CAPRICORN ONE to EMPIRE OF THE ANTS and STARSHIP INVASIONS — and I liked them all. I was not an idiot — I could appreciate the differences in sophistication – but these movies took me somewhere, they let me stay a while, and all that really mattered was the journey. For some reason, as the decades rolled along and me with them, only one of these movies really stuck. STAR WARS doesn’t count because you can’t live in modern society and not be choked with the excretia of Lucasfilm. Overexposure chilled my teenage ardor and I no longer think much of that movie or its many sequels. But DAMNATION ALLEY… damned if I could shake it. What was it about this adaptation of the Roger Zelazny novel that obsessed me so? It wasn’t the acting. It wasn’t the special effects. It certainly wasn’t the story (for reasons I will articulate shortly). No… it was the truck.

Hail this thing! It was and is badass on 12 wheels, with a concertina belly and a rocket launcher. I wanted one; barring that, I wanted to ride in one.  I couldn’t care less about the movie in which it starred — and make no mistake, the Landmaster (as I would come to know it) is the star of this show — I just wanted to know it, the way a man wants to know a beautiful woman, to know victory over his enemies and death with honor.

DAMNATION ALLEY fails on almost every level, from its oddly perfunctory title sequence (of business as usual in the brain center of a missile silo) to its strange misuse/underuse of veteran character actor Murray Hamilton (who dies without speaking a single word of dialogue), to its woefully inadequate special effects. Nuclear fallout-spawned double exposure giant scorpions? The crazy thing is that this is as bad as Postapocalypse America gets and its in the first ten minutes. Air Force apostate Jan-Michael Vincent outruns the behemoths on a rice-burner (the irony! You know, because we dropped the atom bomb on Japan) without too much trouble and all DAMNATION ALLEY offers in their wake are killer Salt Lake City cockroaches, sandstorms, hillbillies and flash floods, which cause the Landmaster to leak – a little. That’s the magnificent epic promised in Fox’s ad art. Even the antagonistic central relationship of  the vaguely hippyish Vincent and George Peppard, as a by-the-book, bristle-brush-mustachioed commissioned officer, peters out before the halfway mark — it took Felix Unger and Oscar Madison longer to get used to one another than these two. At the helm, the normally competent and reliable director-for-hire Jack Smight (HARPER, NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY, FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY, AIRPORT 1975) seems totally disengaged from the story — not that the script by Lukas Heller (FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, THE DIRTY DOZEN), rewritten by Alan Sharp (ULZANA’S RAID, NIGHT MOVES), is any great shakes. When our heroes pick up lounge singer Dominique Sanda at Circus-Circus in a nearly submerged Las Vegas, there’s no sexual tension between the men, no competition for the last woman on earth, no bitterness or resentment. No drama. No conflict. But there is…

MOTORIN’!

That’s right, all complaints are forgotten when this baby tears across the mise-en-scene. Just seeing those goofy wheels turning up the red clay is all the return I need from my price of admission. What’s great is that Heller and Sharp have not weighted the story down with meaning, with invigorating dialogues between the martinet Peppard and the cynical Vincent about man’s will to destroy himself or of the end — the damnation — of the human race. Nah, none of that. Vincent takes naps, Peppard uses his electric razor, Sanda has a shower, along the way they pick up orphan Jackie Earle Haley (all-out nuclear war has tilted the earth off its axis but Haley’s prospector shack hasn’t lost a shingle), Vincent lets the kid steer the Landmaster, Peppard doesn’t mind — hey, why not let a feral child take the wheel of the highly specialized custom vehicle designed to ark you from perdition to Albany? It’s all good! And even if it weren’t all good, there’s always…

MOTORIN’!

Seriously, the filmmakers could have scotched the plot entirely and just projected test reels of the Landmaster ripping it up in the Grand Canyon or at Lake Kalispell and it would have made a better movie than DAMNATION ALLEY. But plot will out, so after our happy heroes have adopted their junior partner they run afoul of some radiation-scarred weirdos (led by COOL HAND LUKE’s Robert Donner) who have not seen a woman since the end of the world two years earlier… and guess what they make her do? Play the piano! But this being Easy Like Doomsday Morning, our friends best the uglies in about five minutes and head on none the worse for wear to Detroit because they need truck parts. That’s right, the end is nigh, the landscape is populated by mutants, gas is extremely hard to come by, but they head on up to Michigan as easily as you’d swing into the parking lot of your local Auto Zone. (Sidebar: I’m kind of tickled by the notion of major metropolitan hubs being good for one thing only. If they’d needed bagels, our heroes would head to New York; if they’d needed cigars, they’d heat to Ybor City; if they needed voodoo, New Orleans.) Once in Detroit, truck parts are obtained (easily, natch) but atmospheric disturbances that have apparently never happened before (so we can discern by the way that cars are still stacked pretty high in the wrecking yard) happen now, there’s a flood of Biblical proportions and the Landmaster is swept away as if it is no more than a flimsy scale model. But that’s okay, because…

FLOATERIN’!

Not for nothing, but is this model even a foot long? Hollywood miniatures tend to be quite large, which gives the scale models some sense of weight and dimension during effects scenes, especially in water, where they might otherwise be dwarfed by water drops… but if this bugger measures 12 inches end to end then I’m half Hawaiian.  LOOK AT IT! You half expect to see AAA batteries float to the surface. But just when I start to actually get angry that DAMNATION ALLEY is, end to end, an unconscionable slop job executed by bored journeymen capable of much better work and that the 17 mil went up the lengths of several rolled up $100 bills…

MOTORIN’!

Yeah, I can’t stay mad at the Landmaster — it has meant too much to me. Trucking around the blighted earth in the Landmaster is one of my favorite willing-myself-to-sleep devices and has been for over three decades. Sometimes it’s just me at the helm, sometimes it’s my family. Sometimes we make it through the hatch and shut the door behind us just as zombies close in. Sometimes we inch through nuclear winter storms. Sometimes we park someplace nice, break out the lawnchairs and coolers and have a picnic… which is invariably interrupted by a horde of zombies, who chase us through the hatch but never catch us. Barb likes to work the rocket launcher, so I imagine, and the kids are great at running necessary things up front; some day soon, they’ll be old enough to drive the Landmaster themselves. And when they do, somewhere George Peppard will be smiling.

Shout! Factory offers DAMNATION ALLEY as a remastered, anamorphic widescreen DVD boasting an audio commentary by producer Paul Maslansky (who does not broach the Murray Hamilton question or the obvious softening of coarse dialogue in postproduction with family-friendly alternatives) and a clutch of featurettes detailing aspects of the making of the film. Surviving screenwriter Alan Sharp proves a bemused and bracingly honest historian while co-producer Jerome Zeitman provides some interesting background information of the project’s genesis — specifically his decision not to wait for special effects guru Douglas Trumball to come aboard. There is a theatrical trailer and a TV spot, too…

… but the one extra to watch right away is “Landmaster Tales,” which features vehicle designer Dean Jefferies and some fascinating trivia (22,000 pounds!) about our favorite apocalyptic RV.

54 Responses Motorin’ … or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love a Bomb like DAMNATION ALLEY
Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : August 26, 2011 4:21 am

I’ve got unreasonable love for this movie too. Jan-Michael Vincent! Cockroaches! But my man is going to go absolutely nuts when he finds out this is on DVD. His birthday’s in October so you can guess what I’m getting him for his birthday.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : August 26, 2011 4:21 am

I’ve got unreasonable love for this movie too. Jan-Michael Vincent! Cockroaches! But my man is going to go absolutely nuts when he finds out this is on DVD. His birthday’s in October so you can guess what I’m getting him for his birthday.

Posted By Jim Perine : August 26, 2011 7:36 am

I too saw it first run – and agree with this article 100%. I did see it in “Sound 360″ – which was just as effective as Universal’s Sensaround – which is why both are still staples of the film industry (ha!)

Posted By Jim Perine : August 26, 2011 7:36 am

I too saw it first run – and agree with this article 100%. I did see it in “Sound 360″ – which was just as effective as Universal’s Sensaround – which is why both are still staples of the film industry (ha!)

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : August 26, 2011 10:56 am

I saw this on the biggest screen in Denver when it first came out. I don’t feel the need to see it again, but yes, how could a film with a screenplay by two guys best known for their work with Robert Aldrich be so bad?

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : August 26, 2011 10:56 am

I saw this on the biggest screen in Denver when it first came out. I don’t feel the need to see it again, but yes, how could a film with a screenplay by two guys best known for their work with Robert Aldrich be so bad?

Posted By Kevin : August 26, 2011 10:57 am

This is a great piece of writing that truly captures the highs and lows of a very flawed (but somehow enjoyable) film.

fun-fact: the beloved LANDMASTER later appeared on TV’s ARK II and had a guest-starring role on Chris Elliott’s GET A LIFE. (The Landmaster appeared as “Paperboy 2000″ the futuristic newspaper-delivering machine that replaced all the human paper-boys.)

I showed clips from both shows when I showed DAMNATION ALLEY a few years ago. (We played it on VHS on a little big-screen.) I neither encourage or forbid the audience from talking during a film, but people couldn’t help themselves with this one — and I didn’t mind. (I had never seen the film before, and I was happy to hear the wisecracks.) The biggest laugh of the night came when Richard Donner appeared with his long hair and crazy-beard. Someone in the crowd shouted with surprise “Alan Moore!?”

You mentioned the Zelazny novel — have you read it?

It’s got its own set of flaws. At one point, when the main character is about to drive through a stretch of wasteland, a local warns him about the giant radioactive bats. So clearly, the author is foreshadowing an epic sequence with the bats. Right? No, they never appear and there’s never any mention of them.

The book is worth checking out for fans of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, since the Snake Plissken character and his suicide mission seem to be inspired by the book. (The last remaining Hell’s Angel is released from prison, so he can drive a trunkload of vaccines from California to Massachusetts.

Posted By Kevin : August 26, 2011 10:57 am

This is a great piece of writing that truly captures the highs and lows of a very flawed (but somehow enjoyable) film.

fun-fact: the beloved LANDMASTER later appeared on TV’s ARK II and had a guest-starring role on Chris Elliott’s GET A LIFE. (The Landmaster appeared as “Paperboy 2000″ the futuristic newspaper-delivering machine that replaced all the human paper-boys.)

I showed clips from both shows when I showed DAMNATION ALLEY a few years ago. (We played it on VHS on a little big-screen.) I neither encourage or forbid the audience from talking during a film, but people couldn’t help themselves with this one — and I didn’t mind. (I had never seen the film before, and I was happy to hear the wisecracks.) The biggest laugh of the night came when Richard Donner appeared with his long hair and crazy-beard. Someone in the crowd shouted with surprise “Alan Moore!?”

You mentioned the Zelazny novel — have you read it?

It’s got its own set of flaws. At one point, when the main character is about to drive through a stretch of wasteland, a local warns him about the giant radioactive bats. So clearly, the author is foreshadowing an epic sequence with the bats. Right? No, they never appear and there’s never any mention of them.

The book is worth checking out for fans of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, since the Snake Plissken character and his suicide mission seem to be inspired by the book. (The last remaining Hell’s Angel is released from prison, so he can drive a trunkload of vaccines from California to Massachusetts.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : August 26, 2011 11:19 am

Kevin, I meant to say how DAMNATION ALLEY, produced a few years later, would have been an ideal vehicle (ha!) for Kurt Russell, who at this point was in his career doldrums (THE DEADLY TOWER notwithstanding). I started to read the Zelazny novel back in 1978 or so and gave up on it, which reflects more on me than on the book itself. I’m interested in revisiting it. And in driving the Landmaster. That will never stop.

Also, the vehicle in ARK II isn’t the Landmaster. The designs, while similar, are fundamentally different. The Ark didn’t have those cool wheels and in fact the series ARK II was in production before DAMNATION ALLEY. But wouldn’t you love to see these two race?

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : August 26, 2011 11:19 am

Kevin, I meant to say how DAMNATION ALLEY, produced a few years later, would have been an ideal vehicle (ha!) for Kurt Russell, who at this point was in his career doldrums (THE DEADLY TOWER notwithstanding). I started to read the Zelazny novel back in 1978 or so and gave up on it, which reflects more on me than on the book itself. I’m interested in revisiting it. And in driving the Landmaster. That will never stop.

Also, the vehicle in ARK II isn’t the Landmaster. The designs, while similar, are fundamentally different. The Ark didn’t have those cool wheels and in fact the series ARK II was in production before DAMNATION ALLEY. But wouldn’t you love to see these two race?

Posted By Ivan : August 26, 2011 2:20 pm

Mr. Smith,
Loved your heartfelt appreciation of this flick. I think it’s interesting that you mentioned Empire of the Ants and Starship Invasions, because when I first saw Damnation Alley (during its NBC movie of the week “premiere” in the late-1970s), I thought it was made for the same amount of money as those flicks–and as such, cut it some slack. Then I found out it cost as much (or more) than Star Wars and was disgusted. But for some damn reason, I do want to see Damnation Alley again.
(Meanwhile, here’s my lengthy review of Zelazny’s novel–with commentary about the movie and the Landmaster:
http://ivanlandia1.blogspot.com/2009/02/hell-damnation-looking-at-zelaznys-out.html

Thanks,
Ivan

Posted By Ivan : August 26, 2011 2:20 pm

Mr. Smith,
Loved your heartfelt appreciation of this flick. I think it’s interesting that you mentioned Empire of the Ants and Starship Invasions, because when I first saw Damnation Alley (during its NBC movie of the week “premiere” in the late-1970s), I thought it was made for the same amount of money as those flicks–and as such, cut it some slack. Then I found out it cost as much (or more) than Star Wars and was disgusted. But for some damn reason, I do want to see Damnation Alley again.
(Meanwhile, here’s my lengthy review of Zelazny’s novel–with commentary about the movie and the Landmaster:
http://ivanlandia1.blogspot.com/2009/02/hell-damnation-looking-at-zelaznys-out.html

Thanks,
Ivan

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 2:24 pm

As sweet as that ride is, especially with the Captain America shield stickers on it, Star Wars is so much better and much more entertaining. Regardless of Star Wars oversaturation, I still love the original trilogy. I have soured on the prequels, but The Empire Strikes Back is a glorious, operatic, sci fi/fantasy/adventure masterpiece.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 2:24 pm

As sweet as that ride is, especially with the Captain America shield stickers on it, Star Wars is so much better and much more entertaining. Regardless of Star Wars oversaturation, I still love the original trilogy. I have soured on the prequels, but The Empire Strikes Back is a glorious, operatic, sci fi/fantasy/adventure masterpiece.

Posted By DBenson : August 26, 2011 2:33 pm

I recall the opening bit where the hero dumps the girl (obviously a live actress) he’s been carrying on his motorcycle among the giant scorpions; then the comic reveal that “she” was an inflatable doll. Beside being a perfect reverse on a classic cheap slapstick cheat, it led to a really strange guys-bonding moment between the hero and his buddy (“What did they want the doll for, Mommy?”). And is an inflatable doll heavy enough to be a hazard?

Also, it’s easy to forget there were TWO Landmasters. The other one, with the hero’s buddy and Peppard’s buddy, was abandoned when those two characters were arbitrarily killed off early in the journey, like minor characters in a new TV series.

Finally, the end has them arriving in what looks to be a functioning suburb. Okay.

Recently watched the Star Wars documentary from the DVD set; while it goes into great detail about the budget battles over that film, it never even mentions that Fox had this one — which looks cheaper, frankly — cranking through $17 mil. Maybe terror over DA’s costs (was it BUDGETED that high?) made them freak over a second scifi epic running up bills. Maybe, as you suggest, Fox execs felt safe with all the familiar names and business-as-usual approach.

Or maybe two Fox execs saw a chance to get killer RVs built for themselves on the company dime.

Posted By DBenson : August 26, 2011 2:33 pm

I recall the opening bit where the hero dumps the girl (obviously a live actress) he’s been carrying on his motorcycle among the giant scorpions; then the comic reveal that “she” was an inflatable doll. Beside being a perfect reverse on a classic cheap slapstick cheat, it led to a really strange guys-bonding moment between the hero and his buddy (“What did they want the doll for, Mommy?”). And is an inflatable doll heavy enough to be a hazard?

Also, it’s easy to forget there were TWO Landmasters. The other one, with the hero’s buddy and Peppard’s buddy, was abandoned when those two characters were arbitrarily killed off early in the journey, like minor characters in a new TV series.

Finally, the end has them arriving in what looks to be a functioning suburb. Okay.

Recently watched the Star Wars documentary from the DVD set; while it goes into great detail about the budget battles over that film, it never even mentions that Fox had this one — which looks cheaper, frankly — cranking through $17 mil. Maybe terror over DA’s costs (was it BUDGETED that high?) made them freak over a second scifi epic running up bills. Maybe, as you suggest, Fox execs felt safe with all the familiar names and business-as-usual approach.

Or maybe two Fox execs saw a chance to get killer RVs built for themselves on the company dime.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : August 26, 2011 2:40 pm

Yes, when Tanner dumps the “girl” off his bike, it’s obviously an actress, clear as day – and then we see it’s, not an inflatable doll, but a store mannequin. That Tanner would travel so far to return with so little raises a host of questions that obviously didn’t even occur to the makers of DAMNATION ALLEY, which suffers not so much from a lack of imagination as the absolute abnegation of imagination. They … just … don’t … care!

A point I wanted to make about the second Landmaster, in which Kip Niven’s character is killed after a single rollover, is that later in the film the main Landmaster is barrel-rolled repeatedly during the flood scene and nobody is hurt in the least.

DAMNATION ALLEY and STAR WARS filmed, IIRC, concurrently. What should be remembered is that the dailies coming back from England (where STAR WARS was shot) looked terrible to the Fox execs, principally because they were lacking postproduction effects. One production didn’t affect the other but release of DAMNATION ALLEY was held back in order to improve the effects. I’ll say no more about that.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : August 26, 2011 2:40 pm

Yes, when Tanner dumps the “girl” off his bike, it’s obviously an actress, clear as day – and then we see it’s, not an inflatable doll, but a store mannequin. That Tanner would travel so far to return with so little raises a host of questions that obviously didn’t even occur to the makers of DAMNATION ALLEY, which suffers not so much from a lack of imagination as the absolute abnegation of imagination. They … just … don’t … care!

A point I wanted to make about the second Landmaster, in which Kip Niven’s character is killed after a single rollover, is that later in the film the main Landmaster is barrel-rolled repeatedly during the flood scene and nobody is hurt in the least.

DAMNATION ALLEY and STAR WARS filmed, IIRC, concurrently. What should be remembered is that the dailies coming back from England (where STAR WARS was shot) looked terrible to the Fox execs, principally because they were lacking postproduction effects. One production didn’t affect the other but release of DAMNATION ALLEY was held back in order to improve the effects. I’ll say no more about that.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 2:47 pm

As the mannequin goes, maybe they were trying for something like that Jack Warden episode of The Twilight Zone where his only companion is a girl robot? Maybe the character saw her as more than just an oject due to his loneliness? Maybe not. Maybe it was just a bad directorial choice.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 2:47 pm

As the mannequin goes, maybe they were trying for something like that Jack Warden episode of The Twilight Zone where his only companion is a girl robot? Maybe the character saw her as more than just an oject due to his loneliness? Maybe not. Maybe it was just a bad directorial choice.

Posted By morlockjeff : August 26, 2011 3:09 pm

Boy, was this a dorky movie. I dragged some friends to see it at the theatre where these big SOUND 360 were set up at ear-splitting volume. Eventually my friends stopped giving me grief and started laughing at it – I think the killer cockroaches attack was the turning point. Fond memories indeed!

Posted By morlockjeff : August 26, 2011 3:09 pm

Boy, was this a dorky movie. I dragged some friends to see it at the theatre where these big SOUND 360 were set up at ear-splitting volume. Eventually my friends stopped giving me grief and started laughing at it – I think the killer cockroaches attack was the turning point. Fond memories indeed!

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 3:16 pm

The Ark II looked more like a space shuttle on wheels, whereas the Landmaster looks like a right proper RV from Hell.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 3:16 pm

The Ark II looked more like a space shuttle on wheels, whereas the Landmaster looks like a right proper RV from Hell.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : August 26, 2011 5:10 pm

So how the hell old are we that most of us either remember this upon release or saw it in the theatre? As I look back at the sci-fi/adventure/fantasy films of the seventies, I find I have much more nostalgia for things like this, At Earth’s Core, The Land that Time Forgot, Logan’s Run, etc, than Star Wars. Jan-Michael Vincent was on a tear though, what with this and Hooper, the following year. Don’t get me started on my unabashed love for that movie. Saw it in the theatre three times!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : August 26, 2011 5:10 pm

So how the hell old are we that most of us either remember this upon release or saw it in the theatre? As I look back at the sci-fi/adventure/fantasy films of the seventies, I find I have much more nostalgia for things like this, At Earth’s Core, The Land that Time Forgot, Logan’s Run, etc, than Star Wars. Jan-Michael Vincent was on a tear though, what with this and Hooper, the following year. Don’t get me started on my unabashed love for that movie. Saw it in the theatre three times!

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Ah, mad love for Hooper! It is my favorite Burt Reynolds movie, and I did not forget Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit or Boogie Nights. I just love Hooper that much.

Posted By dukeroberts : August 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Ah, mad love for Hooper! It is my favorite Burt Reynolds movie, and I did not forget Deliverance, Smokey and the Bandit or Boogie Nights. I just love Hooper that much.

Posted By Doug : August 26, 2011 5:54 pm

I remember being underwhelmed when I saw this in a theater back then, but RHS, your love for this movie reminded me of one that gave me the giggles in the mid-80′s: “Eliminators” starring Denise Crosby. It was ridicul-awesome. I just checked amazon-nope. But “Ice Pirates” is on DVD!
For years I’ve thought that Zelazny’s “Amber” series could be made into a great movie series.

Posted By Doug : August 26, 2011 5:54 pm

I remember being underwhelmed when I saw this in a theater back then, but RHS, your love for this movie reminded me of one that gave me the giggles in the mid-80′s: “Eliminators” starring Denise Crosby. It was ridicul-awesome. I just checked amazon-nope. But “Ice Pirates” is on DVD!
For years I’ve thought that Zelazny’s “Amber” series could be made into a great movie series.

Posted By CherieP : August 26, 2011 6:18 pm

I always get ‘Damnation Alley’ mixed up with ‘Paradise Alley’ which was a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, (but I don’t think he got very far in it). I also turned my nose up at ‘Star Wars’ and boycotted all the sequels. I was more used to ‘Planet of the Apes’ and preferred gorillas that talked.

Posted By CherieP : August 26, 2011 6:18 pm

I always get ‘Damnation Alley’ mixed up with ‘Paradise Alley’ which was a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, (but I don’t think he got very far in it). I also turned my nose up at ‘Star Wars’ and boycotted all the sequels. I was more used to ‘Planet of the Apes’ and preferred gorillas that talked.

Posted By Greg Ferrara : August 26, 2011 9:10 pm

Duke, Hooper is awesome! And it’s got clips from Deliverance in it, when they’re watching Hooper’s stunt scene reel. So it’s got the best of both worlds!

Posted By Greg Ferrara : August 26, 2011 9:10 pm

Duke, Hooper is awesome! And it’s got clips from Deliverance in it, when they’re watching Hooper’s stunt scene reel. So it’s got the best of both worlds!

Posted By MarthaC : August 27, 2011 9:17 am

I must’ve gone to the movies a lot back then. Saw Hooper, The Land That Time Forgot, Star Wars (of course), and Damnation Alley…Gumball Rally…etc. I’m still a huge fan of Star Wars (dress up and go to conventions, oh my!), and still have huge love for Damnation Alley. You could see the cheapness of Damnation Alley, but you’re right, the truck is worth the price of admission! There was a kid’s show called Ark II also had a cool truck (called the Ark II). Ahh…good memories from the 70′s! :)

Posted By MarthaC : August 27, 2011 9:17 am

I must’ve gone to the movies a lot back then. Saw Hooper, The Land That Time Forgot, Star Wars (of course), and Damnation Alley…Gumball Rally…etc. I’m still a huge fan of Star Wars (dress up and go to conventions, oh my!), and still have huge love for Damnation Alley. You could see the cheapness of Damnation Alley, but you’re right, the truck is worth the price of admission! There was a kid’s show called Ark II also had a cool truck (called the Ark II). Ahh…good memories from the 70′s! :)

Posted By Heidi : August 29, 2011 12:29 pm

I actually saw Damnation Alley in the theater but forgot about it until you posted this! Hmm…might have to revisit it. I love the original Star Wars trilogy, and am Jealous of MarthaC going to the conventions-dressed up no less! Yay! The second triolgy could fall off the face of the earth and I wouldn’t notice. It is right up there with The Core-which is one of the rare movies I walked out of. Well, would have if my hubby hadn’t restrained me. I stopped watching it though, it was so bad. He paid a heavy price for making me sit through it. ;-)
But, I digress. THe Landmaster rv looks intereting, and I don’t know how I could have forgotten it.

Posted By Heidi : August 29, 2011 12:29 pm

I actually saw Damnation Alley in the theater but forgot about it until you posted this! Hmm…might have to revisit it. I love the original Star Wars trilogy, and am Jealous of MarthaC going to the conventions-dressed up no less! Yay! The second triolgy could fall off the face of the earth and I wouldn’t notice. It is right up there with The Core-which is one of the rare movies I walked out of. Well, would have if my hubby hadn’t restrained me. I stopped watching it though, it was so bad. He paid a heavy price for making me sit through it. ;-)
But, I digress. THe Landmaster rv looks intereting, and I don’t know how I could have forgotten it.

Posted By Bruce T. : August 30, 2011 6:45 pm

The book by Roger Zealazny is pretty good.

Posted By Bruce T. : August 30, 2011 6:45 pm

The book by Roger Zealazny is pretty good.

Posted By Michael : August 30, 2011 8:38 pm

DAMANATION ALLEY under the title SURVIVAL RUN was a monster hit in Japan. Made back its budget there.

Posted By Michael : August 30, 2011 8:38 pm

DAMANATION ALLEY under the title SURVIVAL RUN was a monster hit in Japan. Made back its budget there.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : August 31, 2011 12:23 pm

I read the novel a couple of years before the film came out and thought it would make a terrific movie. It would have, but all that was filmed was the title. In the late 70s sometime I drove by a Los Angeles carlot and there sat the Landmaster, lonely and forlorn, along with a couple of other movie fantasy vehicles. I think one was a Batmobile. I would have pulled over and made somebody an offer for it, but I was broke.

Posted By John Maddox Roberts : August 31, 2011 12:23 pm

I read the novel a couple of years before the film came out and thought it would make a terrific movie. It would have, but all that was filmed was the title. In the late 70s sometime I drove by a Los Angeles carlot and there sat the Landmaster, lonely and forlorn, along with a couple of other movie fantasy vehicles. I think one was a Batmobile. I would have pulled over and made somebody an offer for it, but I was broke.

Posted By Jenni : September 1, 2011 8:55 am

Didn’t see Damnation Alley, but the poster you displayed, I immediately could recall the tv ads promoting it. Whatever happened to Jan Michael Vincent byw? I do remember he was quite the teen heartthrob until that Leif Garret showedup and stole away JMV’s thunder!
Gotta go to the local dvd/video store in town and look for Damnation Alley-great way to while away some time on Labor Day!

Posted By Jenni : September 1, 2011 8:55 am

Didn’t see Damnation Alley, but the poster you displayed, I immediately could recall the tv ads promoting it. Whatever happened to Jan Michael Vincent byw? I do remember he was quite the teen heartthrob until that Leif Garret showedup and stole away JMV’s thunder!
Gotta go to the local dvd/video store in town and look for Damnation Alley-great way to while away some time on Labor Day!

Posted By dukeroberts : September 1, 2011 3:27 pm

Drugs and alcohol happened to Jan-Michael Vincent. He has aged terribly due to them.

Posted By dukeroberts : September 1, 2011 3:27 pm

Drugs and alcohol happened to Jan-Michael Vincent. He has aged terribly due to them.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : September 1, 2011 3:29 pm

If I recall, he was in a terrible auto or motorcycle accident as well, which did him no lasting good… though, who knows, maybe it actually prolonged his life, such as it is.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : September 1, 2011 3:29 pm

If I recall, he was in a terrible auto or motorcycle accident as well, which did him no lasting good… though, who knows, maybe it actually prolonged his life, such as it is.

Posted By M. Bouffant : September 2, 2011 3:31 am

I too remember seeing the Landmaster on that lot, on Cahuenga near Barham. It was there for quite a few yrs.

Posted By M. Bouffant : September 2, 2011 3:31 am

I too remember seeing the Landmaster on that lot, on Cahuenga near Barham. It was there for quite a few yrs.

Posted By smalllerdemon : September 4, 2011 8:07 pm

He’s no MEGAWEAPON! http://tinyurl.com/3ca5rvr

Posted By smalllerdemon : September 4, 2011 8:07 pm

He’s no MEGAWEAPON! http://tinyurl.com/3ca5rvr

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