Back in 1977, 20th Century Fox had high box-office hopes for a big-budget science fiction film that they had scheduled for release that summer. That film was not George Lucas' Star Wars, but a post-Apocalyptic road movie (very) loosely based on a novel by science fiction author Roger Zelazny, titled Damnation Alley.
Starring Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Jackie Earle Haley, French actress Dominique Sanda, and Star Trek II's Paul Winfield. Damnation Alley is a bit of mess, with uninspired direction by journeyman director Jack Smight (The Illustrated Man). Also, the screenplay by Allan Sharp & Lukas Heller is pretty stupid, discarding virtually all of the Zelazny source novel in favor of an episodic, nonsensical road trip with glowing "radioactive" skies, photographically-enlarged arachnids, rubber roaches, utterly ludicrous pseudoscience - and an absurd "happy" ending.
The sole redeeming cinematic element of the film is the Landmaster vehicle itself - a formidable, super-RV with a unique tri-wheel drive, armor plating and missile launchers. Built at a reputed cost of $300,000 - $350,000 by Hollywood custom car guru Dean Jeffries, the Landmaster is undeniably cool.
Which is, obviously, why it played such a prominent role in the film's advertising... including these lobby cards.
I generally don't use the adjective "cheesy" when describing vintage genre films; too often it's just a euphemism for "old" used by those with a lack of perspective or appreciation for anything created before their birth. But Damnation Alley - from its dumbed-down script to its sloppy (even for the time) optical effects work - is a cheesy science fiction film.
It's fun - no question - but it's not really very good....