Maximum Overdrive (1986)
PLOT - A group of people are stranded at a 24 hour truck stop in Southern Florida when suddenly all vehicles, as well as electronic devices begin powering up on their own with one goal and one goal only. To destroy and kill as many people that get in the way.
LOWDOWN - Years ago when I was in the 6th grade, we had an assignment to dress up as somebody famous. Anyone we wanted. I ended up choosing Stephen King (I pretty much wore my glasses, had a hat on (…) and held a bunch of books of his. I do remember we had a small audience of people from the school watching us perform talking about who we were, and with my sassy comic timing, I cracked a joke about how Maximum Overdrive was the first movie I ever directed. Unfortunately it bombed. I then joked that we all knew the real reason why it bombed…it's because it was starring Emilio Estevez. (Boom! Drops the mic)
Maximum Overdrive was King's directorial debut. Sadly it wasn't exactly what fans expected. In the 1980's, King was truly the master of horror. It seemed as if each year he was cranking out book after book and Hollywood was scooping up every single chance at transforming them to the sinker screen. With such classics as Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shinning, Christine, Cujo, and The Dead Zone. Even his short stories were getting the treatment. King chose the perfect short story to dabble in making into a feature length film. From Night Shift, he took the brilliant short story Trucks and gave us a trailer that horror and King fans from all over the world were beyond excited about. I mean honestly…what could do wrong?
King even said that in 1985 when they were filming the movie he was pretty fucked up on coke. In fact, he said one of the main reasons he'll never direct again is Maximum Overdrive and what a complete mess it was. After learning how coked up King was, it's pretty amusing to rematch this movie since it seriously is beyond crazy and balls to the wall. King made some truly odd choices with this film. One of the main ones having rock band AC/DC perform the entire soundtrack. He took a pretty serious short story, and made it a slap stick black comedy with over the top gore scenes (who doesn't forget the kids getting run over in the baseball friend? Or the coach getting killed my flying Pepsi cans?) There's now all devices that are powered up attacking instead of cars and trucks. We even have
an electric knife attacking a waitress, a lawn mower, even arcade games. There's Pat Hingle with a rocket launcher, one of the film's most ugliest leading ladies, Emilio Estevez as a short hand cook, and the very ANNOYING Yeardley Smith who seriously shouts the name "Curtis!" ten million times. If you were to make a drinking game off her saying that damn name every time, you would be completely wasted.
It's truly a shame since this was taken from such a great short story, that has some a great original idea. It's almost like Night Of The Living Dead, with these complete strangers stranded at the truck stop with the trucks circling around them. Instead we got a silly, mess of a movie with explosions, car wrecks, cringe worthily moments, and action scenes that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Now don't get we wrong, I don't hate this movie. It's a guilty pleasure of mine, and I do watch it whenever it's on. In fact I've never seen the 1997 made for TV remake Trucks as of yet. But if there was a movie that really needed a remake, I feel this movie would be the one. Stick with the short story and a more serious tone and you got yourself a winner.
I loved Estevez as the lead (even tho I learned Zach Galligan did a script reading with King for the lead. Man oh man, that would have been awesome!) I loved the setting of the truck stop, and of course the green goblin truck. It seriously was beyond awesome since that's supposed to be our main villain. I also really liked the music cue whenever something attacks. Still this movie fell short with stupid characters and a very rushed ending. King, I love you to the moon and back but Overdrive just didn't do it for me.
1 1/2 stars!