MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986) Reviews and overview

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Maximum Overdrive is a 1986 American science-fiction horror film written and directed by author Stephen King. The screenplay was inspired by and loosely based on King’s short story Trucks, which was included in King’s first collection of short stories, Night Shift.

King himself described the film as a “moron movie” and stated his intention to never direct again soon after. The movie stars Emilio Estevez (Repo Man), Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington and Yeardley Smith.

The film has a mid-1980s hard rock soundtrack composed entirely by the group AC/DC, King’s favourite band.

Buy Blu-ray:

Maximum Overdrive is released on Blu-ray on October 23rd 2018 by Lionsgate via their Vestron Video imprint. Special features:

Interview with Producer Martha De Laurentiis
Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator Dean Gates
On-Set Vintage Interviews with Stephen King, Emilio Estevez, and Laura Harrington
Behind-The-Scenes Footage
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Still Gallery

As the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, previously inanimate objects (ranging from vehicles to lawnmowers to an electric knife) start to show a murderous life of their own. In a pre-title scene, a man (King in a cameo) tries to withdraw money from an ATM, but it instead calls him an “@sshole”…

Chaos soon begins as machines of all kinds come to life and begin assaulting humans; a drawbridge inexplicably raises during heavy traffic, resulting in multiple accidents, while at a Little League game, a vending machine kills the coach by firing canned soda point-blank into his groin and then to his skull and a pilot-less steamroller flattens one of the fleeing children.

The carnage spreads as humans and even pets are brutally killed by lawnmowers, chainsaws, electric hair dryers, pocket radios, and RC cars. At a roadside truck stop just outside Wilmington, North Carolina, a waitress is injured by an electric knife and arcade machines in the back room electrocute another victim.

Employee and ex-convict Bill Robinson suspects something is wrong when suddenly marauding big rig trucks, led by a black semi-truck sporting a giant Green Goblin mask on its grille, run down two individuals and trap the rest of the civilians inside the truck stop diner…

‘Beyond the crummy acting or the irritating characters (Yeardley Smith shrieking incessantly with an exaggerated Dixie accent… shudder) or the misguided earnestness of the all-AC/DC soundtrack (the gods did not put Angus Young on this planet to play horror movie musical stings), it’s all the loopy shit that comes out of nowhere that turns Maximum Overdrive into a 30-pound wheel of fine, stinky cheese.’ 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting


‘Yet by making the machines’ malevolence so all-encompassing – so amoral – Mr. King loses the fillip of retribution in better horror films. For the most part, he has taken a promising notion – our dependence on our machines – and turned it into one long car-crunch movie, wheezing from setups to crackups.’ New York Times


‘It has some good ideas, some occasional corny dialogue (that elevate the fun tacky level of the film), some really nice explosions (everything blows up…yippee!) and some nasty gory moments (when trucks hit humans, they go SPLAT!). It’s not the smartest film ever made but then again: IT’S ABOUT KILLER TRUCKS! What did people expect?’ Arrow in the Head


Cast and characters:
Emilio Estevez … Bill Robinson
Pat Hingle … Hendershot
Laura Harrington … Brett
Yeardley Smith … Connie
John Short … Curt
Ellen McElduff … Wanda June
J.C. Quinn … Duncan
Christopher Murney … Camp Loman
Holter Graham … Deke
Frankie Faison … Handy
Pat Miller … Joe
Jack Canon … Max
Larry Parks … Steve (as Barry Bell)
John Brasington … Frank
J. Don Ferguson … Andy
Leon Rippy … Brad
Robert Gooden … Barry (as Bob Gooden)
R. Pickett Bugg … Rolf
Giancarlo Esposito … Videoplayer
Martin Tucker … 2nd Man
Marla Maples … 2nd Woman
Ned Austin … Bridgemaster
Richard Chapman Jr. … Helper
Bob Gunter … Coach
Bill Huggins … Umpire
Stephen King … Man at Bank ATM (uncredited)

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