Stephen King is a great if not the greatest horror writer alive today, but when it comes to the film adaptations of his books, I've always felt that they've been hit or miss. Thankfully Maximum Overdrive is not as bad as some people (critics) may want you to believe, and despite a few failing is beyond doubt a hit.
Based in North Carolina (as far as I can recall), the residents come under attack from a host of machines that have came 'alive' by the Earth passing into the path of a comet. Some people take cover in a diner / gas station but soon trucks of all nature start circling in a blood-thirsty-dance. The film has plenty going for it. There's car crashes, plenty of action and explosions, some gore, a good script with good dialogue, and it's actually very comical in places. If you have a darker sense of humour that is. One scene that comes to mind is with the soda machine on the baseball field, and of course the cash machine with attitude at the beginning of the film. While Maximum Overdrive is not scary as such, it's still a bit frightening in places and the AC/DC soundtrack was a welcome bonus, ideal for the tone of the film.
The acting from Emilio Estevez is great (not everyone will agree) but otherwise I felt that some of the acting for others is a bit poor in places "We made you...we made you!" You'll probably notice a few plot holes and errors but these are noting major are don't by any means ruin Maximum Overdrive. Still I felt that a few things could have been done better, hence only four stars.
But otherwise the film is enjoyable while being laid back and doesn't demand much from you. I'll admit that it's not the best Stephen King around, but it's still well worth a watch.
on 28 July 2003
A fantastic movie with what seems to be a very small cast, then introducing Emilio Estevez, and a very young "Lisa Simpson" - Cuurrrtis, is he Daaayyyyd!! This is Stephen King not realising he's at his best! The exclusively AC/DC soundtrack ('Who Made Who' album!) is just perfect for the movie, every emotion & action felt through Angus Young & the lads amazing riffs, beats & bass lines! Who knew the ice-cream man would be so scary!! Now every time I hear it outside, I lock the door & cut the power! In all, For Those About to Be Shocked with this classic little-known movie, We Salute You!
I had been searching for this film ever since a certain TV repair company borrowed my copy to check my DVD player and 'supposedly' lost it (and of course never refunded me either)
So when it came up via Amazon I ordered it. The supplying company stated that the copy was in English with subtitles in Dutch and Portuguese but that these could be switched off.
The disc arrived really quickly but on watching it was apparent that it was impossible to turn off the subtitles. You had to choose either Dutch or Portuguese and that choice overrode the DVD players normal options to turn them off.
I tried the disk in 5 different makes of dvd player and player/recorder and none would let you watch it with out the VERY intrusive subtitles.
To be fair to the supplier they did offer me my money back but since getting packing and then positing it back to Holland would have worked out at around half the cost of the disk, I never took them up on their offer but gave it to a friend who was learning Portuguese.
So it's a great film (as I recall) but beware of ordering it from outside the UK or where subtitles are mentioned.
on 13 July 2016
At the absolute peak of his powers in the mid eighties, Stephen King was handed his directorial debut by Maverick movie producer dino de laurentis. The fact King only directed this one film does suggest it's no master piece (Clive barker directed four) but it is still watchable. The casting is great, particularly emilio estivez and pat hingle, and even though I'd never watched this before (I'd somehow missed it) it still had a great nostalgia about it. Ultimately the gamble taken by de laurentis didn't pay off as King is a much, much better author than he is a director. And as for king's own claims that no body directs Stephen King quite like the great man himself - well truly laughable now when you think of the likes of Kubrick, de Palma, carpenter, cronenberg, rob Reiner, tone hooper, George a remero and of course more recently big franky d. They all gave us masterpieces but this tale never gets close. The plot itself centres around mechanical devices going on the rampage, as the short story this was based on was called trucks and judging by the DVD front cover, it will come as no surprise that most of these are indeed big trucks. That's the real shame because the best glimpses here are the smaller bits featuring more original killer objects, and the other Stephen..... Spielberg had already done killer trucks SO much better (duel if you didn't know).
on 3 April 2014
Fans of the movie Christine must have surely been thrilled for the debut of Maximum Overdrive. Fans of Stephen King must have been even more excited to see his name listed as the director, his first and only stab at directing. Unfortunately, Maximum Overdrive will forever be known as a lovable failure.Maximum Overdrive might have stood a chance if they brought in John Carpenter again, but instead a self-admittedly coked-out Stephen King took a stab at it. This resulted in a mess, not to mention a hefty settlement for a woman who lost an eye during filming. King and Emilio Estevez were nominated for Golden Raspberries for Worst Director and Worst Actor, but thankfully Prince was still trying to make movies back then and took the crown with Under the Cherry Moon.
on 16 February 2015
Trucks (1997) is a film based on a short story by Stephen King. There is quite a bit of history to this story, dating back to its first publication in Cavalier Magazine, June 1973, and later reprinted in King's collection, Night Shift (1978). Trucks, the story, basically tells the story of a bunch of people trapped in a freeway truck stop and diner. The story is told in the first person narrative. Some unknown force has brought the trucks to life and humankind must fight for their own survival. In the short story there are six people trapped in the gas station diner: the narrator, an elderly counterman, a trucker, Jerry, Jerry's girlfriend and Snodgrass the salesman.
Trucks was later made into the first of two movies, Maximum Overdrive (1986), which is written for the screen and directed by Stephen King. The film stars Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, and Yeardley Smith. The soundtrack is by AC/DC and includes Who Made Who, You Shook Me All Night Long, and Hells Bells. The film was unfairly nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards for worst director (King) and worst actor (Estevez). In this movie the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, rendering inanimate objects living, including lawnmowers, cars, coke machines, electric knives, pinball machines, remote control toys, an ice-cream van, and ... Trucks. Again a bunch of people are trapped in a gas station diner, this one called The Dixie Boy. The main truck in this film is a large black semi with a Green Goblin mask attached to its grille. The people must try to survive until the earth has completely passed through the comet. Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, have a cameo at the beginning of the film, in the scene where the cash machine calls king an A Hole!
Emilio Estevez as William ''Bill'' Robinson
Pat Hingle as Bubba Hendershot
Laura Harrington as Brett Graham
Yeardley Smith as Connie
John Short as Curtis
Ellen McElduff as Wanda June
Frankie Faison as Handy
Leon Rippy as Brad
Christopher Murney as Camp Loman
J C Quinn as Duncan Keller
Barry Bell as Steve Gayton
Patrick Miller as Joey
J Don Ferguson as Andy
Stephen King as ATM Man
The scene at the beginning of the film, the chaos on the bridge: the people in the speedboat are members of AC/DC
Stephen King personally selected AC/DC to provide the soundtrack
The mask on the main truck is the Green Goblin from Marvel Comics, Spider-Man's arch enemy
The film's trailer borrowed music from the John Carpenter score Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Trucks (1997) is the latest version to be filmed and remains faithful to the original short story. Small town America. Quiet. Peaceful. That is, until trucks take on lives and minds of their own and become thinking and killing machines. The phenomenon is possibly caused by a toxic spill. The truckers and other people trapped in the truck stop are forced to battle the trucks and escape. This film was shot on a much lower budget and, although it remains faithful to the 1973 story, after you have seen Maximum Overdrive, it pales in comparison. Maximum Overdrive is now considered a cult classic among horror fans and Stephen King fans in general, despite King's denouncing it as the worst of all his adaptations. Trucks is inferior to Maximum Overdrive; but, there are a lot worse King adaptations out there than both these films.
Timothy Busfield as Ray Porter
Brenda Bakke as Hope Gladstone
Aidan Devine as Trucker Bob
Roman Podhora as Thad Timmy
Victor Cowie as George Georgie
Sharon Bajer as June Yeager
Jonathan Barrett as Brad Yeager
Rick Skene as Trucker Pete
Gene Pyrz as Refrigerator Truck Driver
Don Granberry as Sheriff
Brendan Fletcher as Logan
Amy Stewart as Abby
I enjoyed both films, although I would have to say that Maximum Overdrive is by far the better.
on 7 January 2010
In the mid 80s, Stephen King set out to make the definitive version of a film of his epic story Trucks. Others had tried (Lucas, Kubrick, Spielberg, Hitchcock) and all failed. By their own admission, these filmmakers had failed on all counts by going over budget, over schedule and forced rewrites resulting in no less than fifty legendary actors retiring from the business due to exhaustion and insanity. To film Trucks, King knew there was only one man for the job: himself.
The resulting film was immediately crowned Greatest Film Ever Made. This story of rampaging trucks, toy cars, electric breadknives, lawnmowers and ice cream vans took over a billion dollars at the box office within the first weekend of its release, was nominated for twenty Academy Awards (and of course won all of them and another one for Best Film Ever), Emilio Estevez was made Grand Ruler of the Universe and the film became required viewing in all schools throughout the world.
King never directed again. There was no need. With this film of humanity taken to the brink by a lot of angry lorries, he had done the unthinkable: produced a work of art great enough to make God cry.
Maximum Overdrive. All other films are big girl's blouses. And the soundtrack rocks, too.
on 27 November 2013
For anyone interested, here's the UK Optimum Releasing Dvd details;
Running Time : 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio : 2.35:1
Audio : English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Extras : Trailer
That's it! The back of the box says it's only 2.0 Stereo, but it only has 5.1 and nothing else. No other languages and no subtitles.
The picture and sound are good.
on 16 February 2015
Starring Emilio Estevez, Maximum Overdrive (1986) is a horror film written and directed by Stephen King. It is based on his short Story, Trucks (1973), which appeared in an issue of Cavalier Magazine of that same year and was later added to his collection Night Shift (1978). The original story was later filmed as Trucks (1997). It is, to date, the only film King has directed.
In 1986 the earth passed through the tail-end of the Rea-M comet and for six days everything mechanical takes on a life of its own. Essentially, the earth's machines turn on humankind. A rogue group of survivors hole up in the Dixie Boy diner and gas station, and fight off the machines - mostly lorries - until they can escape by sailboat to a remote island where they will wait for the comet to pass.
The film is notable for its AC/DC soundtrack, which the band even released as a full album titled Who Made Who (1986), and which features the hits Hells Bells, Who Made Who, and You Shook Me All Night Long, as well as some original songs. It is now also famous for the White-Western Star 4800 truck with the Green Goblin face (the villain from Marvel Comics' Spider-Man series).
Other cast members include Pat Hingle (Batman), Laura Harrington (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?), Yeardley Smith (Catholic Boys), Frankie Faison (Coming to America), J.C. Quinn (The Abyss), Holter Graham (Two Evil Eyes), and Leon Rippy (Fixing the Shadow). Stephen King provides a cameo at the beginning of the film: the ATM man.
Maximum Overdrive fits into that horror sub-genre of sorts called Killing Machines: Duel (1971), The Car (1977), Christine (1983), The Wraith (1986), The Ambulance (1990), Trucks (1997), and Black Cadillac (2003). There is no special edition of Maximum Overdrive to date.
on 5 February 2005
Probably the best opening line in any movie, in history ... ever:
"Honey? Honeybun? ... This machine just called me an asshole!"
AC/DC songs. Stephen King delivering the above line. Emilio Estevez before he resorted to kid's films. Great film.