#131 | Maximum Overdrive 2: Attack of the Drones
Listen to our Maximum Overdrive episode on:
If you looked up the definition of ‘Cocaine’ in the dictionary, you might well come across a screenshot from Maximum Overdrive, the insane 80s thriller that represents Stephen King’s first and last attempt at directing a movie based on his own writing. King now freely admits that he was out of his mind on white powder during the making of the film, an experience he consequently claims to barely remember.
The signs are there in the film. Where most novelists might tend to be overly precious about literary devices such as character development and narrative coherence, Maximum Overdrive is a film that feels like it was written entirely in capital letters. BANG! CRASH! BOOM!
The concept is classic King – a ‘what if’ scenario involving all of the world’s electronic devices mysteriously coming to life and seeking to destroy their human overlords. Because this is the 1980s, the danger is more from rampaging trucks and murderous hairdryers than drones and data leaks.
Most of the action is contained in a back-water truck stop, in which a sweaty collective of crooks, ex-cons, truckers and hysterical women become trapped for several days as their vehicles and utensils attempt to pick them off. None of these characters are remotely developed or likeable, but it’s undeniably fun watching them get mown down in a variety of easily avoidable ways.
…and that’s the thing with Maximum Overdrive. By the basic principles of moviemaking, it’s terrible. The acting ranges from stiff to insane, the dialogue is ludicrous and nothing makes a lick of sense. But like a heady rush of blow to the frontal lobe, it’s a giddy delight if you approach it in the right frame of mind. (n.b. This podcast does not endorse or promote the use of cocaine)
On this week’s podcast, we strap in for the ride and discuss overly elaborate back-stories, heavy metal soundtracks, a truly insufferable performance by an iconic Simpsons voice actor and more, before pitching some drinking games and potential sequel ideas to bring Maximum Overdrive to a brand new audience.
You can listen to our Maximum Overdrive episode using any of the links at the top of this blog post, or by searching for ‘Beyond The Box Set’ on your preferred Podcasting app. If you enjoy the show, please hit subscribe to hear a new episode every Friday morning. A rating or review also really helps us to find new listeners so please score generously.
Next week, we’re moving from one classic director to another, as we celebrate the release of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with a look back at one of Tarantino’s recent classics. Until then, happy listening and remember – WE MADE THEM!
How Joe Hill Could Remake Maximum Overdrive (& Make It Better)
Joe Hill wants to remake his father's movie, Maximum Overdrive, with a new take on it; here's how his remake could be better than the 1986 original.
For years, Maximum Overdrivehas been both loved and hated by both horror and Stephen King fans, but the movie could get an update due to renewed interest from his son, Joe Hill. In October 2020, Hill announced that he has a great idea for how to remake his father's most polarizing movie. While those who enjoy the AC/DC soundtrack and poorly executed sentient semi-trucks may be wary of a remake, those who know Stephen King and his son's masterful talent at crafting vehicular horror stories can anticipate that Joe Hill has the ability to make Maximum Overdrive better while still keeping the same spirit many loved about it in the first place.
The 1986 horror movie was written and directed by King; it was based on "Trucks" from his short story collection, Night Shift, alongside "Jerusalem's Lot" and "Graveyard Shift". In "Trucks" and Maximum Overdrive, after a comet passes by Earth, inanimate mechanical and vehicular objects become sentient and start to kill anyone in sight. The movie was poorly received by fans and critics upon release, but like other initially panned horror movies, it has developed a small following of fans who enjoy B-grade horror movies. While other works created during this infamous time period in King's history were wildly successful, such as his 1986 novel It, Maximum Overdrive was an overwhelming disaster for those who expected anything similar to Christine, which also featured a killer car.
Related: Why Stephen King's Cameo In The Maximum Overdrive Trailer Was A Mistake
Joe Hill is a master of horror in his own right, with outings such as his Netflix original series Locke & Key and the recently cancelled NOS4A2 - an adaptation of one of his most popular novels - which had two seasons on AMC.The father-son duo have even co-created stories such as In The Tall Grass. Their story writing similarities will ensure that Maximum Overdrive will retain its Stephen King originality, while Hill's own unique style will undoubtedly make it better.
According to Bloody Disgusting, Joe Hill intends on writing and directing the Maximum Overdrive remake himself with some alterations to the original story. Instead of a comet bringing the vehicles to life, he's been inspired by the self-driving aspects of Teslas that may be inflicted with a virus which would cause them to go on a killing spree. This is essentially the same premise, but with an all new spin that would make it contemporary and play on the fears of self-driving cars as well as technology's progression towards nearly human capabilities.
With the success of shows such as Black Mirror, Hill's idea to make the vehicles come to life as a result of a virus is the perfect route to take in retelling the original story. Presumably, it would spread like a computer virus, but lead to much more dire consequences than breached software and corrupt files. Rather than maintaining the sci-fi elements of his father's Maximum Overdrive, Hill will make his own version about the fear of technological advances, especially in a world where one of the biggest and most rapidly growing concerns is how far is too far to go with technology.
By utilizing the fear of self-driving cars and the uncertainty of a future that relies on technology, Joe Hill will make Maximum Overdrivebetter than the original. While it may lose the AC/DC soundtrack and cosmic horrors of the 1986 movie, it will likely receive better reviews, and hopefully won't be regarded as a movie that is "so bad, it's good".
More: Creepshow Season 2: How Joe Hill Can Continue Stephen King's Legacy
Spider-Man: No Way Home Fan Edit Brings The Flash To MCU’s MultiverseAbout The Author
Mara Bachman works as a Horror Movie Features Writer for Valnet, Inc at ScreenRant.
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Is there a maximum overdrive 2?
Is there a maximum overdrive 2?
2 Unlimited: Maximum Overdrive (1993)
Is Maximum Overdrive on Hulu?
Hulu is adding trucking classic Maximum Overdrive for streaming starting Friday, April 1. The movie, which came out in 1986, was written and directed by Stephen King, the notable horror author.
When was Maximum Overdrive made?
July 25, 1986 (USA)
Who dies in Maximum Overdrive?
Deaths on Maximum Overdrive
|40||Homicidal steamroller||Bill Robinson|
|42||Unnamed Person||Happy Toyz Truck|
|43||Happy Toyz Truck||Hendershot|
How long is Maximum Overdrive?
How do you spell Maximum Overdrive?
When a mysterious comet passes close to Earth, machines everywhere suddenly come to life and become homicidal. Soon, video games, cash machines, drawbridges, and steamrollers all go on a psychotic killing spree of global rebellion.
What is the maximum overdrive truck?
The Happy Toyz
Why is Maximum Overdrive rated R?
Profanity. Heavy profanity through out.
What movie has trucks that come alive?
Maximum Overdrive (1986)
When did Maximum Overdrive come out?
Who wrote Maximum Overdrive?
Does Stephen King direct his own movies?
Back in 1986, many of his books — including Carrie, The Shining, The Dead Zone and Cujo — had been made into films when King decided he would direct one himself.
What kind of car was Christine?
1958 Plymouth Fury
How old is Stephen King?
73 years (September 21, 1947)
What is Stephen King’s real name?
Stephen Edwin King
Is Stephen King a pen name?
Does Stephen King have a son?
How many hours a day do writers write?
Why does Stephen King’s son have a different last name?
Joe’s middle name is Hillstrom. He dropped King and half of his middle name so he could be judged on his own for his writing talents, not his father’s. He’s been writing under the Hill name for quite a few years, started out doing short stories, and at that time no one knew who he was.
Who is Joe Hill’s father on Blue Bloods?
Joe Hill is the surprise grandson of Frank Reagan, portrayed by Tom Selleck, and we’re getting to see how his story plays out. In the Season 10 finale of Blue Bloods, Joe Hill, portrayed by Will Hochman, was brought in when Danny Reagan’s son, Sean, found his long lost cousin during a school ancestry DNA project.
Does Stephen King have brothers?
Does Stephen King use a ghostwriter?
Stephen King Outed as Ghostwriter for Entire Extended Family.
Why 1997's Maximum Overdrive Remake Was Even Worse Than Stephen King's Movie
Maximum Overdrive is famous for being the only movie Stephen King ever directed, and being bad, but the 1997 TV movie remake Trucks was even worse.
Maximum Overdrive is famous for being the only movie Stephen King ever directed, and being bad, but the 1997 TV movie remake Trucks was even worse. In the 1980s, King was high quite a lot of the time, and not on life, but on drugs. That's not meant to be an insult, as King himself is the first to admit the depths of his issues with addiction back then. In addition to being a first-time director, it's rampant cocaine use that King has placed part of the blame on for just how bad Maximum Overdrive ended up.
That's not to say that Maximum Overdrive is unwatchable, far from it in fact. While far from a good film by any conventional standard, King's directorial effort succeeds, likely unintentionally, at being so crazy as to be hilarious, in a laughing at it, not with it, kind of way. There's definitely a good amount of intended humor, but many sequences that seem intended to be frightening are the exact opposite of scary.
Related: Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive: The Horrible Injury Sustained on Set
Over the years, Maximum Overdrive has become a bit of a cult classic, precisely due to just how cheesy, wacky, and decidedly 1980s it is at every turn. One King adaptation that almost never seems to get mentioned is Trucks, a second version of the same short story from King's Night Shift collection. There's a reason for that.
Why 1997's Maximum Overdrive Remake Was Even Worse Than Stephen King's Movie
Trucks, USA's 1997 TV movie adaptation of the Stephen King short story that also inspired Maximum Overdrive, was directed by Chris Thompson, by that point a decades-long veteran of TV directing. As one might imagine, Trucks is a much more competently directed film than Maximum Overdrive, and is arguably better acted as well. It's also played much more seriously, without the wackiness found in King's movie. That sounds like it should make for a better viewing experience, but in actuality, the opposite is true.
Trucks, which definitely does look like a TV movie, sporting a somewhat flat appearance, has none of the spark and entertainment value found in Maximum Overdrive. Even if Maximum Overdrive was fun for all the wrong reasons, it was still really fun. Trucks is just plain boring and unremarkable, and at what should be a fairly lean 95 minutes, feels much longer. It's a chore to sit through, and by the half-way mark, viewers will be pining for crazy stuff like a sentient steamroller plowing over a small child. Trucks' failure just goes to show that while a bad movie can become "so bad it's good," there's little to be done to save a boring effort.
More: How Joe Hill Could Remake Maximum Overdrive (& Make It Better)
90 Day Fiancé: Tim Reveals The Real Reason Why He Can't Date VeronicaAbout The Author
Michael Kennedy is an avid movie and TV fan that's been working for Screen Rant in various capacities since 2014. In that time, Michael has written over 2000 articles for the site, first working solely as a news writer, then later as a senior writer and associate news editor. Most recently, Michael helped launch Screen Rant's new horror section, and is now the lead staff writer when it comes to all things frightening. A FL native, Michael is passionate about pop culture, and earned an AS degree in film production in 2012. He also loves both Marvel and DC movies, and wishes every superhero fan could just get along. When not writing, Michael enjoys going to concerts, taking in live professional wrestling, and debating pop culture. A long-term member of the Screen Rant family, Michael looks forward to continuing on creating new content for the site for many more years to come.
2 maximum date overdrive release
Joe Hill Wants to Write and Direct a Remake of Stephen King’s ‘Maximum Overdrive’
This article includes spoilers for Halloween Kills.
Halloween Kills is nothing if not a bold, chaotic bloodbath. Michael Myers slips into his most ruthless form, stacking up gruesome kills and a body count that rivals any Jason Voorhees flick. It’s a throwback slasher coated in themes of residual trauma, mob mentality, and surprisingly the gross mistreatment of those with mental illness by the hands of ignorance and group think. Several on screen kills pack quite the wallop 一 but the most heartbreaking scene in the film doesn’t even involve Michael Myers.
As we’re reminded time and again: human beings are the real monsters.
While The Shape carves up bodies around Haddonfield, a subplot involving a Tommy Doyle-led lynch mob and Mr. Lance Tovoli (Ross Bacon, who sadly passed away earlier this year), a bit player in Halloween 2018, depicts the sheer cruelty of human nature. Following his escape from the same bus crash, in transit from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, Tovoli wanders aimlessly through town, hoping to find someone, anyone, with an ounce of compassion. But the townsfolk are already so consumed by their own fear and paranoia that he’s mistaken for Michael Myers. After stealing a car and crashing into a building, Tovoli makes his way on foot to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital 一 walking right into the lion’s den.
There, Tommy Doyle (Anthony Michael Hall) gives an impassioned speech. “Listen, folks, the Boogeyman is at large, and he has no choice but to emerge. He’s an apex predator. When he surfaces, there will be no pause, no empathy,” he barks. The crowd closes ranks, and it is their grief, panic, and long-standing trauma that gets exploited. “Evil dies tonight!” Tommy then screeches. A terror-stricken bystander repeats the mantra, and it quickly spreads like poison. Former Sheriff Charles Brackett, now a hospital security guard, buys into this delusion, obviously stemming from the murder of his daughter Annie in 1978.
Tovoli soon arrives, winding through the hallways with a lumbered step. “Help me!” he cries through the dividing glass wall, deep pain and confusion glistening in his reflection. His pleas fall on deaf ears, of course, and he becomes the target of the town’s pent-up aggression. Earlier in the evening, news reports were plastered with both Tovoli’s and Myers’ photos, suggesting that even when faced with facts, people react by emotion. Tommy lets his own childhood trauma cloud his judgement, and when an angry spectator claims, “It’s Michael!,” all hell breaks loose.
Tovoli runs for his life up to the sixth floor, the horde hot on his heels. Moments before they can pounce, Karen, in her most well-intentioned way, attempts to console him. “I’m not going to hurt you. I know you’re scared. They’re scared, too. I’m not going to let them hurt you,” she promises. She inches closer, takes his hand, and leads him off to an enclosed corridor, where she can lock both entrances and stand as a sort of guard. But it’s all for naught. The throng of fury-fueled townspeople have only one thing on their mind: murder.
Tovoli’s delusions of persecution, a term frequent in numerous mental health illnesses and disorders, tangle with the very real reality of being railroaded as a serial killer. His face distorts in heartbreaking terror, and he quickly crumbles into tears. “Evil dies tonight!” rings out like a death knell. In his mind, he perhaps imagines himself the true Evil and the only way to end any further suffering, for himself and others, is to leap to his death. He rips a fire extinguisher off the wall and hurls its metallic bottom against the window pane; each blow acts as an exclamation point, heightening the emotional elasticity before it snaps altogether.
The glass shatters, and Tovoli ventures out onto the ledge, the cool night air hitting his face. The scene almost stands still, and for a fraction of a second, you think he could be saved after all. But the moment collapses when the mob barges through the door, and Tovoli lets his body slip from that sixth floor window. Everything he once was, is, and could be tumbles and crashes into the concrete. His mangled, bloody body twitches, eliciting shrieks and gasps from the crowd.
In less than five minutes, Halloween Kills captures the brutal tragedy of those who live with mental illness. Tovoli isn’t the first, and he most certainly won’t be the last, to die at the hands of the mental health system. Society has failed him, and we all are equally monstrous voyeurs, peering into others’ lives through social media and claiming we’re hyper-sensitive to mental health issues without actually doing anything to help.
Tovoli is a statistic.
Beneath the surface, the film also comments on the storied history of mental health institutions and the many wild treatments enforced on patients. Tovoli, who twirls a sun umbrella and has an affinity for shoelaces, is emblematic of a much larger problem that dates back 7,000 years when techniques like trephination (removing a portion of the skull) and bloodletting (rooted in Greek culture) were used to alleviate mental illness. It was believed mental disorders/illnesses were closely linked to contamination in bodily fluids. Later, in the 17th century, mental health institutions, or more egregiously known as insane asylums, became the norm and were often littered with inhumane procedures (including hydrotherapy, shock therapy, and use of straight jackets and other constraints), and unsanitary living conditions.
With her 1887 book, 10 Days in an Asylum, journalist Nellie Bly chronicles her 10-day undercover stint inside Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum, which she describes as “a human rat-trap. It is easy to get in, but once there, it is impossible to get out.” Initially, Bly plotted to take on the role as “insane,” meaning to act and speak as if she were 一 but upon arrival, she determined to talk and act “just as I do in ordinary life. Yet strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted the crazier I was thought to be by all except one physician, whose kindness and gentle ways I shall not soon forget.”
Her story, originally an assignment for the newspaper New York World, yielded grim findings on the reality of institutional care, including lack of entrance tests of mental capacity to reusing bath water for all committed patients. A fellow patient named Mrs. Cotter once described to Bly a beating and torture she endured when she broke certain protocols. “For crying the nurses beat me with a broom-handle and jumped on me, injuring me internally, so that I shall never get over it,” she reported. “Then they tied my hands and feet, and, throwing a sheet over my head, twisted it tightly around my throat, so I could not scream, and thus put me in a bathtub filled with cold water. They held me under until I gave up every hope and became senseless.”
Another patient, Miss Tillie Mayard, suffered grand delusions, firmly believing Bly was, in fact, trying to impersonate her and take over her life. “She thought that I was trying to pass myself off for her, and that all the people who called to see Nellie Brown were friends in search of her, but that I, by some means, was trying to deceive them into the belief that I was the girl.”
Such mental deterioration originated from nothing short of an appalling kind of existence. In fact, many patients who were committed involuntarily by friends or family exhibited few or no initial signs of incapacity. In a 1998 report, from the National Association of Consumer/Survivor Mental Health Administrators, one individual suggested that “if one was not a trauma survivor before entering the mental health system, one is sure to become one once labelled and locked up. In other words, no matter what theory an intervention is based on, unless the coercive culture of psychiatry is radically altered, many persons will continue to be traumatized, whether or not this such experience is repetitious of their pasts.”
The horrors inside the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum were not exclusive to this establishment. The exploitation of mental illness polluted the entire mental health system. Among the most notorious hospitals, Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (1864-1994) claimed thousands of lives and later became the home of the West Virginia Lobotomy project in the 1950s. Derelict conditions were common traits in numerous other establishments, as well, including Byberry Mental Hospital, Danvers State Hospital, Pennhurst Insane Asylum (exposed in an investigative piece called “Suffer the Little Children” by reporter Bill Baldini), and Athens Lunatic Asylum.
Countless additional reports and books have been released over the decades, from Julius Chambers’ 1876 book A Mad World and Its Inhabitants to Susannah Cahalan’s The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness, the latter which explores the Rosenhan Experiment, an experiment conducted by psychologist David Rosenhan in 1973.
Another essential reading comes from Clifford Whittingham Beers, a once promising graduate from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, who details in his 1908 autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself, “seven hundred and ninety-eight days of depression” and his confinement in both private and state hospitals. He describes the unnamed private establishment as a “little settlement of woe” where very few “competent attendants consent to work there.” Physical, emotional, and psychological abuse were everyday occurrences. “Their unconscious lack of consideration for my comfort and peace of mind was torture,” he writes. In describing one attendant’s behavior, he says, “Vitriol could not have seared my flesh more deeply than the venom of this human viper stung my soul!”
Later in his book, Beers confides that he continued struggling with suicidal thoughts during his treatment. Delusions of persecution drove him to plan his death on a near daily basis, he says. “The sooner I could die and be forgotten, the better for all with whom I had ever come in contact. To continue to live was simply to be the treacherous tool of unscrupulous detectives, eager to exterminate my innocent relatives and friends, if so their fame could be made secure in the annals of their craft.”
This passage in particular speaks directly to Tovoli’s role in Halloween Kills. The establishments that were supposed to help him 一 healthcare and the police 一 failed Tovoli at every single opportunity. “I shrank from death; but I preferred to die by my own hand and take the blame for it, rather than be executed,” Beers admits. In turn, Tivolo took it upon himself to bear the weight of life and his anxiety-ridden mind.
While mental health institutions went under a severe overhaul in the mid- to late 1900s, known as deinstitutionalization, it led to a mental health crisis, as NPR explored in a 2017 report. We are still reeling from such crimes against humanity, and as a collective, society continues handling mental health discussions with a razor-sharp stigma. In the aforementioned National Association of Consumer/Survivor Mental Health Administrators piece, this excerpt feels integral to Tivoli’s story, as well: “People who have experienced trauma and abuse perpetrated by the very system which purports to help them may have a hard time believing that this same system is now willing and able to assist them in overcoming the effects of trauma.”
The real tragedy in Halloween Kills is not the countless victims slaughtered by Michael Myers. It is that, yet again, someone cries out for help, actively seeks medical assistance, and suffers for simply existing. Mr. Tovoli didn’t have to die the way that he did, but his fictional life and death should serve as a shining morality tale. Tovoli’s very last words (“Help me!”) will forever haunt my dreams.
Continue ReadingSours: https://bloody-disgusting.com/movie/3637897/joe-hill-wants-write-direct-remake-stephen-kings-maximum-overdrive/
1986 film by Stephen King
For the song, see Maximum Overdrive (song).
Maximum Overdrive is a 1986 American supernaturalblack comedy film written and directed by Stephen King. The film stars Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, and Yeardley Smith. The screenplay was inspired by and loosely based on King's short story "Trucks", which was included in the author's first collection of short stories, Night Shift, and follows the events after all machines (including trucks, radios, drones, arcades, vending machines, etc.) go sentient when the Earth crosses the tail of a comet, initiating a worldwide killing spree.
The film is King's only directorial effort, though dozens of films have been based on his novels or short stories. It contained black humor elements and a generally campy tone, which contrasts with King's sombre subject matter in books. The film has a mid-1980s hard rock soundtrack composed entirely by the group AC/DC (King's favorite band), whose album Who Made Who was released as the Maximum Overdrive soundtrack. It includes the best-selling singles "Who Made Who", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and "Hells Bells".
Maximum Overdrive was theatrically released on July 25, 1986, to generally negative reviews from critics. It was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Director for King and Worst Actor for Estevez in 1987, but both lost to Prince for Under the Cherry Moon. In 1988, Maximum Overdrive was nominated for "Best Film" at the International Fantasy Film Awards. King disowned the film, describing it as a "moron movie", and considered the process a learning experience, after which he intended never to direct again.
As the Earth crosses the tail of a comet, previously inanimate machines suddenly spring to life; an ATM insults a customer (King in a cameo) and a bascule bridge rises during heavy traffic, causing all vehicles upon the bridge to fall into the river or collide. Chaos sets in as machines of all kinds begin attacking humans worldwide. At the Dixie Boy Truck Stop just outside Wilmington, North Carolina, employee Duncan Keller is blinded after a gas dispenser sprays diesel in his eyes. An electric knife injures waitress Wanda June, and arcade machines in the back room electrocute a customer. Cook and paroled ex-convict Bill Robinson begins to suspect something is wrong. Meanwhile, at a Little League game, a vending machine kills the coach by firing canned soda point-blank at him. A driverless roller compactor flattens one of the fleeing children, but Duncan's son Deke manages to escape on his bike.
Newlyweds Connie and Curt stop at a gas station, where a brown tow truck tries to kill Curt, but he and Connie escape in their car. Deke rides through his town as humans and even pets are brutally killed by lawnmowers, chainsaws, electric hair dryers, pocket radios, RC cars and an ice cream truck. At the Dixie Boy, a black Western Star 4800 sporting a giant Green Goblin mask on its grille runs over bible salesman Camp Loman after a red garbage truck kills Duncan. Later, several big rig trucks encircle the truck stop.
Meanwhile, a Mack truck pursues Connie and Curt, but they make it crash off the side of the road as it explodes. They arrive at the truck stop and try to pass between the trucks, but their car is hit and overturns. Bill and Brett Graham, a hitchhiker, rush to help them, but the trucks attack them. The owner Bubba Hendershot uses M72 LAW rockets he had stored in a bunker hidden under the diner to destroy many of the trucks. Deke makes it to the truck stop later that evening and tries to enter via the sewers, but is obstructed by the wire mesh covering the opening. That night, the survivors hear Loman screaming in a ditch, and Bill and Curt sneak out to help him by climbing through the sewers. Deke finds Loman and believes he is dead, but he suddenly jumps up and attacks Deke. Bill and Curt rescue Deke, and a truck chases them back into the pipe.
The next morning, a Caterpillar D7G bulldozer and an M274 Mule drive to the truck stop (the former pushes Hendershot's Cadillac inside). The angered Hendershot uses the rocket launcher to blow up the bulldozer, but the Mule fires its post-mounted M60 machine gun into the building, killing several people, including Hendershot and Wanda. The Mule then demands, via sending morse code signals through its horn that Deke deciphers, that the humans pump the trucks' diesel for them in exchange for their lives. The survivors soon realize their own machines have enslaved them. Bill suggests they escape to a local island just off the coast, on which no motorized vehicles are permitted. While the crew is resting, Bill theorizes that the comet is actually a "broom" operated by interstellar aliens that are using Earth's machines to destroy humanity so the aliens can repopulate the Earth. During a fueling operation, Bill sneaks a grenade onto the Mule vehicle, destroying it, then leads the party out of the diner via a sewer hatch to the main road just as the trucks demolish the entire truck stop. The Green Goblin truck pursues the survivors to the docks, managing to kill trucker Brad when he falls behind. After Bill destroys the truck with a direct hit from an M72 LAW rocket shot, the survivors then sail off to safety. A title card epilogue explains that two days later, a UFO was destroyed by a Soviet "weather satellite" conveniently equipped with class IV nuclear missiles and a laser cannon. Six days later, the Earth passes out of the comet's tail, and the survivors are still alive.
Trucks used in the film
The film was the first to be made by Embassy Pictures after it had been bought by Dino de Laurentiis. Principal photography began in early May 1985, in, and around Wilmington, NC, as De Laurentiis operated a large studio complex in the area. De Laurentiis chose North Carolina because it was a "right to work state," meaning that he could hire non-union crews, which would greatly cut down on production costs.
It would be the directorial debut of writer Stephen King, who had a three picture deal with De Laurentiis. In a 2002 interview with Tony Magistrale for the book Hollywood's Stephen King, first-time director King stated that he was "coked out of [his] mind all through its production, and [he] really didn't know what [he] was doing". On-set translator Roberto Croci didn't remember King's cocaine use, but recalls him drinking from early in the morning until late at night. "I never saw. I didn't. But I did know that he was drunk. That 6 o'clock in the morning we have a roll call and he's drinking beers. And by 8:30, he's on his 10th beer.
At a fan screening in 2021, Jock Brandis, the film's gaffer, told the audience that King rode a motorcycle from Maine to Wilmington, NC, so he could ride alongside semi-trucks on the highway. He wanted to get a better feel for how terrifying big-rigs could be when in close proximity, and to better know their loud sounds and movements. When King arrived at the studio on his bike for the initial production meeting, the security guards wouldn't let him through the front gate because they did not believe he was part of any production taking place on the lot. His appearance was disheveled, and he was rambling on about a film he was to direct involving killer trucks that had come alive due to a space comet. He was granted access to the studio lot after Brandis pointed out that the plates on his motorcycle were from Maine. Brandis, a Canadian gaffer who had worked with De Laurentiis on The Dead Zone, was tasked with many jobs not normally given to a film gaffer. Dino erroneously believed Brandis could speak Italian, and would be able to bridge the language gap between Italian cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi and the local crew. Nannuzzi had previously worked in Wilmington with De Laurentiis on Cat's Eye, and would struggle with communication throughout the film, often nodding and replying "yes, yes, yes," to every question. Along with being the production's chief lighting technician, Brandis procured many of the trucks used in production, most of which still featured names from actual local businesses on the cabs and trailers. Brandis is also featured in the opening scenes of the film, driving a 1968 Ford F-Series dump truck over the Isabella Holmes draw bridge when it opens.
Stephen King originally wanted Bruce Springsteen to play the role of Bill Robinson. Springsteen was unknown by De Laurentiis, so Dino personally hired "Martin's (Sheen) son," Emilio Estevez. It is believed Dino's insistence that Estévez participate in the film was when Stephen King became disillusioned with the production. King did try to create a positive environment for the crew, at one point renting out an entire theater to screen classic films such as "Godzilla" and "Night of the Living Dead." He provided free refreshments and personal commentary during each film. King would also participate in golf cart races on the studio lot during down time.
Many wardrobe and special effects choices were made by De Laurentiis personally. During a dailies screening of Laura Harrington's first scene, Dino became upset that she was wearing jeans. A new scene was written so she could change into something more revealing for the rest of the film.
The "Dixie Boy Truck Stop" set was built alongside of US-17/74, just across the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, NC. It was a purpose-built location, existing specifically for the film. The land is now a privately owned storage area.
All of the interior scenes were filmed at De Laurentiis' Wilmington based studio facility, which at the time was called "DEG," or De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. One of the iconic Green Goblin heads from the cab of the Happy Toys truck remained on the studio lot until the mid-90's, when it was sold to a private collector.
While shooting the scene when a lawnmower comes alive in a residential neighborhood, cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi was struck in the right eye, his "shooting eye," by a large splinter of wood that had become lodged in the blade. According to camera assistant Silvia Giulietti, "We were shooting a scene where a lawnmower—the machine that cut the grass—was following a boy to kill him. And we put the camera on the ground with piece of wood beneath. To wedge, okay? I remember that Armando Nanuzzi ask to Stephen King, "Can we take out the blades?" But Stephen King say, "no, no, I like to see them." Armando say, "But we don't see them in the shot." But Stephen King say, "No. No. Better that you let it." The special effects department had also suggested removing the blade for safety reasons, but King continued to insist that it remain, so the scene could appear more life-like. Nannuzzi was helicoptered from set and then flown to a hospital in Raleigh where he eventually lost his eye. Production was halted for brief period, but Nannuzzi returned to finish the film. After the film was released, Nannuzzi sued King, De Laurentiis Productions, and 16 others involved with the film for $18 million USD. The suit was filed in New York, as King and many of the other defendants often did business in that state. The case was later settled. Nannuzzi continued to work on films after his accident, but believed he would never again be considered for large budget projects, as producers wouldn't want a cameraman with no depth perception. He returned to Italy, where he worked until his retirement in 1998. He died on May 14, 2001.
During some of the studio production work, Wilmington was grazed by Hurricane Gloria. Winds and rain were very heavy, and the crews created a competition to see who could move from stage to stage without being blown over. Production was eventually halted again for a brief time while the storm passed and the studio lot could be assessed for damage.
Actor Pat Hingle, who played Dixie Boy owner Bubba Hendershot, moved to Wilmington after the production wrapped. He lived in nearby Carolina Beach until his death in 2009.
Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that "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."Variety called it "the kind of film audiences want to talk back to, the kind that throws credibility out the window in favor of crass manipulation. Unfortunately, master manipulator Stephen King, making his directorial debut from his own script, fails to create a convincing enough environment to make the kind of nonsense he's offering here believable or fun."Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "As long as King is tinkering with his crazed machines, the film sustains a certain amount of ominous tension, but as soon as the author turns his attention to his actors, the movie's slender storyline goes limp ... Worse still, the movie never really builds up any momentum or jars us with unexpected jolts of horror." Writing in the Chicago Tribune, Rick Kogan gave the film 1 star out of 4 and called it "a mess of a movie", further stating that "King's direction is heavy handed and his dialogue hackneyed and stiff."Paul Attanasio of The Washington Post wrote that the film "is like sitting alongside a 3-year old as he skids his Tonka trucks across the living room floor and says 'Whee!' except on a somewhat grander scale", and added that as a director Stephen King "proves that he hasn't got an ounce of visual style, the vaguest idea of how to direct actors or the sense that God gave a grapefruit."
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 15% based on reviews from 13 critics. On Metacritic the film has a score of 24% based on reviews from 8 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade D+ on scale of A to F.
In Leonard Maltin's annual publication TV Movie Guide, the film is given a "BOMB" rating. Two Golden Raspberry Award nominations were given out, to Emilio Estevez for Worst Actor and King for Worst Director.
John Clute and Peter Nicholls have offered a modest reappraisal of Maximum Overdrive, admitting the film's many flaws, but arguing that several scenes display enough visual panache to suggest that King was not entirely without talent as a director.
On October 2020, Stephen King's son Joe Hill expressed interest to write and direct a Maximum Overdrive remake with some alterations to the original material.
- ^"MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (18)". Recorded Releasing. British Board of Film Classification. September 3, 1987. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- ^ abFriendly, David T. (November 16, 1985). "DE LAURENTIIS REJOINS THE RANKS--AT EMBASSY: DE LAURENTIIS: EMBASSY". Los Angeles Times. p. e1.
- ^ abKNOEDELSEDER, WILLIAM K, Jr (August 30, 1987). "De Laurentiis PRODUCER'S PICTURE DARKENS". Los Angeles Times. p. 1.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- ^"Maximum Overdrive (1986)". Box Office Mojo. July 5, 1988. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- ^Beday, Jeremy. "Maximum Overdrive (1986)". AllMovie.
- ^ abOfficial summary of awards
- ^ abMagistrale, Tony (November 22, 2003). Hollywood's Stephen King. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 20. ISBN . Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- ^Thomas, Bob (July 23, 1986). "'Selling' his movie is a new chore for author Stephen King". Associated Press. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- ^ abcdefghijklmMovie, 1986. "Maximum Overdrive". Imcdb. Imcdb. Retrieved December 7, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- ^ abcdefghij"How Did This Get Made? Maximum Overdrive Oral History". September 18, 2015.
- ^"5 things to do this Wilmington weekend: Art, theater, comedy and a St. Patrick's Day parade?".
- ^"Armando Nannuzzi".
- ^"Actor Pat Hingle dies at age 84".
- ^Pareles, Jon (July 25, 1986). "Film: By Stephen King, 'Maximum Overdrive'".The New York Times. C17.
- ^"Maximum Overdrive". Variety. December 31, 1985.
- ^Goldstein, Patrick (July 28, 1986). "'Maximum Overdrive' Spins its Wheels".Los Angeles Times. Part VI, p. 8.
- ^Kogan, Rick (July 29, 1986). "King's a horror at directing". Chicago Tribune. Section 5, p. 3.
- ^Attanasio, Paul (July 29, 1986). "King's Crash Course".The Washington Post. C2.
- ^"Maximum Overdrive (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- ^"Maximum Overdrive". Metacritic. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
- ^"Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
- ^Maltin, Leonard (1994). "Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide".
- ^John Clute and Peter Nichols. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1993. ISBN 0-312-09618-6.
- ^Squires, John (October 22, 2020). "Joe Hill Wants to Write and Direct a Remake of Stephen King's 'Maximum Overdrive'". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
- ^"How Joe Hill Could Remake Maximum Overdrive (& Make It Better)". ScreenRant. October 29, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
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She seemed dissatisfied with something. I didnt know how to return her to that short, mute scene that was played out over the image of her body. (and that it was she, I was sure). The state in which she came at the thought that some man saw her open, excited, in an obscene pose, seemed.