Maximum Overdrive (1986)

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Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Post  BoG on Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:11 pm


About 15 years after this film was released, Stephen King admitted in an interview that he was coked out of his mind during the filming and didn't know what he was doing. In light of this confession, it's difficult to apply legit criticism to the result, as we now know it was meant to be inept. I'll offer a few bits of critique, some of which may have nothing to do with the actual directing. King, btw, cameos in an early scene.
 
ABOVE: King, coked out or just a bad Director?

This was King's first and only directing job. The film was based on a short story of his, Trucks (it was remade as a TV Movie in 1998). In the plot, the Earth is passing through the trail of a comet - cheesy FX have our planet surrounded by a green radiance. All machinery begins to act on its own, in a homicidal manner. This ranges from small devices to lawnmowers, but most of the threat is from large trucks. Most of the action takes place at a truck stop, where several workers and patrons are besieged. King seems to have copied, both in his story and the film, the famous story by Theodore Sturgeon, Killdozer (itself made into a TV movie in 1974).
King's characters are mostly caricatures and cliches. Emilio Estevez as the lead is kind of colorless, but Pat Hingle hams it up mightily as the mean owner of the truck stop. Many of the smaller roles are clownish, with much overacting, and several characters die simply due to stupidity. Really terrible is a waitress wigging out, repeatedly yelling "We made you!" (referring to the trucks); she adopts this strange pose at one point, as if she's kidding around (maybe King used a lot of coke on the day of filming this scene). Besides all the silliness, the editing is also badly handled. An early example is the death of a young patron, who gets electrocuted by a video game machine. It cuts to an expressionless Hingle for some reason.
The only one who comes away with some dignity is Laura Harrington as a young woman and possible love interest for Estevez. And, I guess the truck with the Goblin head on front strikes a kind of iconic figure now (that's the head of the Green Goblin, a Spider-Man villain). In the end, it's revealed that this was probably the first step in an alien invasion and, in another ridiculous mention, that a Soviet satellite saved us all  Rolling Eyes  BoG's Score: 3 out of 10

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Behind the Overdrive

Post  BoG on Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:10 pm


ABOVE: Stephen King plays with little trucks when he should be directing...
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