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Stephen King has had a few duds in his time, whether it's a book written by him made into a movie (not his fault if it's a good book that's done poorly), or it's a screenplay written by him and then he makes it into a movie (definitely his fault). But for the few duds that he's had, I personally think most of his movies are pretty good or are at least watchable. This one doesn't have too much worth to it, except for maybe the nostalgia factor, or if you want to complete your Stephen King movie collection (which is better than trying to complete say the Omen collection or the Exorcist collection when only the original is a five star movie and the rest isn't even close).
Maximum Overdrive starts out with a comet that is supposed to last for eight days and change, and in the meantime machines just do things crazily by themselves or perhaps it's under alien possession (demonic possession would make more sense to me, but I didn't write the story). I wasn't quite sure what was the deal with machines, but it had something to do with the comet. Arcade game machines become electric chairs, pop machines become pitching machines, electric knives go on killing sprees, and lawnmowers mow down people instead of grass-this is all actually kind of funny, but I'm not sure if that's what Stephen King was trying to do, maybe it was, I got a few chuckles out of it. Anyway, after this the movie focuses more on vehicular homicide and the Dixie Boy Truck Stop, where the rest of the story takes place. It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense after that. The semis keep driving around in circles trapping everyone in the truck stop, until they run low on fuel. Then they need someone to fill them back up, so they resort to morse code to get refueled. And the only defense against these machines is the stockpile of ammo that just happens to be in the basement of the truck stop (very convenient, most truck stop owners hide grenades, machine guns, and rocket launchers in their basement-question is, how do they finance so many weapons? maybe I'm in the wrong business).
I guess there is some worth to this movie. Musically AC/DC sounds great with Who Made Who, Shake Your Foundations, and so on. Comically, there are a few good spots. When the waitress keeps yelling "We made you..." until the machine gun vehicle finally shoots her, that was kind of funny. And the best part is at the beginning with Stephen King himself. "That machine called me an @sshole" and seeing Stephen King's face afterward, now that was funny (obviously intentionally by Mr. King). And then there's the nostalgia factor. I watched this movie when I was a kid, and I thought it was dumb. I still think it's dumb, but I kind of like it now because it's so dumb, maybe kind of like the cult following that one of Ed Wood's movies got. So bad that it's good. I have to give Stephen King props for trying, but this is not even close to Carrie, The Stand, The Shining, or even Sleepwalkers. Maybe Tommyknockers, just maybe. The characters are kind of lame in the movie. The only one you try to root for maybe is Emilio Estevez, and that's only a maybe. Otherwise, I was rooting for the machines. In fact, my favorite character in the whole movie was the Goblin Semi (looks like the Goblin on Noddy from the Sprout network, you'd understand if you have kids who watch that show), and he (or it) didn't even utter a word but at least he looked cool taking out the morons at the Dixie Boy Truck Stop.
I'm glad to see that eBayers are generally giving this movie high marks because it was panned to death by critics, and I never understood why. It still holds true that there's simply no way to perfectly translate a Stephen King story onto film, but Maximum Overdrive takes perfect advantage of the elements of mixing humor with horror to take you on a ride that is all about your frame of mind. You have to be willing to suspend belief to truly "get" this picture, but if you can, the story is AWESOME!
Look for King's trademark cameo at the beginning of the flick ... and who's that in the car waiting for him? None other than Tabitha King! Yeardley Smith (who most know as the voice of Lisa Simpson) is PERFECT in her role as a whiney young bride who got quite a different honeymoon than she'd bargained for.
The soundtrack - lots of hard-hitting AC/DC - absolutely makes this movie. Go ahead! Don't be afraid. Let The Master take you for yet another stroll into the dark, secluded woods, where he will abandon you for the sheer pleasure of watching your reaction. Once again, if slasher movies are your thing, Stephen King isn't for you. He's all about the mind - making you laugh and scream and crawl in your own skin. Maximum Overdrive accomplishes that in spades.
This movie may not be an Oscar contender, or have a Trilogy or more sequels like some other horror movies, but the unique story line that could only come from the mind of Stephen King, coupled with the awesome AC/DC soundtrack, make it one of the best ever, bar none. The acting can get a little, cheesy at times, but, hey, its a horror film. Compared to many of the 70's and 80's B-Movie type of flicks, this is way better. Just the thought of machines rising up against their human creators, makes you think, what would we do without all of the mechanical junk we use everyday? This is probably one of the points Mr. King is trying to get across. Overall this movie is a one of a kind Horror experience with a kick-ass soundtrack, one of the best Stephen King adaptations to film.
Stephen King's first and only film he directed. Based on his short story trucks. A classic dumb fun 80s horror film. AC/DC provides the soundtrack.
Great movie starring Emilio Estevez in a classic 80's action horror film, machines take over the world and it's up to a small group led by estevez to fend off the trucks, soda machines, lawnmowers etc. A great 80's film