Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen King|
|Produced by||Martha Schumacher|
|Screenplay by||Stephen King|
|Based on|| Trucks |
by Stephen King
|Edited by||Evan A. Lottman|
|Distributed by||De Laurentiis Entertainment Group|
|Box office||$7.4 million or $3.5 million (North America)|
Maximum Overdrive is a 1986 American comedy horror 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 .
Maximum Overdrive is King's only directorial effort, though dozens of films have been based on his novels or short stories. The film 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. AC/DC's 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".
The film was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Director for King and Worst Actor for Estevez in 1987, but both lost against Prince for Under the Cherry Moon . In 1988, Maximum Overdrive was nominated for "Best Film" at the International Fantasy Film Awards. King himself described the film as a "moron movie". He considers 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. At a roadside truck stop just outside Wilmington, North Carolina, an employee, Duncan Keller, is blinded after a gas dispenser sprays diesel in his eyes. A waitress, Wanda June, is injured by an electric knife, and arcade machines in the back room electrocute another victim. Employee and 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 into his skull. A driverless steamroller flattens one of the fleeing children, but one named Deke Keller (Duncan's son) manages to escape on his bike.
A newly-wed couple, Connie (Yeardley Smith) and Curtis (John Short), stop at a gas station, where a brown tow truck tries to kill Curtis, 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, and RC cars. At the truck stop, a black Western Star 4800 sporting a giant Green Goblin mask on its grille runs over a Bible salesman after a red garbage truck kills Duncan and dumps some of the junk on the Bible salesman’s car to make him so angry that he insults its “driver”. Later, several big rig trucks encircle the truck stop.
Meanwhile, Connie and Curtis are pursued by a truck, but they make it crash off the side of the road as it exploded. They arrive at the truck stop and try to pass between the trucks, but their car is hit and overturns. Bill and Brett, a hitchhiker, rush to help them, but the trucks attack them. Bill's boss 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 the Bible salesman screaming in a ditch, and Bill and Curtis sneak out to help him by climbing through the sewers. Deke finds the Bible salesman and believes he is dead, but he suddenly jumps up and attacks Deke. Bill and Curtis rescue Deke, and a truck chases them back into the pipe.
The next morning, a Caterpillar D7G bulldozer and an M274 Mule drive through the diner. Hendershot uses the rocket launcher to blow the bulldozer away. The Mule fires its post-mounted M60 machine gun into the building, killing several people. 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 they have become enslaved by their own machines. Robinson suggests they escape to a local island just off the coast, on which no vehicles or machines are permitted. During a fueling operation, Robinson 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 survivors are pursued to the docks by the Green Goblin truck, which manages to kill Brad the trucker. Robinson 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.
The film was the first to be made by Embassy Pictures after it had been bought by Dino de Laurentiis. In a 2002 interview with Tony Magistrale for the book Hollywood's Stephen King, King stated that he was "coked out of [his] mind all through its production, and [he] really didn't know what [he] was doing".
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."
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 Nichols 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.
Evil Dead II is a 1987 American comedy horror film directed by Sam Raimi, and both a sequel to and a parody of the 1981 horror film The Evil Dead. Written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel, Evil Dead II is produced by Robert Tapert and stars Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, who vacations with his girlfriend to a remote cabin in the woods. He discovers an audio tape of recitations from a book of ancient texts, and when the recording is played, it unleashes a number of demons which possess and torment him.
Martha Maria Yeardley Smith is a French born American actress, writer and artist. She is known for her long-running role as Lisa Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons.
Night Shift is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King, first published in 1978. In 1980, Night Shift received the Balrog Award for Best Collection, and in 1979 it was nominated as best collection for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award. Many of King's most famous short stories were included in this collection.
Leonard Michael Maltin is an American film critic and film historian, as well as an author of several mainstream books on cinema, focusing on nostalgic, celebratory narratives.
Emilio Estevez is an American actor, director, and writer. He is the brother of actor Charlie Sheen and the son of actor Martin Sheen. Estevez started his career as an actor and is well known for being a member of the acting Brat Pack of the 1980s, starring in The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire, and acting in the 1983 hit movie The Outsiders. He is also known for Repo Man, The Mighty Ducks and its sequels, Stakeout and Another Stakeout, Maximum Overdrive, Bobby, and his performances in Western films such as Young Guns and its sequel.
Agostino "Dino" De Laurentiis was an Italian-American film producer. Along with Carlo Ponti, he was one of the producers who brought Italian cinema to the international scene at the end of World War II. He produced or co-produced more than 500 films, of which 38 were nominated for Academy Awards. He also had a brief acting career in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Rainy Season is a short horror story by Stephen King, first published in the Spring 1989 issue of Midnight Graffiti magazine, and later included in King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection. It ended a bout of writer's block from which King had been suffering.
"Trucks" is a short story by Stephen King, first published in the June 1973 issue of Cavalier magazine, and later collected in King's 1978 collection Night Shift.
Silver Bullet is a 1985 American horror film based on the Stephen King novella Cycle of the Werewolf. It stars Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Everett McGill, Megan Follows, Terry O'Quinn, Lawrence Tierney, Bill Smitrovich, Kent Broadhurst, David Hart, and James Gammon. The film is directed by Dan Attias, written by King and produced by Dino De Laurentiis.Now considered a cult classic.
Loving You is a 1957 American Technicolor musical drama structured as Elvis Presley's first starring film vehicle, following his debut the previous year in a supporting role in the black-and-white film Love Me Tender. Directed by Hal Kanter, the cast includes Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey, and Dolores Hart in her movie debut.
"Maximum Homerdrive" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons' tenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on March 28, 1999. In the episode, Homer challenges trucker Red Barclay to a meat eating contest, which Barclay is the long-standing champion of. Barclay wins, but quickly dies of "beef poisoning", making it the first time Barclay will miss a shipment. Feeling bad for him, Homer takes on the duty of transporting Barclay's cargo to Atlanta, with his son Bart by his side.
William Carey Loftin was an American professional stuntman, stunt coordinator and actor in the U.S. film industry. He is considered to be one of the film industry's most accomplished stunt drivers. In a lengthy career spanning 61 years, his body of work included classic films such as Thunder Road, Bullitt, Vanishing Point, Duel, and The French Connection. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Car is a 1977 American horror film directed by Elliot Silverstein and written by Michael Butler, Dennis Shryack and Lane Slate. The film stars James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley and Ronny Cox, along with real-life sisters Kim and Kyle Richards. It tells the story of a mysterious car which goes on a murderous rampage, terrorizing the residents of a small town.
Frankie Russel Faison, often credited as Frankie R. Faison, is an American actor known for his role as Deputy Commissioner Ervin Burrell in the HBO series The Wire and as Barney Matthews in the Hannibal Lecter franchise.
Armando Nannuzzi was an Italian cinematographer and camera operator active from the 1940s until the 1990s. His career spanned six decades and over 100 films.
Laura Harrington is an American actress.
Trucks is a 1997 Canadian and American television horror film directed by Chris Thomson. It is a remake based on Stephen King's short story "Trucks", which also served as the source material for the earlier film Maximum Overdrive, the only film directed by King.
Holter Ford Graham is an American actor and voice actor from Baltimore, Maryland. He appeared in his first film, Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive, at age thirteen. He is best known for his film work in the original John Waters’s Hairspray; the Oscar-nominated Fly Away Home; Six Ways to Sunday; Spin the Bottle; and Offspring, as well as his television work on Damages, Rescue Me, Law & Order, Army Wives, and New York Undercover. From 2008 – 2010, Graham was the co-host of Planet Green’s groundbreaking environmental program, Wasted. Since 2000, he has been the voice of HBO, and has narrated over 150 audio books, winning dozens of awards for his work.
Frank P. Keller was an American film and television editor with 24 feature film credits from 1958 - 1977. He is noted for the series of films he edited with director Peter Yates, for his four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Film Editing ("Oscars"), and for the "revolutionary" car chase sequence in the film Bullitt (1968) that likely won him the editing Oscar.
The 9th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards were released by the Hastings Bad Cinema Society in 1987 to honour the worst films the film industry had to offer in 1986. As follows, there was only a Worst Picture category with provided commentary for each nominee, as well as a list of films that were also considered for the final list but ultimately failed to make the cut.
Master manipulator Stephen King