Revisting Maximum Overdrive: Stephen King’s one time stint!

Over the holidays I picked up one of those double feature dvds at yes you guessed it…..Walmart. Though it doen’t make me a proud man to shop there there’s really not much of a choice when you’re in northern Florida visiting with your family over Christmas! Anyway it was a good deal, what can I say, two movies for five bucks! One of them being Maximum Overdrive and other Raw Deal starring Arnold Schwarzennger both 80’s classics nonetheless. So how could I turn that combo down for a measely five bones?

Though I am a big fan of old Arnold flicks what really sold me was Maximum Overdrive! I haven’t seen this movie since the 80’s! All I could really remember was that I thought it was pretty awesome back in the day and that one of the trucks had the Green Goblin’s face sticking out of the front of it. Well once I actually got to watching it I remembered a couple other interesting things about it as well. First was that it had a rockin’ soundtrack done exclusively by ACDC (there was even a black van they kept showing in it with their logo on it) which I might add makes the movie worthwhile alone just for that. Secondly I realized it was directed by Stephen King himself! It is in fact the only movie he ever directed and upon viewing this one again there’s probably good reason why that happened.

I can only assume that King must have been going for a downright ridiculous vibe to this flick though in the trailer he seems to think this is a scary movie??!! He seems to make the promise that he’s gonna scare the hell out of you too. Not the case. He also seems to think that he’s maybe the only one to direct a  Stephen King movie right? Well Stephen after watching his movie I think must have realized that perhaps sticking to writing was the best choice. But I do love the fact that he’s got strings attached to the  evil vehicles as if he’s their puppeteer!!  There’s really no way he could have intended it to be taken seriously.

 As most of you know the movie’s premise is quite simple, for seven days a comet causes a strangley glowing green sky and the earths machines to become homicidal. Meaning everything goes crazy, automobiles, arcade cames, sprinklers and someone is even murdered from a soda pop machine! One of the most humorous parts is when a woman is attacked by an electric knife with an attitude. How it moves to attack her when hurled to the floor is in itself a mystery. The main plot follows a mismatched group of people trapped at a truck stop with Emilio Estevez as the “hero” as stated repeatedly by his love interest. Outside is an evil  group of semi trucks that like to drive around in circles in the parking lot and demand to be gassed up!

I’d say this movie is most definately a classic with some pretty bad acting, one liners and a ton of fun. Assuming that’s what King was going for as his stories otherwise have always been so beautifully written. It’s funny though because as a kid I really don’t remember it that way. But there’s also the fact that it was his one and only experience directing a movie. Well either way I’m glad he did direct it with this outcome because it was the perfect remedy for a nasty hangover. Some good fun from 1986 that didn’t demand too many braincells to be working to enjoy…now let’s see how Raw Deal holds up huh? 



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