Maximum Overdrive
Maximum Overdrive (1986).jpg
Title: Maximum Overdrive
Directed by: Stephen King
Written by: Stephen King
Produced by: Dino De Laurentiis; Martha Schumacher
Music by: AC/DC
Cinematography: Armando Nannuzzi
Edited by: Evan A. Lottman
Distributed by: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Released: July 25th, 1986
Rating: R
Running time: 97 min.
Country: USA
Language: English
Budget: $10,000,000
Gross: $7,433,663 [1]

Maximum Overdrive is an American feature film blending elements of science fiction and horror. It is loosely based on the 1973 short story "Trucks" by author Stephen King. The film adaptation was written and directed by King, marking his first, and to date, only professional work as a director. The film stars Emilio Estevez as Bill Robinson, Pat Hingle as Bubba Hendershot, Laura Harrington as Brett, Yeardley Smith as Connie, John Short as Curtis, Ellen McElduff as Wanda June and J.C. Quinn as Duncan Keller.

Plot[edit | edit source]

As the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, previously inanimate objects (ranging from vehicles to lawnmowers to an electric knife) start to show a murderous life of their own. In a pre-title scene, a man (cameoed by Stephen King, the film's writer and director) tries to withdraw money from an ATM, but it instead calls him an "asshole". Marauding big rig [trucks] trap a small group of people in a roadside [truck stop] called "The Dixie Boy" just outside [Wilmington,_North_Carolina]. When the trucks begin demanding more than blood (they order the humans to pump diesel fuel), the Dixie Boy survivors realize they will become enslaved by their own machines, and they must escape to Haven Island just off the coast of North Carolina, on which no vehicles or machines were permitted. Bill Robinson (Emilio Estevez) rallies the survivors; they use a cache of guns found hidden under the diner. The trucks fight back themselves, at one point human fatalities result from a gun firing its mounted M60 machine gun into the building. Eventually the survivors escape to the docks where the featured Green Goblin semi kills one more trucker. The semi is destroyed and the humans sail off to safety. At film's end, a perfunctory title card strongly implies extraterrestrials were behind the homicidal machines as part of a preliminary invasion. The machines are stopped and the invasion ends with the destruction of a UFO by a Soviet Union "weather satellite" equipped with nuclear missiles and a laser cannon.

Cast[edit | edit source]

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Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Prior to the release of Maximum Overdrive, there were a number of scenes that were showed to the MPAA that were considered "too extreme" at the time. These scenes were never reinstated in any DVD release and are presumed lost. The scenes were; Six seconds of the military vehicle shooting up Bubba Hendershot, then he moans "huuuh?" and droping the rocket launcher, three seconds of the driverless steamroller running over Bobby at the baseball diamond, three seconds of the Bible Salesman losing his face and it falling into his lap in the drainage ditch, three seconds of the ill-Fated video player saying "Wow!" just before getting zapped by an arcade machine in the Game Room, and about three seconds of the motorcyclist sliding down the drawbridge and throwing his arms over his face. There are also reports of a matte painting of a major American city utterly in ruins by the hay-wired machines, we see a dead ice cream man in the ice cream truck as Deke hides from it in the suburbs, after Wanda is attacked by the electrical cutting-knife, a trucker, Frank (John Brasington), gets his right index finger sliced off by it. He screams and clutches the blooded stump close to his mouth, we actually get to see the dog in the suburbs get a remote-controlled toy police car rammed into its mouth (killing it), we also get to see a rotting blooded corpse of a school bus driver in the "retired" school bus; the camera zooms in on the corpses face, there's also a mangled up body by the lawnmower in the suburbs; the camera pans along the lawn slowly. Then we see that the body was chewed in half (by the waste up) covered in blood. We also get to see the Coach's forehead with an imprint from the can that swells up (like a basketball expanding in his head), then sprays blood out (like a water fountain), and finally pops (leaving that red patch of blood on his forehead). Deke talks to the "near-dead" Coach just before he dies. Rumors were that these scenes were lost or destroyed by the studio. However, in the early 90s, there was a fully uncut VHS tape that was released by Karl-Lorimar Video (KLV-TV) that "in fact" included all lost footage. The back of the cover had an R-Rated symbol slapped on.

See also[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

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This article relates to the works of Stephen King.
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