Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Maximum Overdrive - 1986

Maximum Overdrive was nominated for multiple Razzies, it's been called by writer director Stephen King as the worst adaptation of one of his books, and was a box office bomb.  Those ingredients together always make for a genuine cult classic.  And man, this movie was also hard to find.  Only available to save the DVD on Netflix, no watch instantly option on Hulu or Amazon, I actually was only able to see this movie because my wife signed up for Showtime for a month, where this was randomly an option.

These ingredients always make a cult film; one of the trademarks of a classic is it's inaccessibility.  You know something has a following if you find the VHS for sale on Amazon.  That's like, the cut off point for a classic - especially if the VHS is expensive, like $10 or more.  Cause then you're embarking on "collectible" territory.  Shit man.  This movie was damn classic.

Why does this get it's bad rap?  Yes, it's over the top as hell.  It's all sorts of zany insanity, it's really flashing and pomp and in your face 100% of the time.  The budget was big and bloated, the movie is grimy and it doesn't ever pretend to be something it's not.  According to wikipedia someone besides me also thought this was actually a pretty good show by Stephen King.  This is the only movie he ever directed, and he was reportedly coked out of his head the entire time, and has no memory of the experience at all.  But for all that, this movie is extremely linear, makes tons of sense, is really quite good, and shows a huge amount of talent.

I read a bunch of Stephen King books, I don't know for sure if I read this one or not.  I remember parts of Night Shift, and most likely I read the original short story Trucks.  The plot is that due to a comet that passes close to Earth, a bunch of appliances randomly gain a life of their own and start to attack people.  At first it's a bunch of different things, and then later seems to transition to just cars, and mainly big rigs, like semis and tractors and that stuff.  It's not explained, nor does it need to be.  This is a movie where you check your rationality as you watch it.  Don't approach this and try to follow along as if things will all be explained.

The movie has a good cast too, Emilio Estevez in his second cool sci fi feature after Repo Man.  Pat Hingle in a supporting role, and Yeardley Smith.  The effects- the trucks- are awesome also.  I'm sure it was a kind of simple feat, making the trucks drive without visible drivers.  People forget that simplicity is sometimes all you need.  A simple idea, cars driving and acting on their own, is all you need.  Then run with it.  The effects are real, there's some cool explosions and some interesting destruction.  This movie is somewhat known for the "Green Goblin truck"

I couldn't tell ya if this was in the book or not, but it's just great.  Things like this make your movie memorable.  I remembered this from the original time I saw this movie, which was over 10 years ago.  I think people overlook the weirdness factor a lot these days.  Weird = good I think.
Fuck ya'll.  There is no reason this movie deserves to get forgotten, it should be playing at the midnight theaters alongside every bad movie, B movie, cult movie, ever.

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