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Maximum Overdrive

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Editorial Reviews

"I'm gonna scare the hell out of you," intones Stephen King in the trailer for his sole directorial effort, the much-maligned Maximum Overdrive. While the end result doesn't live up to that boast, this sci-fi/horror tale isn't as awful as it's been described. King's script (based on his short story "Trucks") focuses on the patrons of a North Carolina truck stop, which comes under attack by a convoy of trucks and other machines animated by Earth's passage through the tail of a "rogue comet." King's fans, tired of half-baked screen adaptations like Cujo and Children of the Corn, expected a horror home run from Maximum Overdrive and instead got an old-fashioned drive-in movie filled with car crashes, cheapjack gore, and fart jokes. Needless to say, they stayed away in droves; the film's failure helped ruin producer Dino De Laurentiis's DEG Films and forced King to sheepishly claim that he had created a modern-day Plan Nine from Outer Space. While the film is torpidly paced and often amateurishly acted, it's no worse than any direct-to-video thriller, and King's ear for dialogue occasionally shines through the gloom. Emilio Estevez and Pat Hingle register as a heroic cook and his black-hearted boss, respectively; the cast includes Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson's voice), Giancarlo Esposito, and Marla Maples (!) as a victim. Anchor Bay's letterboxed print is the R-rated theatrical version; the film was cut extensively after receiving an X rating for violence. The original trailer and a thorough biography on King are also included. --Paul Gaita

Special Features

  • Stephen King Bio

Product Details

  • Actors: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, R. Pickett Bugg, Jack Canon, Giancarlo Esposito
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (443 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000509C5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,768 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Maximum Overdrive" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

This is just a bad movie.
Birgeen King
It is an 80's genre movie with great action, story line and Character development.
I saw it years ago the first time and loved it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Rog on November 26, 2004
Format: DVD
I have been watching this movie since I was about 7 years old and still never get tired of it. I have probably seen it about 150 times and continue to find enjoyment. There is a review posted that completly bashes this movie and basically tells readers not to waste their time. Well, I have to disagree. While the mvie is not nearly as good as the book(are they ever???), it still has strong entertainment value.

First, it humorous and not because it's cheesy, but because it is funny! The dialgoue between characters, the situations they are put in and the reactions some have to the machines taking over; are all reasons to watch this movie.

The acting might not be the best, but by no means, is it bad. Emilio Estevez is our main character, and does a fine job as Bubba, an ex-convict, short-order diner cook. His boss(who's name I can't remember), plays your typical Texan in charge of his business, who amazingly has a secret stash of bazookas and guns below the diner(perfect for antagonizing the trucks outside). I also love the newlyweds in this movie. I believe their names are Curtis and Connie and they are a ball of laughs.

Honestly folks, this movie is very entertaining and suitable for younger kids to watch. There really aren't many scares(I was never afraid to watch this movie as a child), but there is mild gore and a few thrilling moments.

Great job Mr. King!!!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tom Patrick on March 30, 2001
Format: DVD
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE is a funny, gory, end of the world thriller from Stephen King (who directs for the first time from one of his published short stories). The story is about a comet that flies across the Earth, and after that, machines all over the world begin to come to life and take on a life force of there own (cars and trucks run down innocent people, electric knives cut there victims, soda pop machines shoot soda cans out like grenades, etc.). The main part of the story takes place at a gas station where the machines have people trapped inside, fighting for there lives, and figuring out a way to escape. The music to this movie is nothing but memorable songs from the great rock band AC/DC.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robb on September 26, 2002
Format: DVD
How could anyone in their right mind give this a review of anything less than 5 stars???Ok, ok...Maybe I'm a little biased being that I'm one of the biggest AC/DC fans in the whole world. But besides that, How could you have not loved this flick? First off... The box itself warns you on the cover A: Steven King flick and B: AC/DC does the entire soundtrack. So there, you've been warned... if you don't like either one of those, you had no business renting/buying/viewing the movie. The film itself differs from your typical King story(Not to mention it was written for the screen)... It was a simple concept yet, a fun concept: Virtually anything with a motor or electronic circuitry with the potential to maim and/or kill life on earth is brought to animation by a mysterious green glow sent out by alien life forms awaiting to take over the soon to be vacant planet!!! And so the story goes, 10-15 people are trapped in the Dixie Boy truck stop in either North or South Carolina (I forget which)with nothing but brains, beer and a small yet sufficient cache of weapons, including but not limited to: Machine guns, bazookas/rocket launchers and grenades!!! If they can hold out long enough against the army of diesel trucks that surrounds them, they just might make it out alive!!! Oh, and did I mention that AC/DC does the entire soundtrack?!?! Which,might I add, if you were to only own one AC/DC album, it should be "Who made who?" the Official soundtrack to this monster of a movie!! Personally, I can watch this movie anytime and it makes my day a whole lot better...of course, to each is own. Not to mention that I am kind of a redneck. Bottom line though,whether your a King fan,an AC/DC fan, or just a fan of Big trucks, rednecks, guns and beer with a whole lotta explosions... Buy this movie, you won't be dissapointed!!! Until then...Adios Amigos!..............thebluetape...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Only-A-Child VINE VOICE on January 15, 2007
Format: DVD
"Maximum Overdrive" (1986) is what you would get if you crossed "Duel" with "Night of the Living Dead" and significantly amped up the parody component of each film (there is a little "Temors" here as well). Not exactly highbrow, it is considerably more entertaining than its rating score would indicate; especially if you can connect with the parody element.

Written and directed by Stephen King on a very modest special effects budget, the story shifts between idyllic small-town and redneck truck stop somewhere in North Carolina. A UFO has somehow gained control over most machines (insert "Metropolis" here) which proceed to slaughter a considerable number of people.

Neither the film nor King's original story seem to have anything profound to say about aliens, humans, or machines. That is probably for the best as deep philosophy would only get in the way of the entertainment value of this thing.

Like the farm house in "Night of the Living Dead", those who remain alive take refuge in a nearby truck stop. Pat Hingle gives an over-the-top performance as the greedy owner who just happens to have a small arsenal of weapons concealed on the premises. Yeardley Smith as a stressed-out newlywed provides additional comic relief. Emilio Estavez and Laura Harrington provide the story's romantic element. Music is by King's favorite band AC/DC. Although everything from lawnmowers to blow dryers get into the act, most of the focus is on the eighteen-wheelers which besiege the truck stop around the clock.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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