Movie Review – Maximum Overdrive (1986)

This Halloween, I have been diligently trying to watch one horror movie a day. I have been following a list of prompts from Horrorjunkie103178 and on Tuesday October 20, the suggestion was Stephen King Night. Looking for movies on Amazon Prime, I decided to rent Maximum Overdrive. This was a first time watch of the cult classic for me.

The movie starts with a super imposed image of the Earth with the following information – “June 19, 1987 – Earth passed into the extraordinarily diffuse tail of Rhea-Ma, a rogue comet. According to astronomical calculations -the planet would remain in the tail of the comet for the next 8 days, 5 hours, 29 minutes, and 23 seconds.”

On a beautiful day in Wilmington, North Carolina, a man tries to get money from an ATM and the screen flashes “you are an asshole” repeatedly.  AC/DC’s Who Made Who plays over the titles as we see more havoc being caused, this time on a bridge that suddenly goes up, causing cars and trucks to smash into each other and a truck of watermelons losing its load, smashing into vehicles.

After the credits, a trucker driving a Happy Toyz rig pulls into the Dixie Boy Truck Stop to fill up on diesel. The setting of the movie takes place primarily at this location as machines in the restaurant start coming to life and attacking the staff and customers. It will be a battle for survival once the trucks come to life and start circling the truck stop, preventing people from leaving.

This movie looks and feels outdated, but the message remains fresh and important now more than ever – society relying way too much on technology and technology going awry. After watching the movie, I spoke to my friend about it. I told him that this movie is ripe for a remake. Compared to 1986, we rely on a lot on tech every day of our lives. What would happen if technology turned on us in 2020? What would it look like? Imagine people on their smart phones getting electrocuted by the devices. A family’s new smart home trying to kill its inhabitants. Asking Alexa for the weather and her telling you to go f—k yourself. My advice – put down that calculator and do the math yourself or else!

Maximum Overdrive stars Emilio Estevez, Laura Harrington, Pat Hingle, Yeardley Smith, John Short, and Christopher Munley. The movie was written for the screen and directed by Stephen King, who also has a cameo in the film. There is also a cameo by a young Giancarlo Esposito early on in the film as well.

This movie is pure 80s cheese at its finest. This movie should be watched at least once, preferably with a few beers. It’s a sci fi/horror cult classic. The science is a bit iffy and far fetched (X Ray IMDB has some of the real science behind what’s shown on screen) but the horror. Oh yes, the horror is shocking and vile and you might need to pause the movie a few times to catch your breath.

Who knows? After you watch the movie, you might need to unplug a few appliances you aren’t using and give yourself a break from looking at your smart phone. These actions just may save your life!