king of cocaine

Michael After Midnight: MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE

What do you get when you cross Stephen King with cocaine, AC/DC, and Hot Wheels? You get MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, the most fucking awesome B-movie of the 1980s and a highlight of King’s career that he is incredibly ashamed of. Sure, it’s trashy, cheesy, and absurd, but it’s a damn fun time! Why does he hate this movie so?

This is based on one of King’s own short stories, so the man himself decided to take the director’s seat and deliver his vision to the world… and yes, he was indeed high on coke by his own admission, and, to be honest, it kinda shows considering how ridiculous this film gets. But the ridiculous nature of MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE is what makes it so silly and charming. You would have to be one of the most hardcore snobs ever to be able to resist the dumb, fun charms of MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, what with its rocket launchers, killer trucks, and hilariously awkward title drop.

And now for the plot summary of MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE: A meteor or some shit (it’s later revealed to be aliens or some shit at the epilogue) is making all of Earth’s tech come to life, from ATMs and soda machines to lawnmowers and, yes, trucks. A group of people get trapped inside a diner that’s surrounded by trucks, including one with a Green Goblin head on it. Can they defeat the 18-wheeled menaces that lurk outside, or will they end up roadkill?

This movie is ridiculous, which is precisely what makes it so awesome. Imagine Christine amped up to 11 and way cheesier and this is about what you’d get. It really feels like a classic B-grade horror/sci-fi film from the days of old, just a silly premise with enough action to keep you entertained between ridiculous dialogue and the utter absurdity of killer trucks.

There’s at least one thing in this movie everyone can agree is fucking awesome on purpose: the AC/DC soundtrack. AC/DC makes everything better, so it’s no surprise they help make this movie kick al kinds of ass. “Who Made Who” and “Hell’s Bells” and so much hard rock is sure to get you amped up while you watch the mechanical carnage before you unfold.

Of course, there are downsides, the biggest one being the presence of Yeardley Smith, who you likely know much better as the voice of Lisa Simpson. Much as she’s the most obnoxious character on The Simpsons, she’s the most obnoxious character in this movie, and you WILL wish a truck would run her over by film’s end. She apparently considers this film an old shame, but considering she voice acts an obnoxious political soapbox character who makes Brian Griffin look tame it’s pretty easy to just take her opinion and put it in the trash where it belongs.

It’s harder to do that with King’s opinion, but hey, everyone is wrong sometimes, and artists are always hardest on their own work. This movie ain’t perfect by a long shot; it’s ridiculous, it has corny acting, it has quite a few special effects failures… but like any good B-movie, that stuff just makes it all the more endearing. It helps the premise of the film is somewhat unique; there aren’t too many “technology comes alive and tries to kill humanity” movies that just involve regular appliances and machines. If you go into this movie with the right mindset, you’re gonna have a good time. If you’re some snob who requires every film to be some deep meditation on the human existence, you’re going to be pretty disappointed. It’s just a fun, dumb action/sci-fi/horror film, with explosions, trucks, and big rigs over-the-road racing across hapless humans. You gotta give the film props for having a scene where a soda machine kills a dude followed by a kid getting his head smushed by a steamroller. MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE is a badass and trashy cult classic that isn’t so bad it’s good; it’s SO FUCKING DUMB IT’S EPIC.

Oh, and one more thing:

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.

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Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria (December 1, 1949 – December 2, 1993) was a notorious Colombian drug lord. Known as “The King of Cocaine,” he is regarded as the wealthiest criminal in history, with an estimated net-worth of US$30 billion by the early 1990s.