Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Written & Directed by: Stephen King


Emilio Estevez .... Bill Robinson
Laura Harrington .... Brett
Pat Hingle .... Hendershot
Yeardley Smith .... Connie
John Short .... Curtis
Ellen McElduff .... Wanda June
Pat Miller .... Joe
J.C. Quinn .... Duncan
Christopher Murney .... Camp Loman
Holter Graham .... Deke
Frankie Faison .... Handy

Release Date: Theatrical: July 25, 1986; Fantasporto Film Festival: February, 1988





A mysterious comet passes close within the Earth which causes machines to become homicidal ending up killing people.
Some people at a gas station diner called the Dixie Boy Truck Stop outside of Wimington, Carolina both workers and patrons end up being trapped there as they experience alot of terrifying accidents and fatal deaths as their trucks try to invade the diner led by by one for a toy company which sports a demonically-smiling goblin face - each start up on their own, circling the truck stop and preventing anyone from getting in or out.
The manager of the diner named Hendershot (Pat Hingle) and an ex-con who is serving probation time there named Bill Robinson (Emilio Estevez) tries to help the survivors to safety and finds a way by tricking these machines by causing explosions to destroy them before they end up being their next prey.
But things get a little tough when an army jeep with a machine gun as they order the people to pump gasoline for them as they are low or it would shoot and kill them.
They are struck between a rock and a hard place when this situation happens as they can be at risk while doing this but Bill has a plan up his sleeve.


We have a hilarious start to the film which involves a bank machine and other technical devices in the town starts using profanity. I had to laugh when I saw this since this was perfect comedic timing.
Perfect opening with vehicles driving by a bridge as well as an average comedic discussion with two bumbling employees having a discussion in the booth of the electric bridge. Plus a nice careful shot on a button activating itself and we see the bridge opening. Then a small boat is just cruising through and there's perfect camera shots on the vehicles falling into the water looks good, same with the people that are freaking out when this happens. The moments look good and intense as well as the bumbling employees freaking out which was an average paced humor.
There's great moment between Bill Robinson and
Hendershot for the first time in the diner. Things looked greatly focused on what they were discussing.
There's a real effective scene with a waitress Wanda June getting ready to serve someone as well we spot a nice shot on an electric cutting knife as this object attacks her which shows a great camera shot on it. Things look great with the reactions on the people surrounding her and the knife going near her shoes as well as a nice powerful moment on Bill whacking it with a hammer and it seems to still be active.
Perfect moments with someone in an arcade room and the video games showing cymbals zooming on their screen as well as money and cigarette's spitting out adding a great touch to the story.
Another great tense scene was when Duncan is trying to fill a vehicle up with gas and it doesn't work as he tries to activate it and looks at the pump and then his eyes are shot out by fuel which makes you jump a bit when it suddenly happens.
Nicely set moment on a boys softball game and they win with the coach about to get a soda out of the machine and it doesn't come out as he looks to see what's wrong as this is a good settting on this not being a good idea as well as a can hitting him in the groin and then more shooting out hitting him as it seemed comedic as well as deadly which was well done.
Then a good moment with a steam roller crashing in the park as this looked creepy to watch along with a nice shot on it charging towards a kid after he wipes out on his bike and gets run over which is another memorable moment to anyone who saw this flick and a good horror fashion.
There's a moment with Camp Loman in his vehicle with his sidekick Brett in which he tries to come on towards her and she gives him a turn off threat as this was well put into the story since he's supposed to be a religious salesman but you kinda think to yourself that he's a hippocrit. The comedy flows okay with this scene.
Perfect moments with young Deke slowly riding his bike in a dead neighborhood as well as sprinklers turning on and off with him being cuatious as well as great shots on some dead bodies in the neighborhood especially a dead dog with a toy car in it's mouth as this doesn't look pretty at all.
A scene that I enjoyed was the dweeby newlywed couple Curtis and Connie driving by a pit stop as we spot junked out cars suddenly having their lights flickering as well as when they go across a railroad crossing the red signals are briefly activated which adds some nice technical spooky touches. Good moments when Curtis cautiously spots a dead body as this was another great horror touch as well as an old truck starting to come out of an area and aiming towards him. This also looked nicely done and suspenseful.
Great situation with Camp running out of the diner and the main truck that we see is backing up and aiming at him with great suspenseful shots on this as well as him flying in a ditch after being hit which was terrifically shot too.
Nice distance shots on the truck revving up and then going around in the circle of the diner in which this worked in nicely as some killing machines trapping the victims from escaping the diner.
Perfect moment when Curtis and Connie try to drive past the trucks and then spotting their car spinning upside down as this looked like dynamite action.
Nice dark moment when Deke spots Camp half alive but not moving when he sees if he is alive or not as well as a nice near jumping moment on this person grabbing his leg and speaking crazily which looked genuinely freaky to watch. Also great action and suspense when Deke, Bill and Curtis try to get away from a truck trying to attack them by going into a sewage pipe to make it back to the diner which keeps you watching and hoping they will survive.
A total effective moment when Deke asks about his father and finds out the devastating news as well as Hendershot being blunt about it and acting like a jerk which makes you want to hit the guy. All of this showed good and decent timing.
Bill and Brett play off of one another terrifically as well as their romantic moments together too as well as sleeping with each other and looking at the sky showing the green light effects as this for sure draws you in greatly.
Plus nice shots on the people being forced to fuel up the trucks with gas and their sarcastic comments as this was really catchy.
Perfect moments with the trucks charging at the diner and tearing stuff down as well as explosions which looked dynamic.
Great shot when someone goes to a car and tries to take a diamond ring off a dead corpses hand and then we spot the main truck with the ghoulish face standing there and then ready to come and get him. For sure a good spooky moment with neat effects.
Bottom line: Awesome!!! Totally awesome!!!! I'm a big AC/DC fan and loved the song "Who Made Who". When I found out it was from this film I had to rent it and watched it with my cousin as the two of us were going to the Def Leppard concert the next night in 1992 my grad year from highschool. At the time I wasn't a Stephen King fan and this was the only movie I loved of his. I considered this mainly a sci-fi flick but it's a mix of both sci-fi and horror with lots of dynamite action involved. I'd advise anyone to check this movie out even if you're not a fan of horror films.

The acting is superb as the whole cast really performed their character's inside out. Emilio Estevez (Bill Robinson) is by far the best actor since he knows how to play a good tough as nails criminal on probation and does great playing a nice guy regardless and pulls off a great southern accent too. Offers a great romantic and charming personality too. Shows a good sympatheitc behavior. Plus does well with his aggressive and gruff speaking when talking to a truck as he brings to the a nice adrenaline. He was one of his best performances since I've seen him in Breakfast Club.
Pat Hingle (Hendershot) is excellent as a bitter and grouchy manager at his bar and makes a believeable grumpy businessman making everyone wanting to hate him. He has a nice gravelly speaking in his voice as well as doing well with his blunt attitude when discussing on what happened to someone else and not acting sympathetic about this. He for sure offers a perfectly cruel behavior. Two thumbs up for him.
Laura Harrington (Brett) is my favourite actress in this film and does incredibly well for her part as she does great at playing a romantic part as well as being tough but caring too. Does great with her words as well as getting defensive easily which she shows it off well. Has alot of spunk into what she does too. She brings all of this to life a great deal.
I will never forget Yeardley Smith's (Connie) part as a dweeby type shrieky newlywed and has terrific energy in her part of the film. Was great calling out or screaming hysterically as she was a piece of dynamite. Plus does a great job nagging or being overly protective towards her onscreen husband. I loved her work in the TV sitcom Herman's Head too which I watched after I saw this movie
John Short (Curtis) who played her dweeby husband brought alot into the film too proving to be a versatile actor. Seemed to show off great energy while driving his vehicle and going into a full thrust with this. Plus does well with his conversations when trying to act like a hero and trying to save someone as well as doing a good job with his sarcasm. Stands out strongly by all that he did here.
Ellen McElduff (Wanda June) stood out the most in her supporting role as a bubbly headed waitress. She does well screaming in pain and freaking out when she got cut by an eletric cutting knife. Her itensity seemed to show off pretty good. Also was great by losing it big time shouting out to the vehicles on who made them as she really rolls with the punches by losing her mind doing this. Brought all of this to a hype.
Pat Miller (Joe) stood out the most as a burly employee at the diner and could see him getting alot of work but sadly he was only in a handful of acting projects. Seemed to have a good drive with his personality acting light headed on stuff. Shows off good energy when talking to someone else. Shows alot of spunk and energy like most of the other cast mentioned.
We have a fresh young talent by Holter Graham (Deke) as young teenage kid and he puts everything he has into the film and is a true natural. He for sure showed good concerned and fearful expressions by what's happening in his area. Also shows off nice spooked and frightened attitude as well. Was good acting emotionally upset or showing an aggressive attitude in certain spots making this very realistic. He also had the right kid next door looks and appeal.
Christopher Murney (Camp Loman) lived to play a sleazy religious salesman. Does a good job acting like a hippocrit or coming off strongly through someone else. Seemed convincing as a fraud or someone not to trust one bit. Plus showed off great aggressions. Also had a great fearful wide eyed expressions when he is about to be attacked. Plus does a great job screaming out or acting crazy.

A waitress gets her arm slit by an electric cutting knife and blood splatters.
A softball coach gets hit hard in the head with a pop can coming out of a machine and he is badly bloodied.
There's a bloodied corpse lying in a corner at a small gas station and repair shop.
There are bloodied corpses in a small neighborhood including a dead dog.
An employee gets bloodily run over by a truck
People are bloodily shot by a machine gun in an army truck

Oh yes!!!! The music in this film was all by the classic hard rock band AC/DC and they open up with "Who Made Who" which gives me goosebumps. It was a perfect moment when people are crossing a bridge and then the bridge opens up causing accidents as we hear the perfect fast paced gutiar playing. Very memorable scene.
Angus Young has perfect guitar riffs with the intense scene's of the film and you can't find anyone better. As we have the high ptiched playing like you'd hear with violin noises for the terrors that happen. It sounds mildly cheesy but still I liked it. Also there's good bass and guitar music for some rock bluesy riffs in certain spots as it gives it a good southern sound.
We have other songtracks playing throughout the film like:
"D.T." is an instrumenatal song with good drumbeats and guitar playing with brief silent moments in which was used when the kid Deke is riding his bike and things are strange around the neighborhood which worked in well and showing great timing.
"Chase the Ace" was yet another instrumental song with fast paced gutiar music for the truck chasing moments as this had a good beat for that scene and blends in superbly.
"Sink the Pink" as it was catchy even if it was brief when someone plays it on the jukebox and then it explodes. Pretty memorable nonetheless.
"Ride On" was pretty good as it was a soft tune taking place at night with people hiding out in the diner adding a great touch.
"For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" really worked in well when a couple of people plan to save someone on the other end of the area from the killer trucks. Has a good heavy beat.
"Hells Bells" sounded good and dark for when the survivors try to find a way on escaping from the killer trucks which sounded wonderfully done for the scene.
and during the closing credits their top hit "You Shook Me All Night Long" as this was a perfect way to add for an ending for the film as the makers really knew their stuff for having a sontrack for the film with this band.
AC / DC released this as their soundtrack album Who Made Who which kicks ass.

Man At Cashpoint: Honey! C'mon over here, Sugar-buns. This machine just called me an asshole!

Connie: Curtis? Are you dead?

Brett: If you don't get your hand off my leg, you're going to be wiping your ass with a hook next time you take a dump!
Camp Loman: I never heard no talk like that when I was a boy.

Bill Robinson: You really going after Deke man?
Duncan: Yeah.
Bill Robinson: Look here, how many fingers you see, huh? Eight? Twelve?
Duncan: Okay, so I got a little double vision, but it's clearin' up Bill. I gotta find my boy! I gotta! Anything could be goin' on out there! Chrissakes!
Hendershot: You leave here without punching out, and you ain't never gonna have to punch out again, Bubba.
Duncan: Good! You leave me alone you fat fuck.
Hendershot: [grabs him] Why you...
Bill Robinson: Don't! Leave him alone.
Hendershot: Or what?
Bill Robinson: Or I'll knock your teeth in... Bubba.

Connie: Don't make me a widow on our wedding day Curtis!

Deke: Bill, where's my dad?
Hendershot: Uh, Duncan's got scrubbed by one of them big boys out there... tough break kid!
Brett: (Looks at Hendershot disgusted) You unbelieveable shithead!

Brett: Mr. Hendershot? (She walks up to him and slaps him in the face) Just a little lesson that matters from the road twitch!

Wanda June: You can't! WE MADE YOU!

Bill: (After the army jeep shoots Wanda June and Deke stands up) Deke goddamnit you're gonna be killed stay down!.
Deke: It's right there. If it wants to waste us it will.

Deke: (After giving a red truck fuel) All set big guy (flips the truck a bird)

Brett: I ain't never seen a hero with his ass in the air like that.

Bill Robinson: Adios mother fucker!