"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself."—Stephen King in the trailer.
Maximum Overdrive is a horror film written and directed by Stephen King based on his short story "Trucks" from the Night Shift collection. The same short story was later adapted into a Made for TV Movie in 1997.
The movie centers around people trapped in a truck stop, surrounded by homicidal trucks and other vehicles who have gained sentience from radiation produced by a comet close to earth.
Later King claimed that he was coked out of his mind while making this film.
- Adaptation Expansion
- America Saves the Day: Inverted as in the end it is a Soviet "weather satellite" which destroys the UFO hiding in the comet causing all the trouble.
- Attack of the Killer Whatever: Trucks, household appliances, you name it.
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Surprisingly the best example ever being Connie and Curtis. YMMV on Connie's scrappy status aside, they spat almost every chance they get, but when the chips are down they really do care about one and other. Much of her words are more out of worry her husband may die. The best part being when Curt plans on rescuing the bible salesman, after an argument they kiss before he heads off. Connies words being the best example of the trope.
Connie: Don't you make me a widow on my wedding day.
- Bad Humor Truck: One of the vehicles.
- Big Brother and Sister Instinct: When Duncan gets run down, the only two showing concern for Deke is Billy and Brett. Especially when Bubba harshly breaks the news of his father's death. Bill tries to comfort a grieving Deke, whilst Brett slaps Bubba in the face for his insensitivity.
Brett: Just a little lesson in manners from the Road Twitch.
Bill: "Adios, motherfucker!"
Bubba: "That one's deported for sure!"
- Car Meets House
- Closed Circle: the truck stop
- Cool Mask: The Green Goblin mask on the Kidz Toyz truck.
- Creator Cameo: That was King at the ATM machine in the opening sequence.
- Death by Materialism
- Everyone Knows Morse: When the military vehicle starts honking its horn, Deke recognizes that it's using morse code.
- Eye Scream: Duncan gets an eyeful of gasoline.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The mask on the Kidz Toyz truck has them.
- Groin Attack: One soda machine does this.
- Homicide Machines: The vending machine scene is one of the most memorable instances of this.
- How Many Fingers?: Said to Duncan after he got gasoline into his eyes.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: As with the other Stephen King filmations.
- Infant Immortality: Averted in the steamroller scene and played straight on Deke.
- Marionette Master: Stephen King on one of the posters.
- More Dakka: Hendershot's gun collection in the truck stop's basement and at one point trucks call an armed military vehicle for assistance.
- Not So Above It All: The Bible Salesman. When Brett threatens to chop his hand off for feeling her up, he makes a remark about how he's never heard women swearing when he was a boy. The second one of the Trucks mows down his car, the first words to come out of his mouth are "COCKSUCKER!!!". And it escalates from there, till the Green Goblin Truck gets him.
- Plug N Play Technology: Kind of a weird partial example. There's no actual interfacing of differing technologies per se, but the weird alien radiation which animates the Earth's gadgets does endow those gadgets with some unexpected abilities -- such as the ability to see/sense humans, or to move independently even with no built-in means of locomotion. In the short story, at least, the "alien ray" was supernatural.
- Psycho Strings: A guitar variation of it plays whenever a machine attacks.
- Recycled in Space: Maximum Overdrive is George A. Romero's Zombie trilogy WITH TRUCKS!!
- The Scourge of God: the creepy, lecherous Bible salesman.
- Sentient Vehicle
- Signature Style: Bill's "the comet is a broom" speech is typical King.
- Squashed Flat: With a steamroller no less.
- Stealth Parody / Parody Retcon: After the movie was released, King claimed he had intended to film a modern B-Movie.
- Stuff Blowing Up
- Title Drop
- Trash the Set: Fate of the Dixie Boy truck stop.
- Up to Eleven: In an MTV spot advertising the film's release, King said he asked cinema houses to play the sound as loud as possible when showing his film Maximum Overdrive—so it would be the loudest movie ever.
- Your Head Asplode: This happened to the steamroller victim, but it was cut.
- Rumor says that George A. Romero actually threw up at this scene when invited to a test screening.