‘Maximum Overdrive’ indisputably a film that exists — THE ANTI-MONITOR PODCAST
By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where we don’t give a single ladybug. This week, Jarrod & Birdy dust themselves off and recount their bewildering experiences watching ‘Maximum Overdrive’. They discuss the brazen tomfoolery of one-time filmmaker Stephen King, and attempt to reconcile their show’s prolonged absence. (Yeah, sorry about that.)
As always, be wary of spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.
ANTI-MONITOR — MATT: It’s such a vainglorious cliché: if you want something done right, do it yourself. While that may apply to the everyday life of the normal human, it most certainly doesn’t apply to filmmaking, especially when you’ve got no idea how to make a film. Such is the case with Stephen King’s sole directing effort, 1986’s disaster flick, Maximum Overdrive. As a child, I loved this movie. It had everything. Trucks that came to life, humanity going haywire, and Emilio Estevez. Unfortunately, these elements don’t necessarily make a quality picture.
It certainly doesn’t help that writer/director Stephen King was embroiled in addiction at the time. On top of that, the production suffered a number of accidents, one leaving the cinematographer short an eye (which is horribly ironic). Worse yet, nobody in the cast seems to care that they’re making a movie (save Giancarlo Esposito, who makes the most out of his all-too brief five minutes). Overall, Maximum Overdrive is a short story made into a long bore, a campy romp that doesn’t seem to have been planned as such. As far as King is concerned, sometimes it’s better to leave your work in the hands of the professionals.
ANTI-MONITOR — JARROD: Here’s a movie whose central premise is that machinery comes alive, knows precisely what it was made for, and uses its inner workings to murder the fuck out of everyone. Because radioactive comet tail.
Don’t go looking for sense in Maximum Overdrive, a drug-fueled descent into hackery from the master himself, Stephen King. Watching the promotional trailers for this movie, you get the sense that King really had a high opinion of both himself and the film he’d just made. Juxtaposed against the final product, you also get the sense that “the master” was fucking lit.
In trite summation, Maximum Overdrive is essentially Final Destination meets The Mist, only far less interesting than that might sound. King has since admitted he was out of his depth with this film, which not only explains the peril his little truck smash-em-up put his cast and crew, it sums up the movie better than any smart-alecky thing I could ever come up with. For King completists only.
CONSENSUS: With its zany cast and zanier premise Maximum Overdrive has the veneer of a camp horror classic, and it might have become one if the movie hadn’t committed the greatest sin in all of film: Being fucking lazy. 1.5 out of 10
The Anti-Monitor podcast is co-written and produced by M. Fleming and J. Jones, edited by J. Jones.
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