Welcome to another installment of DIEmonds in the Rough, where we search for the bloody nougat center of awesomeness inside a hard shell of mediocrity. This week’s installment
In Maximum Overdrive, a comet passes by earth and the planet ends up in the tail of it for a little over a week. During that time, the machines of the world–everything from electric steak knives to gas-powered lawnmowers–become sentient, and rebel against mankind. The movie was written and directed by Stephen King himself, and was inspired by his short story “Trucks,” from Night Shift. That should have been your first warning sign.
I’m just going to begin this section by saying the star of this movie is a tractor trailer with the giant plastic face of the Green Goblin on it.
The entire first half of the movie is basically just one gag after another, with scenes designed entirely around showing how different machines can kill people. Soda machines bludgeon a baseball coach to death. A kid falls off his bike and gets run over by a steamroller. People are strangled by their walkmans.
The entire second half of the move features a bunch of people holed up at a truckstop while the tractor trailers outside dictate their demands through Morse code.
The acting is terrible. The pacing is terrible. The movie–is terrible. Everything interesting this move has to show you is over after the first twenty-five minutes.
If you’re gonna make a movie about toaster ovens and pinball machines taking over the world, you’re gonna need a great soundtrack. And that soundtrack is the best thing about this movie, because it features the greatest rock band of all time–AC/DC. the album Who Made Who was released as the soundtrack, which featured some instrumentals, some re-releases and a great title track, which became a hit single. The slasher riff that plays every time someone gets killed is the only bad piece of music in the movie, and even that is pretty cool. Because AC/DC is awesome.
And I have to admit, the first part of the movie, which is just random death machine scenes, do feature some pretty good ones. The soda machine in particular was brutal, and one that has stayed with me long after I forgot everything else but that stupid plastic clown face.
This movie is so much more Rough than DIEmond, but I chose it this week because there’s actually a Prince connection. In 1986 Maximum Overdrive was nominated for two Razzies, including a worst actor nod for Emilio Estevez and Worst Director nod for Stephen King. They both lost–to Prince, who took home Worst Actor and Worst Director for Under the Cherry Moon.
See, even when Prince lost, he still won. And that’s how we know wherever he is, he’s kicking ass right now.