Plot: As the earth passes through the tail of a comet, some odd things begin to happen and they involve machines. At first, the signs are small and harmless, ATM machines cursing at customers or small electronics malfunctioning, but soon the machines begin a more violent, focused assault. At the Dixie Boy truck stop, the issues start with an electric carving knife gone wild, but then arcade machines attack a patron and soon, trucks and cars surround the truck stop. Those inside seem to be safe for the moment, but as new arrivals come in, the danger mounts and it becomes clear the machines have plans for the truck stop. Can the survivors manage to keep one step ahead of these murderous machines, or will mankind be wiped out by its own creations?
Entertainment Value: A Stephen King story, directed by Stephen King himself, with a soundtrack from rock legends AC/DC, Maximum Overdrive would become a genre legend, though for unintended reasons. The movie is a wild mess, but I’ve always had fun with it and appreciated the silliness, not to mention the stories of King’s cocaine fueled direction. This one is loaded with camp, over the top performances, and ridiculous moments, not to mention a dense dose of 80s vibes, all of which blends to make a fun, if outlandish experience. Of course, regardless of the other elements, the Green Goblin truck has become a horror icon and makes a super fun villain here, giving a face of sorts to the evil machine forces. Emilio Estevez has the lead and is the most restrained of the cast, while Yeardley Smith dials up the brat mode to max levels, Pat Hingle goes nuclear redneck, and Laura Harrington desperately tries to be a bad girl. Most of the efforts are ham fisted and over the top, but I love Hingle’s work here and Smith is an absolute ear piercing annoyance, as she should be. The tone is silly and the movie is more funny than scary, but it has some interesting moments and above all else, is just a fun watch for those who appreciate campy horror flicks.
No nakedness. Good old Emilio makes love like a hero, but sadly, no naked flesh is seen during his sleeping bag escapades. There is some blood however, with a woman’s arm carved up, a semi truck hit & run, a few bullet wounds, and a good amount of aftermath bloodshed. None of this is all that graphic and most of the violence is off screen, or we see bodies after the carnage. But we have a villainous soda machine on the warpath and my personal favorite moment, a child is run over by a steamroller. So not a ton of blood and gore, but a few nice bits here and there. The ridiculous performances ensure some wild dialogue, with Pat Hingle belting out hilarious lines and Yeardley Smith as one of the most annoying, whiny bitches of all times. Most of the rest of the cast is given a moment or two to shine, but those two seem to have most of the more quotable or shrill lines. The camp value adds a couple points, while random assorted off the wall moments dial things up more craziness point. I also love the faux Psycho sound effects that chime in at times.
Overall Insanity: 3/10