Maximum Overdrive (1986)

R | 97 mins | Horror | 25 July 1986

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HISTORY

The following written prologue appears in opening credits: “On June 19, 1987, at 9:47 A.M. EST, the Earth passed into the extraordinarily diffuse tail of Rhea-M, a rogue comet. According to astronomical calculations, the planet would remain in the tail of the comet for the next eight days, five hours, twenty-nine minutes, and twenty-three seconds.”
       An epilogue reads: “Two days after, a large UFO was destroyed in space by a Russian 'weather satellite' which happened to be equipped with a laser cannon and class IV nuclear missiles. Approximately six days later, the earth passed beyond the tail of Rhea-M, exactly as predicted. The survivors of the Dixie Boy are still survivors.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that producer Martha Schumacher approached writer Stephen King to adapt and direct his work for the screen because the earlier adaptations of his work by others had been unsuccessful. At first, King declined the offer, but producer Dino De Laurentiis persisted. King reportedly wrote the screenplay in three weeks, and divided it into “1,147 specific shots” to help him visualize the story, although not every shot was filmed. According to a 26 Jul 1985 HR news item, the picture marked King’s debut as a feature film director.
       According to a 19 Aug 1985 HR article, the movie was based on King’s short story “Trucks,” in his 1978 anthology, Night Shift. As stated in a 9 Sep 1985 Time article, King characterized the film as a "mechanical" re-telling of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963, see entry).
       Production notes state that principal photography began 14 Jul 1985 at Cape Fear River ... More Less

The following written prologue appears in opening credits: “On June 19, 1987, at 9:47 A.M. EST, the Earth passed into the extraordinarily diffuse tail of Rhea-M, a rogue comet. According to astronomical calculations, the planet would remain in the tail of the comet for the next eight days, five hours, twenty-nine minutes, and twenty-three seconds.”
       An epilogue reads: “Two days after, a large UFO was destroyed in space by a Russian 'weather satellite' which happened to be equipped with a laser cannon and class IV nuclear missiles. Approximately six days later, the earth passed beyond the tail of Rhea-M, exactly as predicted. The survivors of the Dixie Boy are still survivors.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that producer Martha Schumacher approached writer Stephen King to adapt and direct his work for the screen because the earlier adaptations of his work by others had been unsuccessful. At first, King declined the offer, but producer Dino De Laurentiis persisted. King reportedly wrote the screenplay in three weeks, and divided it into “1,147 specific shots” to help him visualize the story, although not every shot was filmed. According to a 26 Jul 1985 HR news item, the picture marked King’s debut as a feature film director.
       According to a 19 Aug 1985 HR article, the movie was based on King’s short story “Trucks,” in his 1978 anthology, Night Shift. As stated in a 9 Sep 1985 Time article, King characterized the film as a "mechanical" re-telling of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963, see entry).
       Production notes state that principal photography began 14 Jul 1985 at Cape Fear River drawbridge in Wilmington, NC. The opening sequence combined footage of a miniature version of the bridge with scaled-down cars, a full-sized, fully functional hydraulic section of the bridge built at an abandoned rock quarry, and footage of the actual bridge. A 26 Apr 1985 HR brief stated the film’s budget was $11 million.
       Locations in and around Wilmington were used during filming, as well as sound stages at the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group studios. The Dixie Boy truck stop set occupied several acres. To achieve the illusion of driverless trucks, several techniques were used. In some instances, special compartments kept drivers hidden from view. Other times, drivers wore black, Ninja-like robes that blended perfectly with black curtains hung over drivers’ seats, and in one truck, a driver was disguised as sections of a seat cushion.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “Our Special Thanks to: The People of Wilmington; the state of North Carolina; Worsley Companies; Bridgestone
(U. S. A.), Inc. Tire Sales Group; Charles R. Dean Jr. & Import Export Lumber Services Inc."; “Marvel Comics “Green Goblin” (and his distinct likeness) is a trademark of the Marvel Comics Groups and is used with permission"; and, "Filmed on location and at North Carolina Film Studios, Wilmington, N. C." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1986
p. 3, 13.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jul 1986
p. 8.
New York Times
25 Jul 1986
p. 17.
Time
9 Sep 1985.
---
Variety
30 Jul 1986
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Dino De Laurentiis Presents
A Film by Stephen King
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
Wrt for the scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Key grip
Grip
Best boy
Still photog
Cam and lenses
ART DIRECTORS
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Property
Leadman
Greensman
Const mgr
Lead carpenter
Scenic artist
Asst scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
MUSIC
Mus
Mus supv
Synclavier programmer
Synclavier programmer
Mus courtesy of
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom man
Digital sd comp
ADR supv
Foley ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Post prod services by
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Supv, Spec visual eff
Titles created by
Spec opt eff by
MAKEUP
Spec eff makeup
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst to prod
Asst to dir
Translation by
Translation by
Accounting asst
Accounting asst
Picture vehicle coord
Loc mgr
Transportation coord
Prod asst
Addl casting
Financial consultant
Cam
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Stunt performer
Foreground models
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Trucks" by Stephen King in his Night Shift (Garden City, 1978).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Who Made Who?,” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Harry Vanda, George Young
“Ride On,” written by Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Bon Scott, produced by Harry Vanda, George Young
“Sink The Pink,” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Angus Young Malcolm Young
+
SONGS
“Who Made Who?,” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Harry Vanda, George Young
“Ride On,” written by Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Bon Scott, produced by Harry Vanda, George Young
“Sink The Pink,” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Angus Young Malcolm Young
“Shake Your Foundations,” written by Malcolm Young, Angus Young, Bon Scott, produced by Angus Young Malcolm Young
“For Those About To Rock (We Salute You),” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange
“Hell’s Bells,” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange
“You Shook Me All Night Long,” written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange
produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange
“King Of The Road,” written by Roger Miller, produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange
“Ride Of The Valkyries,” written by Richard Wagner, produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
25 July 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 25 July 1986
Production Date:
began 14 July 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Dino DeLaurentiis Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 November 1986
Copyright Number:
PA310924
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

One day in Wilmington, North Carolina, as the Earth passes through the tail of a rogue comet, Rhea-M, machinery everywhere from auto teller machines to drawbridges spins out of control. Soon, a “Happy Toys” truck with a fiberglass goblin face attached to its grille pulls up at the Dixie Boy truck stop. As the driver, Handy, enjoys a cup of coffee, owner “Bubba” Hendershot calls his short-order cook, Bill Robinson, into his office. In the truck stop game room, a teenage gamer watches in amazement as a pinball machine self-destructs. Packs of cigarettes fly out of the cigarette vending machine, coffee cups spit out of the coffee machine, and coins flow out of a coin-changer machine. The youth pockets as many cigarette packs and as much change as he can carry. As a gas station attendant fills Handy’s truck, the pump becomes stuck. When the attendant examines it, diesel fuel squirts out, leaving him blind. Meanwhile, Hendershot orders Bill to work a nine-hour shift but only clock in for eight. Given Bill’s prison record, he does not have a lot of career options, and is forced to cooperate. Wanda June, the waitress, is attacked by an electric knife. As she fights off the appliance, it falls to the floor, and goes after her shoes. Bill grabs a hammer and smashes the knife. As the teenage gamer leaves with his bounty, a flashing video screen hypnotizes him. The youth grabs a game console handle, and is electrocuted. Bill discovers the teenage gamer dead on the floor. Nearby, a female hitchhiker named Brett takes control of the steering wheel, and forces the driver, a bible salesman, to stop at the Dixie ... +


One day in Wilmington, North Carolina, as the Earth passes through the tail of a rogue comet, Rhea-M, machinery everywhere from auto teller machines to drawbridges spins out of control. Soon, a “Happy Toys” truck with a fiberglass goblin face attached to its grille pulls up at the Dixie Boy truck stop. As the driver, Handy, enjoys a cup of coffee, owner “Bubba” Hendershot calls his short-order cook, Bill Robinson, into his office. In the truck stop game room, a teenage gamer watches in amazement as a pinball machine self-destructs. Packs of cigarettes fly out of the cigarette vending machine, coffee cups spit out of the coffee machine, and coins flow out of a coin-changer machine. The youth pockets as many cigarette packs and as much change as he can carry. As a gas station attendant fills Handy’s truck, the pump becomes stuck. When the attendant examines it, diesel fuel squirts out, leaving him blind. Meanwhile, Hendershot orders Bill to work a nine-hour shift but only clock in for eight. Given Bill’s prison record, he does not have a lot of career options, and is forced to cooperate. Wanda June, the waitress, is attacked by an electric knife. As she fights off the appliance, it falls to the floor, and goes after her shoes. Bill grabs a hammer and smashes the knife. As the teenage gamer leaves with his bounty, a flashing video screen hypnotizes him. The youth grabs a game console handle, and is electrocuted. Bill discovers the teenage gamer dead on the floor. Nearby, a female hitchhiker named Brett takes control of the steering wheel, and forces the driver, a bible salesman, to stop at the Dixie Boy after radio news describes strange, grisly events in town and warns drivers to avoid major highways. The Bible salesman is shocked by Brett’s behavior and salty language. As he lectures her on the importance of good breeding and manners, Handy’s Happy Toys truck starts without its driver. Brett pulls the salesman from the path of the oncoming truck just in time to prevent an accident. After the truck comes to a stop, Handy shows diner employees and customers that he is still holding the keys to his rig. Meanwhile, newlyweds Connie and Curt discover a dead body at a roadside gas station. As Curt follows the trail of blood, a small truck parked in the rear spontaneously starts up. When Curt narrowly misses being hit, he and Connie make a hasty departure. Back at the truck stop, Hendershot orders his employee, Joe, to temporarily store the teenage gamer’s body in the basement. Soon, Bill Robinson investigates Handy’s truck to uncover a reason for its rampage, but finds nothing. Brett interrupts Bill to flirt as radio news reports speak of strange mechanical events happening all around the world. While bicycling home, a Little League ball player named Deke sees dead humans and animals strewn across the neighborhood. News reports adds that no mechanical device can be trusted. Deke hides in the bushes, and watches a driverless ice cream truck go by. He jumps back on his bicycle, and finds himself being chased by a lawn mower. Hendershot orders Duncan not to leave the Dixie Boy until he punches out on the time clock. Duncan wants to find his son, Deke, and refuses to comply. As Duncan walks to his car, he is run over by a semi-truck. The Bible salesman becomes irate when a truck rams into his Cadillac. As he lets off steam, Handy’s Happy Toys truck rams him, and he lands face first in a nearby creek. Suddenly, all the parked trucks drive surround the Dixie Boy like a circling wagon train. On the highway, Connie and Curt narrowly miss hitting a Mack truck. As they recover and continue down the road, the truck chases them, and tries to force them off the road. Curt maneuvers the car such that the Mack truck misses a turn, careens down an embankment, and explodes. When Curt sees a sign for the Dixie Boy, he decides to stop and call police. To get past the circling trucks, Curt waits for an opening and makes his move. As he accelerates toward the diner, a truck clips his car, and flips it over. Curt crawls out, but Connie is stuck. Bill and Brett rescue her, and lead the couple to safety as Hendershot uses a flamethrower to stop the truck from killing them. Later, Bill and Brett discover that Hendershot has amassed an arsenal of weapons in the basement. Although they have no intention of stealing, Hendershot is eager to break up their budding romance, and reveals Bill’s criminal past. Bill is ashamed, but Brett is able to see the new person he has become. Deke travels on foot, but cannot figure out a way to get past the truck convoy surrounding the truck stop. Later, Bill and Brett make love. She theorizes Earth passing through the comet’s tail is causing the mechanical disturbances. If they can stay alive for seven days until the comet passes, they will survive. Bill wants to escape on a sailboat to Haven, a nearby island, where motor vehicles are prohibited. Brett likes his plan. Soon, the Bible salesman regains consciousness in the creek and begins howling. Meanwhile, Deke finds a culvert that runs underneath the road to the truck stop. As he wades through muddy water in the pipe, he can hear trucks driving along the road. Bill and Curt take guns and supplies from Hendershot’s arsenal, and escape through a sewer drain in the truck stop bathroom. When Deke arrives at the creek, the Bible salesman grabs his arm and demands to be rescued. Bill and Curt find Deke, determine that the Bible salesman has died, and scramble when a truck chases them. Bill, Curt, and Deke disappear into the sewer drain, and back to the safety of the Dixie Boy. When another truck tries to chase them, Bill destroys it with a flamethrower. Hendershot breaks the news that Deke’s father, Duncan, is dead. Bill holds Deke tight as he mourns. In the morning, the trucks outside come to a halt when a front loader, and a machine gun-mounted railroad pump trolley appear. The front loader pushes Hendershot’s parked car into the diner. When Hendershot retaliates with his flamethrower, the machine gun fires into the eatery. Hendershot is killed and the others run for cover. Once the shooting stops, Wanda June grabs the flamethrower and walks outside. The machine gun shoots her, but she destroys one truck. The horn on the front loader starts tapping out Morse code. Deke deciphers a message that the machines need more fuel but there is no electricity. Suddenly, the power turns on and Bill switches on the pumps. Everyone takes turns filling up gas tanks. More trucks arrive to refuel. When Bill announces that there is no more gas, the trucks sound their horns in protest, and survivors go back to the diner to rest. In the morning, Bill lobs a grenade at the machine and destroys it. After dark, he leads the survivors through the culvert to the other side of the highway. They watch as a truck crashes into the Dixie Boy game room. Other copycat trucks follow, destroying different parts of the building. A fire sets off Hendershot’s basement arsenal, and levels the complex. The survivors disappear into the woods, heading toward the marina. The Happy Toys truck follows the group, but Bill uses the flamethrower to incinerate it. The survivors commandeer a sailboat, and Bill promises Deke that they will be safe on Haven Island. Two days later, a Russian military space ship disguised as a weather satellite destroys an unidentified flying object, and after six days, the Earth completes its orbit past the tail of the Rhea-M comet. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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