Maximum Overdrive (1986)

AC/DC – Who Made Who (1986)

What was the movie about?

The earth has passed through the tail of a strange comet causing inanimate objects – everything from a vending machine to an electric knife to, you guessed it, giant transport trucks – to go on a murder spree.

Hmmm. Can it be a murder spree if they aren’t human? Killing spree.

A small group of people hide out in a remote truck stop, trying to survive the transport trucks hell bent on taking them out.

Is it worth watching?

Written and directed by Stephen King during the heights of his drug addiction, it should be no surprise that this is not a family friendly film. It’s not the scariest of horror films, truth be told. While it bombed in theatres, I think it’s safe to say that there’s a reason why you don’t see trucks with goblin faces on them driving around.

I don’t know what Lyft was thinking with their fuzzy car mustaches. Too soon, in my opinion.

It is…not very good. A young Emilio Estevez and Yeardley Smith are standouts, but there are a ton of people in it that you’ll point at and shout “Hey!”

I have a soft spot for this movie.

You are probably thinking, like all of us did, that possessing inanimate objects is a strange way of alien invasion. It is, how do you say, unique. It’s a surprising idea, since this does take place in 1986 so robots aren’t widespread enough to be a threat. What if your toaster decided to just try to kill you? Or your lawn mower? Or your kids remote control car?

I think most of us probably figured it out pretty quickly: move to higher ground, wait it out. You won’t have to wait long. We’re talking 1986 levels of fuel efficiency. You could still buy leaded gasoline! Give them a few hours of driving around looking for slow moving humans to run down and they’ll be out of gas.

Which is, of course something that the murder trucks figure out, and are able to communicate to the leftover humans that they want more gas. But I mean, what’s their end game here? They can get more gas…right up until there’s no more gas. Roll credits.

If you’re watching this movie, you aren’t watching it for the finely crafted plot points and act structure. You wanna see trucks smash stuff up and see some really despicable people get smushed. Enjoy it.

Which is better: the Movie or the Soundtrack?

Oh. Hell. Yes.

From the opening riff to the final drum beat, this album is everything that I love about AC/DC. I argue that without this soundtrack, this movie is barely watchable. The music here is like salt on a meal. One moment, you’re having plain old scrambled eggs. You sprinkle a little salt on it and suddenly it’s like a million flavor explosions in your mouth; the texture changes even.

I didn’t have much music, but my brother did. He got a copy of the soundtrack from somewhere, I don’t know where. It was the 80’s: you didn’t ask questions about where you got copies of tapes or Commodore 64 games. It happened and you were thankful for it. I think he just liked AC/DC, because I know he didn’t like horror movies that much.

This would have been sometime around 1988, because I owned a Walkman and had started mowing lawns. This was the soundtrack for lawnmowing for me. Partly because the music would keep me pumped up enough that I could do it. There was an undeniable part of me that fantasized how great it would be if the lawnmower WOULD come to life and just start moving of its own accord. Not in a murder-y way. Just, you know, so I didn’t need to push it so much.

This album is also sweet for driving tunes, for similar reasons.

Joking aside, the album is completely enjoyable on its own. I have more memories of the stuff I did while it was playing than I do of any particular scene in the movie. It got a LOT of play in my formative years. In a way, that makes the movie kind of like a parasite I think.

Oooh, there’s a movie idea in there somewhere.

Admittedly, not every song is gold. And the lyrics, well, let’s say they appeal to a certain level of maturity. These are not poems you would use to woo your beloved. But damnit, when you scream them and you throw that guitar and those drums behind it, it just works.

Yeah But What Else

Okay, yeah, maybe there was one lawn I mowed for an elderly lady who was probably my most difficult and demanding (but just the nicest) customer I had. And maybe she lived across the street from a kid in my class, who was a pretty decent guy if memory serves. Completely by coincidence you understand, he had an older sister who was, for lack of a better word, just the most beautiful woman I’d laid eyes upon in my short existence on this planet. And, if by some chance she were to be home on a Monday or Thursday evening and she were to perhaps look across and see how awesome I was at mowing her neighbors lawn, there was a possibility that she’d for sure overlook the fact I was three years younger than she was and she’d want to talk to me or hold hands.

But, you know, I mean it’s a great album and a not terrible movie.


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