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Maximum Overdrive - Blu-ray Review

Marvel’s Green Goblin mask on the grate of the black Western Star semi-truck; that is one key memory I have of Vestron Video Collector’s Series latest release.  A steamroller without a driver crushing the body and skull of a little league baseball player is another.  Wilmington, North Carolina rendered vacant (this includes the dogs) thanks to killer lawnmowers, hair dryers, RC cars, and Walkman Personal Stereos is still, at least in my carved-out skull, a lasting nightmare scenario. 

And, yes, I STILL imagine what I’d do if faced with the out of control soda machine, blasting cans of pop at unsuspecting kids and adults.  Duck and cover, mofos!  But, for real, the image of the Cessna plane plowed straight down into the very top of a school bus remains hard to shake.  The horror! 

"a nasty little flick that continues to live in infamy. Thank the Goddess then that Vestron Video Collection has seen fit to give it a proper upgrade"

I might have been a fat middle school student when I first saw this film but it, and its ROCKING soundtrack (thanks to AC/DC!!!), have long stayed with me.  Starring Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, and Laura Harrington, who in the hell can EVER forget the filth and the fury that is Maximum Overdrive?  Anyone who decries King as not a good director needs only to contemplate some of the horrific acts caught on camera here.  There is a filmic verve that cannot be ignored throughout much of the movie.

Unfortunately, it is a film that I find myself having to defend time and time again.  There are so many disturbing images running through it that, in today’s world, none of it – including the rocket launchers – feels out of the realm of possibility.  Hell, we already know – at least it feels like we’ve already accepted the fact – that the machines we use, especially the one you are using right now, will kill us all.

And in Maximum Overdrive, the survivors of this apocalyptical situation are huddled inside the Dixie Boy just biding their time.  They are powerless against this uprising as semi-trucks pile in line to gas up and go, go, go on killing sprees all across the highways of America. And it is the massively intimidating presence of the semi with the Green Goblin mask that keeps them in check. {googleads}

The big rigs have all gone crazy and they, with the bigger gas tanks, have managed to survive without too much human help…but the humans, aggressively monitored by a military truck with a mounted M60 machine gun, soon discover – using sewers, rocket launchers, and their own brains – how best to beat the threat.  But will it last?

This horror/comedy, written and directed by Stephen King, gave us an inside look into what the uprising of the machines might look like.  These cars that we use and take for granted acting out against us?  No way.  But, in Maximum Overdrive, that’s EXACTLY what King, adapting his own “Trucks” short story and stepping behind the camera to direct, suggests. 

Maximum Overdrive - Blu-ray Review

From outrageous kills to even outlandish situations involving bridges and airplane pursuits, this is a film that has been ridiculously cursed and condemned since it was originally released.  King says the movie sucks because he was coked out of his mind.  Well, he’s wrong.  Just as he is wrong that sobering up made him a better writer.  It didn’t and Maximum Overdrive, with King opening the movie as an extra at an ATM machine who calls his wife over to show that the machine just said he was an “asshole”, doesn’t suck either.

What it is, is a nasty little flick that continues to live in infamy. Thank the Goddess then that Vestron Video Collection has seen fit to give it a proper upgrade because, and I realize that I may be in the minority here, Maximum Overdrive is MAXIMUM fun!  Thrills, kills, and shifting gears!  Maximum King plus maximum kills equals maximum fun!

Who made who indeed!

5 beers


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Maximum Overdrive - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
98 mins
: Stephen King
Stephen King
Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington
: Action | Comedy
Stephen King's masterpiece of terror directed by the master himself.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I ain't never seen a hero with his ass in the air like that."
Theatrical Distributor:
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 25, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 23, 2018
Synopsis: A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal. {googleads}


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Maximum Overdrive - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray
- October 23, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A {googleads}

Offered courtesy of Lionsgate Films and its new handling of the Vestron Video imprint in 2.35:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer of Maximum Overdrive is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors.  The details in the diner and the clothing and some of the furnishing items are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer.  The atmosphere – especially the cinematography – is especially nice.  The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected.  Some stuff from the same era hasn’t made the HD transition quite as well, but Maximum Overdrive and its glowing red eyes looks better than it ever did.  Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate.  The sound – offered here in a strong DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track – presents the terror in an engaging manner.



  • There are two NEW commentaries: one with Tony Magistrale, author of Hollywood’s Stephen King and another with Actor and Comedian Jonah Ray and Blumhouse Film Executive Ryan Turek.

Special Features:

This release is HOT! HOT! HOT!  The new supplemental materials are fantastic, giving fans of the flick more reasons to love it.

 “Truck Stop Tales” — An Interview with Producer Martha De Laurentiis

“Rage Against The Machines” — An Interview with Actress Laura Harrington

“Honeymoon Horrors” — Interviews with Actor John Short and Actress Yeardley Smith

“Maximum Carnage” — An Interview with Make-Up Effects Creator Dean Gates

“A Kid in King’s Court” — An Interview with Actor Holter Graham

“The Wilmington Factor” — A Look Back at the Filming of MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE with Members of the Production Crew in North Carolina

“Who Made Who?” — An Interview with Murray Engleheart, Co-Author of AC/DC: MAXIMUM ROCK & ROLL

“Goblin Resurrectus” — The Restoration of the Happy Toyz Goblin

Theatrical Trailer

TV Spots

Behind-The-Scenes Footage

Still Gallery


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Maximum Overdrive - Blu-ray Review