Blu-ray Review: Maximum Overdrive (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
By Dr. Zaius
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Maximum Overdrive Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray
Written and directed by Stephen King
Starring Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith, John Short
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Maximum Overdrive marked the directorial debut of the most successful horror author of all time, Stephen King. The film and King’s direction were widely panned to the tune of 24% on Metacritic and a measly 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Time has been kind however, as the film built a cult following over the years and now there’s a brand new collector’s edition Blu-ray out by Vestron Video.
Based on King’s short story “Trucks,” Maximum Overdrive is about a rag tag group of survivors battling sentient machines sprung to life due to a mysterious comet. While no one will confuse this with an Oscar-winning classic, or even a top King adaptation, there is a certain charm about this weird movie.
Starring Emilio Estevez in the peak of his Brat-Pack days, and featuring a killer AC/DC heavy soundtrack, the film contains some classic scenes and moments, including the opening little league scene where a team is beset by a killer soda machine and steam roller, and of course there’s the iconic Green Goblin head Happy Toyz truck. The film also stars Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon from Tim Burton’s Batman), Yeardley “Lisa Simpson” Smith, and features cameos from a young Giancarlo Esposito and Frankie Faison.
Vestron really outdid themselves on this edition, showcasing the gory fun in a gorgeous 1080p HD cut with original 2.0 stereo audio. There are two commentary tracks: one from Tony Magistrale, author of Hollywood’s Stephen King, and the other from actor Jonah Ray and Blumhouse executive Ryan Turek. Along with behind the scenes footage, trailers, and TV spots, the Vestron folks compiled tons of interviews with those involved. These include the following special feature segments, all about 10-15 minutes.
Truck Stop Tales with Producer Martha De Laurentiis – This is a great interview talking about the production in North Carolina, being around the creativity of Stephen King, and building a cast around Brat Packer Emilio Estevez. The biggest issues she discussed are of course the visual effects and the budget blowing up. They went over the top with the gore effects, drew the ire of critics, and created a cult classic that still resonates.
Rage Against The Machines – An interview with Laura Harrington (Brett) as she discusses her casting in the film and working with Stephen King and Emilio Estevez. The craziest story is her being woken up by a bang on the door and opening to find Tom Cruise telling her that they’re (he and Estevez) were going boogie boarding.
Honeymoon Horrors – Interviews with everyone’s favorite “just married” couple, John Short and Yeardley Smith. They play Curt and Connie and are the two of the best parts of the movie. Smith’s southern accent was great and she thought this would be the big break out for her as an actress. Little did she know, most would remember her name for playing an animated 10-year-old for nearly 30 years as Lisa Simpson entered the mainstream. This was another fun interview feature, the highlight being Short talking about the family atmosphere on set and some near deadly stunt work.
A Kid in King’s Court – Another interview, this time with child star Holter Graham who played Deke in the film. He talks about auditioning for Sissy Spacek films and both lead roles in Stand By Me before getting this part. He mentions it being enough of a cult film for his to still get residual checks 33 years later.
Maximum Carnage – We change gears”¦ nyuk nyuk, to talk with make-up effects creator Dean Gates. Gates was working with Tom Savini when he got hired. Regretfully, a ton of awesome gore effects were left on the cutting room floor. Gates discusses how much fun everyone has on genre films because of the make-up and special effects involved.
The Wilmington Factor – Vestron goes to Wilmington, North Carolina, and talks with locals who worked in the up and coming film industry there in the early ’80s thanks mostly to Stephen King productions including Firestarter, Cat’s Eye, Silver Bullet, and Maximum Overdrive. They talk about meeting movie stars and seeing a resurgence in business to downtown areas.
Who Made Who? AC/DC meets Maximum Overdrive – When many think of Maximum Overdrive they think immediately to AC/DC’s Who Made Who album, since the seminal rock band did the whole soundtrack. Here Vestron interviews Murray Engleheart, the co-author of AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll to discuss the interconnectivity between the band and movie. He said Who Made Who helped reignite AC/DC sales and solidify them as one of rock’s greatest acts.
Goblin Resurrectus – Even if you’ve never seen Maximum Overdrive, you’ve seen the iconic Green Goblin head that sat atop the infamous Happy Toyz truck in the film. This interview segment introduces us to Tim Shockey, former owner of a video store, now owner of The Goblin Project, which restored the epic head. This is a story straight out of American Pickers, as Shockey got the burned, semi-destroyed head from the film site in a deal for his video store and then from there, it sat in his backyard nearly two decades before he decided it was time to commit to the restoration. He takes the head with him all over the country to horror conventions and car shows.
Whether you love the campy fun of the film, or a Stephen King completist, this Vestron Video collector’s edition Blu-Ray of Maximum Overdrive is a must-own.