This Stephen King Movie Was So Bad, It Basically Ended His Directing Career
Stephen King is, no doubt, one of the most famous novel writers alive.
And he also has plenty of experience in writing for movies and TV (not only for adaptation of his own books).
But when he tried his hand at film directing, back in eighties, the result was quite disastrous, prompting him to stick to writing from that point on.
Maximum Overdrive (based on King's short story Trucks) is one of the least successful Stephen King movies in history – despite being directed by Stephen King himself.
It failed to recoup its modest $9 million budget, got panned by critics (only 15% approval on Rotten Tomatoes today) and was treated only a bit less harsh even by Stephen King's fans – certainly it is not a sort of unpopular movie that managed to become a cult classic, it is an unpopular movie that got forgotten, and only remembered as an example of cinematic fail.
The only thing it can truly boast of is being better than the second film adaptation of Trucks (of the same name) by Chris Thomson, which was even more forgettable.
The concept involves various human devices, primarily automobiles, being granted malevolent sentience by a mysterious comet, as it passed near the Earth, and attempting to murder people.
Which is on the more ridiculous side of Stephen King's plots. However, what really doomed the movie was its production problems.
You see, Stephen King struck a deal with legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis, which placed King into the director's seat, but their relationship has quickly soured to the point where both acted as if they wanted to sabotage the production.
Stephen King was noted for substance abuse throughout the process of making Maximum Overdrive, and his problems were so obvious that at one point security barred him from the set.
On the other hand, De Laurentiis staffed much of the crew with Italians who could barely speak English. The behind-the-scenes issues culminated in an accident when cameraman Armando Nanuzzi lost his eye, after King insisted that (unseen on the screen) lawnmower blades be kept in one scene to maintain realism.
These blades cut a wooden planks under the mower's base, sending slivers of wood into Nanuzzi's face. Later Nanuzzi sued both King and De Laurentiis Productions for damages.
With production atmosphere like that, one has to wonder how the movie was even completed.