More Maximum Overdrive

I was eleven the first time I saw this movie. I always identified with the child protagonist, Deke Keller, played by Holter Graham. In an epic scene that takes place at the baseball field, Deke’s team wins the game and the coach offers to buy sodas for the lot of them. After inserting the money, the Coach becomes frustrated because the soda machine refuses to work. At this point, a little leaguer says, “Uh-oh, nooo sodas.” This is one of those lines I find myself using at random times when life seems too good to be true and I expect to get a treat, but instead, machines go haywire and my little league coach gets impaled by several cans of soda at close range leaving a bloody hole where his eye used to be…or, you know, if they only have regular Dr. Pepper but I want Diet…”Uh-oh, nooo sodas.” After the soda machine begins to open fire, the little leaguers run for cover; some are struck to the ground, some make it out, and one poor kid experiences what may be the BEST DEATH in the movie. As the little leaguers flee the baseball field, Deke witnesses one of his teammates crash his bike just as a rogue steamroller plows through the chain-link fence. The steamroller crushes the kid while the choppy horror sound of a knife in the shower à la Psycho plays in the background. For this scene, King placed a bag of fake blood in the head of the dummy being used. When the steamroller crushed it, fake blood shot through the air, streaking the lawn and smearing the steamroller. The scene was deemed too graphic for audiences and King re-shot it without the blood to avoid an X rating.

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And now we’ve arrived at the bible salesman, Camp Loman, played by Christopher Murney. We wait for his death with a bit more anticipation than Bubba’s after his misogynistic sexual harassment of our hitchhiking female protagonist, Brett, played by Laura Harrington. After stroking her thigh and ignoring the radio’s warning about machines acting oddly, Brett forces Camp to pull off the road and into none other than the Dixie Boy truck stop. After doing so, she exits the car and he follows her in a religious rant. This does not appear to sit well with the goblin truck, who charges toward the two. Brett pulls Camp out of the way of the truck, but it isn’t long before he finds himself right back in the crossfire when his car is hit by yet another angry truck. As Camp runs out yelling, the goblin truck charges him from behind and knocks him into a nearby ditch. Later that night, after regaining consciousness, Camp’s screeching cry can be heard by all those at the Dixie Boy. Naturally, it’s Emilio Estevez to the rescue.

Meanwhile, after the anarchy on the baseball field, Deke rides his bike through an idealistic neighborhood as automatic sprinklers from the neighboring lawns shoot off upon his arrival, one by one leading him into a suburban graveyard. In this graveyard, we see a variety of death: death by Walkman, death by hairdryer, death by power window of a pizza delivery vehicle, and the particularly harsh reality of one dog’s fate…death by an RC toy cop car. At this point, we hear the jingling tune of “King of the Road.” Deke hides as an ice cream truck reading My-T Tas-T on the side circles through the neighborhood. When it passes out of sight, he steps out of hiding and a bloody lawnmower kicks into gear. Deke realizes that the only place left to go is his father’s workplace which is, of course, the Dixie Boy truck stop.

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As Deke reaches the Dixie Boy, he sees the trucks circling the building and pumps. He sneaks through the surrounding ditch looking for a way in when who should he run into but Camp Loman who grabs him (in what might be the scariest scene in the movie) just as Emilio pops out of a connecting tunnel after having crawled through the sewers. He rescues Deke and Camp Loman just dies…like, he just falls down dead in true B-movie style. Now, with a way out, the Dixie Boy crew make their great escape.

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