➊ American Truck Simulator: A Short Story

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American Truck Simulator: A Short Story

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An electric knife injures waitress Wanda June, and arcade machines in the back room electrocute a customer. Cook and paroled ex-convict Bill Robinson begins to suspect something is wrong. Meanwhile, at a Little League game, a vending machine kills the coach by firing canned soda point-blank at him. A driverless roller compactor flattens one of the fleeing children, but Duncan's son Deke manages to escape on his bike.

Newlyweds Connie and Curt stop at a gas station, where a brown tow truck tries to kill Curt, but he and Connie escape in their car. Deke rides through his town as humans and even pets are brutally killed by lawnmowers, chainsaws, electric hair dryers , pocket radios , RC cars and an ice cream truck. At the Dixie Boy, a black Western Star sporting a giant Green Goblin mask on its grille runs over bible salesman Camp Loman after a red garbage truck kills Duncan. Later, several big rig trucks encircle the truck stop. Meanwhile, a truck pursues Connie and Curt, but they make it crash off the side of the road as it explodes. They arrive at the truck stop and try to pass between the trucks, but their car is hit and overturns.

Bill and Brett Graham, a hitchhiker, rush to help them, but the trucks attack them. The owner Bubba Hendershot uses M72 LAW rockets he had stored in a bunker hidden under the diner to destroy many of the trucks. Deke makes it to the truck stop later that evening and tries to enter via the sewers, but is obstructed by the wire mesh covering the opening. That night, the survivors hear Loman screaming in a ditch, and Bill and Curt sneak out to help him by climbing through the sewers. Deke finds Loman and believes he is dead, but he suddenly jumps up and attacks Deke. Bill and Curt rescue Deke, and a truck chases them back into the pipe.

The angered Hendershot uses the rocket launcher to blow up the bulldozer, but the Mule fires its post-mounted M60 machine gun into the building, killing several people, including Hendershot and Wanda. The Mule then demands, via sending morse code signals through its horn that Deke deciphers, that the humans pump the trucks' diesel for them in exchange for their lives. The survivors soon realize their own machines have enslaved them.

Bill suggests they escape to a local island just off the coast, on which no motorized vehicles are permitted. While the crew is resting, Bill theorizes that the comet is actually a "broom" operated by interstellar aliens that are using Earth's machines to destroy humanity so the aliens can repopulate the Earth. During a fueling operation, Bill sneaks a grenade onto the Mule vehicle, destroying it, then leads the party out of the diner via a sewer hatch to the main road just as the trucks demolish the entire truck stop. The Green Goblin truck pursues the survivors to the docks, managing to kill trucker Brad when he falls behind. After Bill destroys the truck with a direct hit from an M72 LAW rocket shot, the survivors then sail off to safety.

A title card epilogue explains that two days later, a UFO was destroyed by a Soviet "weather satellite" conveniently equipped with class IV nuclear missiles and a laser cannon. Six days later, the Earth passes out of the comet's tail, and the survivors are still alive. The film was the first to be made by Embassy Pictures after it had been bought by Dino de Laurentiis. De Laurentiis chose North Carolina because it was a "right to work state," meaning that he could hire non-union crews, which would greatly cut down on production costs.

It would be the directorial debut of writer Stephen King , who had a three picture deal with De Laurentiis. In a interview with Tony Magistrale for the book Hollywood's Stephen King , first-time director King stated that he was " coked out of [his] mind all through its production, and [he] really didn't know what [he] was doing". I didn't. But I did know that he was drunk. That 6 o'clock in the morning we have a roll call and he's drinking beers. And by , he's on his 10th beer. At a fan screening in , Jock Brandis , the film's gaffer, told the audience that King rode a motorcycle from Maine to Wilmington, NC, so he could ride alongside semi-trucks on the highway. He wanted to get a better feel for how terrifying big-rigs could be when in close proximity, and to better know their loud sounds and movements.

When King arrived at the studio on his bike for the initial production meeting, the security guards wouldn't let him through the front gate because they did not believe he was part of any production taking place on the lot. His appearance was disheveled, and he was rambling on about a film he was to direct involving killer trucks that had come alive due to a space comet. He was granted access to the studio lot after Brandis pointed out that the plates on his motorcycle were from Maine. Brandis, a Canadian gaffer who had worked with De Laurentiis on The Dead Zone , was tasked with many jobs not normally given to a film gaffer.

Dino erroneously believed Brandis could speak Italian, and would be able to bridge the language gap between Italian cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi and the local crew. Nannuzzi had previously worked in Wilmington with De Laurentiis on Cat's Eye , and would struggle with communication throughout the film, often nodding and replying "yes, yes, yes," to every question. Brandis is also featured in the opening scenes of the film, driving a Ford F-Series dump truck over the Isabella Holmes draw bridge when it opens.

It is believed Dino's insistence that Estivez participate in the film was when Stephen King became disillusioned with the production. King would also participate in golf cart races on the studio lot during down time. Many wardrobe and special effects choices were made by De Laurentiis personally. During a dailies screening of Laura Harrington 's first scene, Dino became upset that she was wearing jeans. A new scene was written so she could change into something more revealing for the rest of the film.

It was a purpose-built location, existing specifically for the film. The land is now a privately owned storage area. One of the iconic Green Goblin heads from the cab of the Happy Toys truck remained on the studio lot until the mid's, when it was sold to a private collector. While shooting the scene when a lawnmower comes alive in a residential neighborhood, cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi was struck in the right eye, his "shooting eye," by a large splinter of wood that had become lodged in the blade.

According to camera assistant Silvia Giulietti , "We were shooting a scene where a lawnmower—the machine that cut the grass—was following a boy to kill him. And we put the camera on the ground with piece of wood beneath. To wedge, okay? Better that you let it. Nannuzzi was helicoptered from set and then flown to a hospital in Raleigh where he eventually lost his eye. Production was halted for brief period, but Nannuzzi returned to finish the film.

The suit was filed in New York, as King and many of the other defendants often did business in that state. The case was later settled. He died on May 14, During some of the studio production work, Wilmington was grazed by Hurricane Gloria. Winds and rain were very heavy, and the crews created a competition to see who could move from stage to stage without being blown over. Production was eventually halted again for a brief time while the storm passed and the studio lot could be assessed for damage. He lived in nearby Carolina Beach until his death in Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that "by making the machines' malevolence so all-encompassing — so amoral — Mr.

King loses the fillip of retribution in better horror films. For the most part, he has taken a promising notion — our dependence on our machines — and turned it into one long car-crunch movie, wheezing from setups to crackups. Unfortunately, master manipulator Stephen King, making his directorial debut from his own script, fails to create a convincing enough environment to make the kind of nonsense he's offering here believable or fun. Worse still, the movie never really builds up any momentum or jars us with unexpected jolts of horror. John Clute and Peter Nicholls [24] have offered a modest reappraisal of Maximum Overdrive , admitting the film's many flaws, but arguing that several scenes display enough visual panache to suggest that King was not entirely without talent as a director.

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