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Maximum Overdrive is one of the worst Stephen King adaptations, and it needs to be rebooted by Joe Hill. Of course, Maximum Overdrive is notorious for being campy, ridiculous and having very few redeemable qualities. Most King fans would rather it to stay buried in the '80s, but I don’t think it should be. I believe the concept has teeth; it just needs the right visionary to bring out its true potential.
Originally, I figured Guillermo del Toro would be the right director to tackle such a project, but since then, I’ve changed my mind. I think it should be Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son and heir apparent. Here are some reasons why.
Joe Hill Wants To Reboot Maximum Overdrive
So why should Joe Hill, of all the perfectly qualified directors, direct Maximum Overdrive? Because he wants to do it. That’s about as good of a reason as any. I’d wager many competent directors would balk at the idea of tackling this project, especially directors who have proven success with adapting Stephen King works, like Mike Flanagan.
If Maximum Overdrive is going to roar, it needs to have a director and a visionary behind it. Someone who truly believes the project can work and knows how to scare people half to death with it. When speaking with Bloody Disgusting, Joe Hill admitted he’d be up for directing Maximum Overdrive. Since he’s all for it, and since he likely knows his father’s works like the back of his hand, why not just give it to him?
Joe Hill Has A Great Idea On How The Reboot Should Be Done
Joe Hill pitched the idea that his Maximum Overdrive would be about the trucks becoming homicidal because of artificial intelligence, which tracks. In a world full of smartphones, smart homes, smart cars and artificial intelligence improving at a rapid rate, technology is increasingly moving outside our control. Whether it be a hacker infiltrating a system or a sentient intelligence working against humanity, the idea that trucks could suddenly turn against their masters doesn’t sound so ludicrous anymore.
Originally, the trucks in Maximum Overdrive went haywire when Earth passed through the tail of the Rea-M comet. As a result, trucks turned homicidal. Obviously that’s ridiculous. It’s fun, but still moronic and removes the scare factor from the equation because no one will believe that’s a thing.
So imagine for a second that in this Maximum Overdrive reboot, not only are trucks and cars not doing what we want, which would suddenly throw the world upside down, but they’re also killing people left and right, all because of a glitch in the automation system. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s scary stuff, and reportedly so does Joe Hill.
Joe Hill Is Just As Good Of A Writer As His Dad If Not Better
Officially named Joseph Hillström King, he decided to go by Joe Hill in 1997 to get out of the shadow of his world-famous father. Joe Hill has written four novels, two short-story collections and some comic books, among many other things. He’s also the recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship and the Bram Stoker award. Needless to say, Joe Hill has writing chops.
Similar to his father, Joe Hill's writing veers toward horror, but he’s also dived into weird tales and science fiction. He has an uncanny ability to tell deeply emotional stories with characters you can empathize with, while putting them into horrifying situations.
He’s also boundlessly creative, coming up with compelling characters, addictive hooks and imaginative worlds and mythologies. One only has to experience Locke and Key or NOS4A2 to see that. With such a strong writing background, Joe Hill could easily adapt Maximum Overdrive to the screen and improve on it.
It Would Be Joe Hill's First Time Directing, Just Like His Dad
Stephen King’s first and final time directing a movie was Maximum Overdrive. From a marketing standpoint, Stephen King directing was a great ploy to attract an audience (especially diehard Stephen King fans), but King is an author and really didn’t have any business being behind a camera. Plus, at the time, he was on some serious drugs when filming, admitting he was “coked out of my mind.”
Truth be told, Joe Hill hasn’t directed anything either. Like his father, he’s primarily an author, having written 20th Century Ghosts, Horns and The Fireman, among other novels and short story collections. So at first glance, that could be a good reason why he shouldn’t take on Maximum Overdrive. But I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. Many first time directors, who seemed to have no business directing, have proven to be super capable.
While it’s hard to say what hand he had to play in this, Joe Hill has produced several solid adaptations of his own work to TV and film. Locke and Key and NOS4A2 have both been warmly received by critics, and I’d argue Horns is much better than most give it credit. Joe Hill was a producer on all of those projects and likely had given his own input. Taking the director's chair could be the next logical step in his career.
At the end of the day, Joe Hill directing Maximum Overdrive would also be following in his father’s footsteps one more time. The serendipity of it all would be almost too good to be true.
Joe Hill Might Be The Only One Who Could Redeem Maximum Overdrive
You don’t need to be a Stephen King fan to know that the author doesn’t have the greatest track record with his adaptations. Sometimes filmmakers hit the ball out of the park, like The Shining, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption. But then there are movies like The Dark Tower, Cell and of course, Maximum Overdrive, which makes you wonder how things could have gone so wrong.
Lately, Stephen King has been seeing a renaissance of sorts, and some filmmakers, like Andy Muschietti and Mike Flanagan, have had success adapting his work. With the winds turning in his favor, and with a new generation discovering Stephen King, there’s never been a better time to adapt Maximum Overdrive. And let’s be honest, it needs redemption.
Of Stephen King’s works, Maximum Overdrive is often the most denigrated. But that also puts a reboot in a strong position, because everyone loves an underdog story. The idea of Joe Hill coming in to redeem Maximum Overdrive could attract a lot of people eager to see what he would do with the story.
Joe Hill Could Pitch The Maximum Overdrive Reboot To Netflix
Joe Hill and Stephen King have several TV shows and movies on Netflix. Joe Hill’s Locke and Key kicked off a successful first season, and both Stephen King and Joe Hill teamed up for their film In The Tall Grass. Needless to say, I’d assume they have connections with Netflix.
In my mind, Netflix is a perfect place for a Maximum Overdrive reboot. It has a horror audience, it reportedly allows more creative control for its filmmakers (something Joe Hill would need to carry out his Maximum Overdrive vision) and it would free Joe Hill from the pressures of having to overcome the extraordinary obstacle of performing well at the box office. On top of that, Netflix is known for taking projects other studios wouldn’t dare touch.
There’s no doubt a Maximum Overdrive reboot would be a tough challenge. Yet, who better to take it on than Stephen King’s son himself? Joe Hill wants to do it, he has an idea for it and he could wrap the idea up nicely for Netflix to sell to its established audience. What an event that would be! The stars are aligned here. Joe Hill just needs the motivation to carry it over the finish line.