The Maximum Overdrive Scene That Became Way Too Real For The Cast

The sole directorial credit to master of horror Stephen King is largely considered to be one of the worst films ever made, and King has gone on record numerous times admitting that he directed the film while during the height of his addiction, "coked out of his mind," and doesn't even remember directing much of the film. As a proud apologist for "Maximum Overdrive," the accidental camp masterpiece has been a source of instant joy throughout my life, but I completely understand why so many people can't seem to get on board with the final product. Based on King's short story "Trucks," "Maximum Overdrive" is about a world gone mad after a radiation storm triggers machines on Earth to come to life and attack humans. A group of survivors hole up at a North Carolina diner/truck stop, surrounded by homicidal semi-trucks looking to run them down.

While most of the movie takes place at the truck stop, our introduction to the crazed machines takes place all over the city. Vending machines project cans of soda at unsuspecting players and coaches during a little league game, a roller compactor flattens a small child, and an ATM famously tells Stephen King in his director's cameo that he's an a-hole on its digital screen. However, there was one moment in "Maximum Overdrive" that crossed the threshold from fantasy into reality, when one of the rigged machines genuinely went out of control and put the lives of those working on set at risk.

Who Made Who

During one scene, the camera follows Deke (Holter Graham) riding his bike through the suburbs to sprinkler systems going off on their own, a delivery driver hanging out of the window as their car clearly purposefully crashed, a dead dog with a toy car lodged in its maw, a man bleeding from the ears with headphones still covering, a woman strangled by her blow dryer cord, a rogue ice cream truck driving itself, and most notably, a blood soaked lawn mower hell-bent on chasing him down. Fortunately, Deke could outrun the lawn mower and safely escapes, but some people on the set weren't so lucky.

Director of Photography Armando Nannuzzi was a legendary Italian cinematographer, and shot over 100 films throughout the course of his career. After working on "Silver Bullet," Nannuzzi was brought back to shoot his second King film, "Maximum Overdrive," and became the victim of his very own horror story. The lawn mower was remote controlled in order to give the appearance of running on its own, but at one point went out of control, running into a block of wood used to support the camera. As the lawnmower was functional, it chopped up the wood block and shot wood splinters everywhere. One of those splinters went directly into Nannuzzi, and he lost his right eye in the process. He sued Stephen King for $18 million in damages, but the suit was eventually settled out of court. Impressively, the loss of his eye didn't end Nannuzzi's career, and he continued to DP films, including Roger Corman's "Frankenstein Unbound."