“Who Made Who” – AC/DC


As someone who is increasingly trying to look at glasses half-full instead of half-empty, here’s a big positive that was created out of a negative. The positive in this case is a totally f–king kick-ass song by AC/DC, composed for the 1986 Stephen King-directed film “Maximum Overdrive.”

Now, I actually like Stephen King and have enjoyed a lot of the adaptations made from his novels and stories. If you sneer at this assertion, let me remind you of some of the awesome films that resulted as adaptations: Brian DePalma’s “Carrie,” Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” David Cronenberg’s “The Dead Zone,” Bryan Singer’s “Apt Pupil,” Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption.” And yes, I’ve even enjoyed a few of the lesser adaptations: John Carpenter’s “Christine,” Mark Lester’s “Firestarter.”

Alas “Maximum Overdrive” was not one of them. In fact, it’s probably in my Top 30 of the worst films I paid full evening admission to see in a theater. King later admitted he was snorting tons of coke when making this film, and sadly, that’s about right.

But … you can’t ignore the AC/DC score, especially this beyond awesome theme song. One of their best.

“Creepshow” (1982) dir. George Romero, scr. Stephen King


Back when I was 12 years old, I used to visit my Dad in the Washington D.C. area about 4 times a year. There was a mall with a 6-screen multiplex within walking distance of my Dad’s towhouse, so I used to spend a lot of my days buying records, reading books in the bookstore, and seeing movies at the mall.

Being a horror movie fan (the sicker the better) and a “Fangoria” reader at the time (a magazine which showed all of the gory scenes from popular movies the same way stroke mags feature aspiring model/actress/whatevers working very hard to make the rent), I was familiar with the R-rated, gory “Creepshow” that was being released to theaters that fall. With George “Dawn of the Dead” Romero directing and Stephen King as the screenwriter, crafting a hyper-sleazy homage to the hyper-sleazy E.C. Comics of the 1950s, I knew this was going to be a great film.

However, the film was “R” rated, which meant (at least from the religious right city where I grew up), that an adult had to buy your ticket and watch it with you in the theater. I knew there was no way in hell my Dad was going to watch it with me. Not because my Dad was a prude (he took me to the original “Mad Max” and Richard Rush’s “The Stunt Man” when I was 10), but because he thought horror movies were stupid.

I knew I could probably sneak in, but every time I’ve always tried to do something underhanded in my life, I always get caught. I’ve never been a good liar or sneak (some people say that’s a good thing). Anyway, I thought “Hey … I’m tall for my age … Maybe I could pass for 17.” I walked up to the box office at the multiplex, trying to be cool and “casually” requested a ticket for “Creepshow.” The ticket taker said “$2.50” I threw down my cash and ran in to the theater thinking “Yeah, motherf–kers! That’s how I roll!” Of course, it never occurred to me that the theater probably had no policy about enforcing the age policy on R-rated movies (ahh, the 1980s in a major city!), but for an afternoon, I thought I was a motherf–kin’ badassss!

The film didn’t disappoint. It delivered lots of gore, bad language, and very very nasty behavior. But with the comic book stylings of the production design, it was all in very good, tasteless fun. It’s funny, but the attached preview doesn’t even remotely hint at how nasty this film is. But even still, like an Alice Cooper album, you find yourself more entertained that offended. Not Romero’s best by any means, but still a lot of fun.