Flickchart Comment #24: Trog (1970) vs. Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Warning: unless you are a true aficionado of dreadfully terrible movies, do not take the fact that I choose one of these films over the other one to be a go signal to renting and watching the winning disaster. The name of the game at Flickchart is to actually make a choice once you have watched these films (please don't choose a film if you have not seen it all the way through; you are only muddying the waters).

I first saw Trog, otherwise known as the last film of Joan Crawford, as a youthful lad of about twelve or so, and the fact that I remember little about the film beyond some fleeting impressions of the rancid makeup effects probably speaks to how horrid I found it even then. Cut to now, with a fresh viewing from about three months ago under my belt, and I can tell you that there is little here to see beyond a cookie-cutter lesson in how a cinematic legend goes about collecting her final big screen paycheck. It's take on the day-to-day struggles of British anthropologists probably makes it a worthwhile viewing... if you are a British anthropologist and need something at which to vent your frustrations for 90 minutes.

We actually waited in earnest for Maximum Overdrive to come in 1986, being that is was the only film directed by Stephen King, and we were (mostly) big fans of his in his heyday, and especially loved his short story collections such as Night Shift, from which the story Trucks formed the main basis for this film. What a tremendous letdown. Such a letdown that I all but avoided King adaptations until Misery came out, and even then, it didn't seem safe to go to it. That King warned people away from Overdrive for several years is really all that needs to be said, but I will take it over Trog for a few reasons: 1) future Trump ex-wife gets killed by flying watermelons in the opening credits, 2) the killer monster truck (seemingly in charge) has a Green Goblin face, probably to make it a little bit scarier than just a plain Mack truck confronting people (which sort of works, but me, I just like seeing the Green Goblin maniacally driving around), and 3) inventive deaths by flying soda cans, a toy police car (it kills a dog), and an electrocuting video game. It's all highly ridiculous, and not quite so funny when you realize someone lost an eye on the set.

Trog would have won this battle if Miss Joan had gone the extra mile and done a make-out scene with the troglodyte anthropoid in the film, but since she didn't, Overdrive takes the wheel...

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