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Is This Stephen King's Worst Film Ever?

Few creators have stamped their brand across an entire genre in the way Stephen King has with horror. Everyone knows what you mean if someone is "going Carrie" or if a creepy locale is "straight out of 'The Shining.'" And would coulrophobia be as widespread as it is today without Pennywise?

King doesn't live solely in Halloweentown, however. One of the most well-regarded of the films adapted from King's work is "The Shawshank Redemption." The horrors in that story are intrinsic to humanity itself — less about spooky ghosts, more about the power one can wield against another. But if "The Shawshank Redemption" is one of the best Stephen King movies, what's the worst?

King didn't have much love for Stanley Kubrick's version of "The Shining." He disliked how menacing Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance was, and how the warmer emotional aspects of his story were eschewed in favor of chilling visuals. Jack literally freezes to death in the Kubrick version, whereas in the book and more faithful TV movie, he burns up. But no one could claim that "The Shining" is the worst Stephen King movie, not even King himself. That honor belongs to another film.

The worst Stephen King movie was directed by the man himself

By far, the most unhinged Stephen King adaptation is 1986's "Maximum Overdrive." It is silly, tonally inconsistent, and generally makes no sense. Vulture ranked it as 42nd of 42 King adaptations, writing, "The movie's tone is set in the opening scene, in which a man (played by King) tries to take money out of an ATM, and the ATM calls him an a**hole."

"Maximum Overdrive" is about machines revolting and destroying humanity. It's a frequent concern in fiction, being a plot in episodes of "Futurama" and "The X-Files," not to mention the entire premise of "Westworld." A ragtag group of survivors takes shelter in a truck stop when all machines gain sentience and go on a killing spree. Well, some machines come to life. Others are still able to be used by our heroes, explained away by the line, "Some machines are waking up slower than others." It's based on King's short story "Trucks" from his collection "Night Shift." The film stars Emilio Estevez and Yeardley Smith (best known for voicing Lisa Simpson lo these 30-odd years).

This movie is also the only King adaptation directed by the man himself, which was probably not the best idea. The author wrote in his book "Hollywood's Stephen King" that he was the root of many of the film's issues. "The problem with that film is that I was coked out of my mind all through its production, and I really didn't know what I was doing," he confessed.