Trucks (Chris Thomson, 1997, Canada)

Trucks is the second adaptation of Stephen King's 1973 short story, first published in the men's magazine Cavalier and then later in King's 1978 collection Night Shift. It is rare for a King short story to receive two feature adaptations, and there are not any examples with the possible exception of Children of the Corn. King directed the first adaptation of the story in 1986 with the Dino De Laurentiis produced Maximum Overdrive - a film that King acknowledged at the time and still acknowledges as a colossal failure. Perhaps this is why he gave the USA network another crack at the film - and one that was intended to be a pilot for a series.

It's hard to imagine how USA would have spun this film into a series, as there is not much meat on the bone. Again we have the familiar Twilight Zone scenario of a group of strangers brought together when all of the trucks begin coming to life. Trucks feels very much like a TV production and plays it safe compared to the manic, coked-out AC/DC-fueled energy of King's original adaptation. Whereas in the original adaptation all kinds of machines were coming to life, here the focus is mainly on a group of four or so trucks. There is one hilarious scene involving a toy truck, but this scene was added for the video cut of the film and it feels that way. Several other additional deaths were added to the video cut, creating a disjointed feeling. Timothy Busfield might be somewhat more appealing as our protagonist than Emilio Estevez, but the result is somehow more boring than the original film. Trucks falls in the bottom rank of King adaptations, and even fans of bad movies will have to acknowledge that this one falls short.



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