Rick and Morty Just Brutally Skewered Stephen King's Worst Sci-Fi Movie
Two Stephen King parodies for the price of one!
There’s nothing like a good-old-fashioned Rick and Morty anthology episode. The boundary-pushing science-fiction show set the bar impossibly high back in Season 1 Episode 8 (“Rixty Minutes”) with its interdimensional channel-surfing concept. Ever since then, you can pretty much expect some sort of anthology episode from each season, whether its a direct sequel to the original episode, a brand new twist (“Morty’s Mindblowers”) or a meta-commentary on the concept of the anthology itself (“Never Ricking Morty”). In Season 7, Rick and Morty pushed those limits yet again.
Season 7 Episode 6 (“Rickfending Your Mort”) is the closest Rick and Morty’s ever come to an actual clip show, with an omniscient cosmic rock-being narrating scenes from adventures we’d never seen before. And hidden within those never-been-seen flashbacks were not just one but two Stephen King parodies — including a reference to arguably the worst movie ever associated with the prolific horror writer.
Rick and Morty vs. Maximum Overdrive
Among the many adventures that Rick and Morty revisit, one of the weirdest is “Maximum Overdrive With Clothes.” If you’re unfamiliar, Maximum Overdrive is a sci-fi thriller that was written and directed by Stephen King. Released in 1986, the movie is based on King’s short story “Trucks” and represents one of the author’s one and only credit as a film director. It’s also considered to be one of the worst movies ever made.
The core concept is both simple and ridiculous. “Trucks” takes place at a gas station after all large vehicles mysteriously come to life, quickly rising up against humanity and forcing the survivors to pump gas or be murdered. The movie expanded the concept with a passing comet causing various inanimate machines to become sentient and attack their human masters.
Unfortunately, this paper-thin plot couldn’t be stretched into a feature film. Maximum Overdrive has a 15 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics blaming King’s poor direction — especially in the scenes focused on the humans.
In the world of Rick and Morty, Maximum Overdrive is somehow even dumber. Instead of cars and arcade machines, it’s shirts and pants that rise up to murder their humans, forcing the survivors to wear cardboard boxes. The fact that our heroes admit this version is actually pretty scary only underscores how easy it is to do better than Stephen King.
Rick and Morty in the Pet Sematary
Funnily enough, the same episode also features a reference to one of Stephen King’s more celebrated stories: Pet Semetary. In an extended “flashback,” Rick and Morty discover the cemetery’s ability to bring the dead back to life. So, of course, they decide to experiment with what Rick calls “brand new science.” That includes reviving Benjamin Franklin multiple times, burying a kangaroo up to its waste, and burying a car to see if the gas tank magically refills.
In this case, Rick and Morty celebrates a classic King story, examining the core concept and pushing it into new territory in a weird and twisted way that only the sci-fi cartoon is capable of.