One day, in a small town in Nevada, trucks become sentient beings wishing to kill or enslave all the squishy meatbags. Somehow, the trucks are able to control every part of themselves and rampage around a small truck stop. After killing several members of the cast, the trucks make it obvious what they want: To be fed by the gas station owner.
"Trucks" is a Stephen King short story from the anthology Night Shift that was later adapted into a made-for-tv movie by the same name. The story had previously been made into a much more loosely adapted movie, ironically directed by King himself, called Maximum Overdrive.
This story/movie contains examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: A decent amount is added to the short story while staying most faithful to the original.
- Both inverted and played straight; Instead of all machines, only trucks come alive which, unlike Maximum Overdrive, also includes light-duty vehicles, though only two pickups actually come alive.
- Attack of the Killer Whatever: Trucks.
- Drives Like Crazy: Everyone assumes this until they finally figure out no one's driving.
- Downer Ending: In the book, not only do the trucks emerge victorious, but the story goes out of its way to crush every single possibility of a happy ending for the humans. The tv movie on the other hand went for a....
- Et Tu, Brute?: Two vintage pickups come to life, a '47 GMC stakebed and a '59 Chevy. Both kill one person each before being destroyed by other trucks; the '47 GMC is smashed into by the main truck and the '59 Chevy is accidentally destroyed by the '73 Ford F-700 bucket truck during an attempt to kill a woman who was hitting the Chevy with an axe.
- Gainax Ending: The surviving humans manage to escape by helicopter. The final shot is of the survivors looking at an empty cockpit as the copter flies itself, while the voice of a character who'd left to get help says "just hang on, folks."
- Karma Houdini: The orange 1973 Ford F-700 bucket truck in the movie. Easily the most evil truck in the movie, it heavily damages the main character's car, kills two characters, "murders" a fellow truck, and even attempts to suffocate two teenagers in a drain pipe! After the characters flee the truck stop, which is soon blown up, the truck just disappears, perhaps having moved on to find easier prey.
- Missing Mom: The main character moved to where the movie takes place to protect his son after his wife dies. Whoops.
- No Name Given: Most of the characters in the book go unnamed, though some versions give the narrator's name as David Murray.
- Sentient Vehicle: A decidedly malevolent take on the trope.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: After spending the whole story trying to survive and figure out a resistance strategy, it ends with the humans giving in to the trucks' demands, imagining a future dystopia where the earth is completely covered in pavement and humans exist as slaves to maintain and fuel the trucks, though its never explained just how the trucks intend to keep getting fueled if they work the humans to death (or, for that matter, what the trucks plan to do once the world's supply of fuel is used up)
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: The Yeagers. The wife complains non-stop about the cheapness of their vacation up until it becomes clear they're in a horror movie, but she seems happy to jump in bed with her husband while still complaining.
- Taking You with Me: A Freightliner FLA comes alive as it is being driven down a road before it rams itself into a power substation, blowing up itself and its driver.
- One of the truck drivers, having whipped up a couple dozen Molotov cocktails, manages to set one of the trucks on fire. While ablaze and with its owner foolishly attempting to regain control, the truck rams the shed, igniting the rest of the Molotovs and killing both truckers.
- Too Dumb to Live: Trucker Bob is fanatically obsessed with "getting his truck back" despite it being obvious that it doesn't want to be driven.
- The mailman who is killed by a toy dump truck that he could've easily outran or kicked the crap out of.
- The '59 Chevy mentioned above is first found inoperational in a garage. Mr. Yeager gets the bright idea to fix it so they can use it to flee. As soon as the truck is made operational, it turns on him.