Why it took 40 years to make Carmageddon: Max Damage

If you had told Charles B. Griffith he was responsible for one of the most perfect comedy videogames, he probably would have asked, “What’s a videogame?” Griffith was a prolific screenwriter from a bygone era. In the 50s and 60s, he was a go-to guy for producer Roger Corman when Corman needed a template for another crappy low-budget movie. I don’t know most of the movies based on Griffith’s scripts, but I can imagine what they’re like based on the titles: It Conquered the World, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Ski Troop Attack, Beast from Haunted Cave, A Bucket of Blood, Not of This Earth (apparently the last two aren’t as terrible as the others). Griffith is best known for Little Shop of Horrors, which was a crappy Roger Corman movie before it was a Steve Martin movie adapted to a hit musical. From this, you might guess better filmmakers could have made good movies from his scripts. We may never know.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2016/12/04/took-40-years-make-carmageddon-max-damage/

Carmageddon is English humour at its blackest and bleakest.

Gonna read in full later, but I am glad Tom liked it. I am playing the campaign the last few weeks and it is so damn good. Proper Carmageddon through and through. That physics, man. Wrecking an enemy never gets old, and there are so many ways to wreck them! Granite pup takes the cake of course.
I love how I can split my car into multiple pieces across any axis. No game has this kind of awesome physics.

Out of curiosity, why do you say it’s English humor? Just because it was made by Brits or is there something specifically English about the humor? I have to confess my familiarity with English humor is limited to Monty Python, The Office, and Brexit.


It’s the obsession with schoolboy puns and toilet humour. “All the wrecked 'ems!”, “Cunning stunt” etc.

That was an awesome read.
On first glance, I was doubtful about the inclusion amongst the text of video clips, but as soon as I clicked them, the experience became great. The crowd near-escaping one is hilarious!
I won’t clutter the thread with my own experience of what was, to me, “road” horror - something startling at first, then the horror of the situation sunking in. Actually, maybe that process is something that is merely common to most real life horrific experiences?

Great stuff, Chick. You’re one of the very few originals in this job.

Norm MacDonald: Being original is near impossible. I remember a guy telling me, “I don’t like Howard Stern, but I think he’s original.” And I’m like, “Fucking Christ, how can you not like someone who’s original?”

I hereby nominate Tom Chick for the title “National Treasure”.


This was an excellent read, Tom.

You know what’s weird? I saw The Cars That Ate Paris and I saw Fury Road, and I don’t think I ever made the obvious connection between the VW Bug in both.

I got through this review and I feel richer as a person (melodrama much). Damn good writing. I kinda want to watch Death Race 2000 and Duel. That entire (sub)genre just passed me by.

Regarding the multiplayer - missing peds are a terrible omission. But I suspect Stainless would love to have them in more than anyone, but it is such a technical challenge that they just couldn’t figure it out. I hope they do manage to get them in, because as it is, the multiplayer is much “drier” than the singleplayer.
Lack of AI bots in MP though…that is bizzare. Maybe also tech issue due to the insane physics?

And I have some 15 hours played and I had no idea there is some kind of powerup store. I just always used what I picked up and it was fine.

I vaguely remember The Cars That Ate People, as my mom dragged me in to some double-feature that had this movie and some Jaws-ripoff (I remember a guy wearing a necklace that turned him into a shark, or something).

I was like 6, so “vaguely remember” is just that.

re: Tom - English black humor. The Stainless Crew are all 2000AD generation, and the 80s were a remarkably difficult time for the Bog.

Really great article Tom, I enjoyed reading it all, even if I have no intention of playing Carmageddon!

I’ll take sincerely made cheap trash any day over ironic-above-it-all Sharknado crap that invites the audience into some weird Ouroboros of contempt.

I’d be curious to know about your road horror experience! Clutter away, Left Empty! Comments sections are so readers can share their own experiences and perspectives.

By the way, I’d consider road horror different from killer cars. Killer cars are certainly related, but when I think of “road horror”, I think of movies like Joyride, Road Games, The Hitcher, Breakdown, maybe the Dutch movie The Vanishing. Duel would be a killer car/road horror overlap.

@Paul_cze Duel is worth watching. It holds up. So does Sugarland Express, by the way. That Spielberg guy knew what he was doing! I’m not sure I’d say the same for Death Race 2000. It’s very much an artifact of the 70s that’s better experienced by playing Carmageddon. :)

You can call up the power up purchase screen by holding down the d-pad in any direction. You’ll get a really awkward radial menu that arranges the power ups into categories, subcategories, and subcategories of subcategories. From here, you can buy anything you’ve ever found using the points you earn during an event. Which is a terrible way to do it. I wish they’d gone with something like giving cars different point allocations to equip different power ups, or even made the power ups that you find bankable so you could maybe grind for them. Or do some kind of crafting system. I dunno. Anything but the current system of charging you from the same reserve that you use to advance the game.

But once you buy the power up, it now “lives” in that d-pad slot. Press the d-pad in the direction during a race and you’ll prep the power up. Press the A button as usual and you’ll activate it.

And @Soren_Hoglund, I’m with you on the slurry of Syfy/Asylum junk. As someone who enjoy tons of bad horror movies, I find that stuff utterly unwatchable.


Love the post (and your writing in general). But I’m amused how the comment above about “accidents” would be fighting words on some of the forums about transportation I visit. There’s a whole debate over whether these incidents should be called “accidents” or “crashes.” See, for example, this New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/science/its-no-accident-advocates-want-to-speak-of-car-crashes-instead.html?_r=0

Like I said, love the post. I just find the contrast in how it’s discussed in different venues intriguing. You use “accident” to illustrate (accurately, IMO) how we view these incidents even as people in other forums try to change perception. Unlike killer cars, we humans are complicated creatures. ;)

My first thought about a movie about accidents was that you must never have seen the Final Destinations ;)

Cool link, James. I love that sort of semantic debate. Interesting approach to the idea of who’s at fault. But no one ever intends to hit another person (or car). That’s why we use the word “accident”: it rightly implies that it wasn’t intentional. Arguing that accident implies no one is at fault just makes no sense. Something can be accidental and you can still be culpable for it. The opposite of accidental is intentional. Even if I’m drunk driving, or texting, or just fiddling with the radio when I crash my car, I didn’t intend to do it. Even if I’m legally at fault, it was still an accident.

I can understand the Associated Press’ stance:

But I’m partial to the New York Times’ stance:

But it seems like this is the heart of the matter:

It’s a discussion intended to get a toe-hold with legislators. But in terms of being precise with language, I think I’m going to have to call myself an “accident apologist”. When people start referring to, say, the attack in Nice as an accident, then I’ll weigh in with the “crash apologists”. :)


Keep reading! You’ll get to that part. :)

But the Final Destinations aren’t about accidents. I’d argue those movies take place in a universe characterized by malicious intentionality. Inevitability. Fate, even. The bus driver who kills the girl in the first movie didn’t do it intentionally, but the universe did!