“In a very old textile mill with a serious rat infestation, deadly accidents start happening, but the corrupt foreman continues to put his workers in danger, until they discover a horrifying secret deep in the basement.”

Director: Ralph S. Singleton
Writers: Stephen King (based on short story), John Esposito
Staring: David Andrews, Kelly Wolf, Stephen Macht, Andrew Divoff
Release Date: October 26, 1990

Graveyard Shift is a short horror story that tells the tale of despondent blue collar workers in Maine employed at a textile mill. The working conditions are tough, and that is before you tack on the endless supply of rats and one giant undefined rat/bat monstrosity. Hope the benefits are good!

Warwick (Stephen Macht) is a bombastic and rude boss who opened up the textile mill before it was ready following a spontaneous killing that shut it down. There are financial shortcuts taken which lead to more rats, more broken wood panels and…more death. The tide begins to turn in the small Maine town when drifter John Hall (David Andrews) comes to town and takes a job in the mill on the graveyard shift. As the story unfolds, the truth about what lies underneath mill begins to surface, and skeletons of the past illuminate the dark depravities Warwick and his leadership style.

Graveyard Shift has a ton of rats. It may have the most rats in a movie I have ever seen. I guess Graveyard Shift is technically a monster movie? I guess it technically fits into the category. With that being said, it is not a good monster movie. There is no looming sense of dread. There are no actual scary moments. Also the practical effects on the main monster are not good, even by 1990 standards. If we can have John Carpenter bring evil to life in The Thing in 1982, why can’t we have that same energy and effort in this movie eight years later?

If you do choose to watch Graveyard Shift, there are performers that you will recognize. Brad Dourif, who plays The Exterminator, in this movie, is mostly known for his portrayal of Wormtongue in Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Fun trivia fact for you, Dourif has been nominated for an Oscar before for his supporting role in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975). That was his first major acting roll. Recently he has been making the big bucks playing the voice of Chucky in Chucky (2021).

David Andrews is a recognizable face who has appeared in Apollo 13 (1995) and Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003). He is just a face that you will know once you see it. I had no idea he was also in Nightmare In Elm Street (1984)!

If I had to pick something that I did like about Graveyard Shift, it is that Warwick was truly a despicable person and a horrendous boss. Credit to Stephen Macht for bringing out the vileness. You were rooting for his down fall. His character always seem to arrive at just the right moment to bring more tension into the room. John turns around at least three times to see Warwick in his face. He got that part of the overbearing and demanding boss down pat.

A random cool thing about Graveyard Shift is that it is filmed in Bangor, Maine. It was filmed in the spot the story is told in. We all know Stephen King loves Maine, and this one at least touches home literally.

Gotta give Graveyard Shift this: it has a good tagline – “Good Benefits. Early Retirement.” I admit, I smiled when I saw this.

I watched Graveyard Shift in an effort to see every Stephen King based movie in order to do an educated power rankings of them. This is a challenge that is going to take me years. Years, on years on years. There are over 100 of them, easy. I am going to based on a list on Letterboxd by Adam. I have only seen 24 of them as of now…so I have a long way to go.

STANKO RATING: F (1.0/5 Stars)


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