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Graveyard Shift (1990) Review

by Yo Adrian on September 05th, 2019 | | , ,

Graveyard Shift was directed by Ralph S. Singleton and stars David Andrews (from Jessabelle, World War Z), Stephen Macht (from Legend of Bloody Mary, Watchers Reborn) and Andrew Divoff (from The Hatred, The Dead Matter). It’s about a guy who gets a job working the night shift at a sweat-shoppy textile factory. He expects the hard part will be staying awake all night, but it turns out the hardest part is fighting an army of rats (and a giant bat? Yeah…)

Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Sematary. This time… he pushes you over.

Graveyard Shift Review

Stephen King (AKA Richard Bachman? Yeah…) has written over 50 novels and over 200 short stories as well as many novelettes, novellas and poems dating back to 1959. That’s a boatload of writing spanning SIXTY years. His first short story called Jumper was published when he was TWELVE. Stephen King is undoubtedly the greatest horror writer of our time.

Suck on that Lovecraft.

OK, I actually shouldn’t compare Lovecraft to King. Lovecraft, although raised just miles from King and with a portfolio of 113 horror stories under his belt, was never acknowledged as an accomplished writer while alive and died poor at the age of 46, just 10 years before King was born.

So, Stephen King wrote a LOT. And as you might expect, you can’t write over 250 stories that are ALL golden.

Graveyard Shift is not golden.

In typical King style, it’s a about a small group of people in a small town trying to survive a mysterious force (yawn).

This particular town has an old textile factory that’s half sweat shop and half entrance to One Eyed Willy’s secret treasure. It’s sweltering hot too, all of the characters are constantly coated in a glaze of sweat and grime. These poor bastards are hurtin’ for certain. And there’s rats everywhere, like hundreds of them. And the main character, John, spends much of the runtime just killing them one-by-one (with Pepsi cans? Yeah…). PITA would not be amused.

As the movie moves along people start getting knocked off by some mysterious unseen giant creature. Safe to assume it’s a giant rat, considering how many rats John has been killing just for sport. After about an hour people are still getting knocked off by the giant mysterious creature and for no apparent reason the factory boss orders everyone into the basement to clean it out.

At this point the movie takes a hard left into Spielberg territory. All recognizable horror ends and generic adventure begins. John and his crew of sweat shop workers are all of a sudden crawling around some hidden mine shaft full of fog (think Halloween party dry ice) and flooded caverns with skeletons everywhere (and more dry ice). And eventually the mysterious creature that’s been killing everyone is revealed, and it’s a giant bat. WTF?

Yeah I spoiled it. But don’t get too upset. I just saved you the anguish of sitting through this one yourself.

So, earlier I kinda knocked on King for this story not being golden. I should actually take that back because in his original short story the killer creature was a giant queen rat, which explains why this textile factory is infested with the vermin and why it starts killing the people who keep killing her babies. Why this movie decided to go with a random bat I’ll never know.

Worth Watching?

Absolutely not… unless you’re a fan of Brad Dourif (voice of Chucky and star of 30 other horror movies). He plays the lead exterminator in Graveyard Shift. He’s the crazy Vietnam vet who salvages this movie through his expert use of acting chops and explosive personality. He single handedly makes this movie. If you don’t like Brad, or if you’re not in the mood for Stephen King adaptation #147, I’d skip this one without looking back.


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