GRAVEYARD SHIFT (1990) Reviews of Stephen King giant rat story adaptation

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Graveyard Shift is a 1990 American horror feature film directed by Ralph S. Singleton from a screenplay written by John Esposito (The Theatre Bizarre), based on the short story of the same name by Stephen King.

The story was first published in the 1970 issue of Cavalier magazine, and later collected in King’s 1978 collection Night Shift. It should not be confused with the 1987 film of the same title.

On a reported budget of $10.5 million, the film took $11,582,891 at the US box office but presumably worldwide receipts and ancillary sales turned more of a profit.

The movie stars David Andrews, Kelly Wolf, Stephen Macht, Brad DourifVic Polizos, Robert Alan Beuth, Ilona Margolis, Jimmy Woodard, Jonathan Emerson, Minor Rootes, Kelly L. Goodman.

New Blu-ray release:

In the USA, Scream Factory is releasing Graveyard Shift on Blu-ray release on July 28th 2020. Order from

Special features:
Two interviews with director/producer Ralph S. Singleton (new)
Interview with actress Kelly Wolf (new)
Interview with actor Stephen Macht (new)
Interview with actor Vic Polizos (new)
Interview with actor Robert Alan Beuth (new)
Theatrical trailer
Radio spot

When an abandoned textile mill is reopened, several employees meet mysterious deaths. The link between the killings is that they all occurred between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. – the graveyard shift.


The sadistic mill foreman (Stephen Macht) has chosen newly hired drifter John Hall (David Andrews) to help a group clean up the mill’s rat-infested basement. The workers find a subterranean maze of tunnels leading to the cemetery—and a giant bat that hunts at night…

“The characters are so dark and unappealing that sympathy for their eventual plight, when trapped in the monster’s breeding grounds beneath the rat-infested mill, is nil. John Esposito’s script never escapes the B-movie category, rendering director Ralph S. Singleton as helpless as the cast.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“Like most of the films expanded from Stephen King’s short stories, Graveyard Shift doesn’t really succeed as well as the ones based on his novels and novellas, but if you want a mediocre creature feature to rag on, or you are Stephen King completionist, Graveyard Shift is decent enough.” HNN


Buy DVD:

“The whole concept is pretty ridiculous, why not laugh it up? Even in the finale, when a Diet Pepsi can is used to save the day (best product placement ever?), director Ralph Singleton and writer John Esposito play the whole thing maddeningly straight. ut it’s still enjoyable once it gets going, and the gore is sufficient. The acting is pretty decent for the most part as well.” Horror Movie a Day


“As directed by Ralph S. Singleton, Graveyard Shift works better above ground than below. The early scenes that allow the actors a little color are more fun than the all-basement episodes, which are visually monotonous despite the fact that the film’s monster plot is a multi-media affair.” The New York Times

“Few King adaptations feel this gleefully unrestrained and go straight for the throat like this one, and it sees its commitment to monster movie madness through to the end. There’s no explanation for what this bizarre creature is doing here or how it can even exist, nor is there any thematic pondering about what its presence might mean.” Oh, the Horror!



“Adapting short stories to feature-length is particularly tricky, and this film falls prey to the usual pitfalls–there just isn’t story to go around. Consequently, for the first two-thirds of the movie the characters are forced to muddle through various forms of small-town unpleasantness to fill up time. Overall the cast does well…” TV Guide

“This isn’t exactly a memorable time but it’s not all bad as genre favourite Brad Dourif (the voice of Chucky in the Child’s Play series) shows-up as a odd exterminator, Stephen Macht plays the “jerk” role as the foreman well and the film has an okay grimy look along with acceptable effects (which granted look a bit too fake at times).” The Video Graveyard

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