Graveyard Shift (1990)

R   |    |  Horror

Graveyard Shift (1990) Poster

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.


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5 November 2005 | Doylenf
| Scary enough for me...but too unpleasant to recommend...
Stretching a Stephen King story about a rat-infested cotton mill in Maine to 90 minutes may have seemed like a good idea, but giving the rat infestment too much close-up coverage was not. Dwelling a little more on the human element and why the townspeople behave as they do toward the new mill worker (a drifter with a college ed), would have helped. Unfortunately, the script doesn't give any of the actors a chance to develop credible characters.

Nevertheless, loopholes and all (inconsistent motivations for the things certain characters do), GRAVEYARD SHIFT manages to serve viewers a fair share of unexpected twists and turns in the course of a typical King tale of terrorized victims which just happens to take place in his favorite domain, Maine. None of the performers are well-known (which can be a good thing), except for Brad Dourif who is hilariously over-the-top as The Exterminator. It doesn't help that the female lead is particularly unappealing.

What helps considerably are the able performances of David Andrews and his uneasy relationship with boss Stephen Macht, heavy on the Maine accent. Macht has the perfect face for sneering villainy. Andrews' predicament as the new mills worker is what kept me wanting to see how things turned out. The rat-filled prologue should have warned me of things to come, but even a dedicated horror fan should get some unexpected jolts from the last half-hour.

Not a great horror film, but one with the atmosphere down perfectly. You can almost smell the stench of Andrews' surroundings and the sweat on his back as he makes the most of a gruesome situation. I understand the new DVD version is an excellent transfer that makes the most of the gritty atmosphere.

Definitely not for those who can't stand the sight of the nasty little critters. I just happened to be in the mood for a spooky movie, and settled back to watch this on TV. Certainly not the worse King film committed to film and it does have its moments of pure terror.

But still, the subject matter is just a bit too unpleasant to give this any sort of "must see" recommendation. Strictly for die-hard King fans.

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Did You Know?


The movie was filmed in the village of Harmony, Maine at Bartlettyarns Inc., the oldest woolen yarn mill in the United States (est. 1821). The historic Bartlett mill was renamed "Bachman" for the movie, an homage to King's pseudonym, Richard Bachman. The interior shots of the antique mill machinery, and the riverside cemetery, were in Harmony. Other scenes (restaurant interior, and giant wool picking machine) were at locations in Bangor, Maine, at an abandoned waterworks and armory. A few other mill scenes were staged near the Eastland woolen mill in Corinna, Maine, which subsequently became a Super Fund site.


John Hall: The only way to deal with these fuckers...


When Moxy, the dog, is given a shot of liquor it changes levels between camera shots.

Crazy Credits

The end credits have a strange theme song remixed with various quotes from the movie.

Alternate Versions

There are some scenes included in the network version not included in the video version. Warwick comes in Nardellos office and he says take a break Nardello. Two parts of the scene when Brogan and Dansen heckle John in the diner with the "special order for the comander of the rat patrol" were cut. A scene were Dansen and Brogan burn Johns time card was cut. A alternate ending had John Punching out his and Janes time cards. Another scene with John And Jane in Jane's van was cut. Still one more scene which had John and Ippeston cleaning the basement was cut.


Written by
Scott Reeder
Performed by Scott Reeder
Produced by Anthony Marinelli and Brian Banks (uncredited)


Release Date:

26 October 1990



Country of Origin

USA, Japan

Filming Locations

Bangor, Maine, USA

Box Office


$10,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,082,300 28 October 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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