Ah, and another Kingmas comes to a close. Graveyard Shift released in 1990, is a film I remembered watching when I was young. Probably right around the time of its release. Having not seen in over two decades my memory of the film was a little shaky. Or so I thought, all I remembered about the film was Bat-Thing kills people in an old mill and that’s exactly what this film delivers. But for a film with a ten million dollar budget, I expect more. Based on a Stephen King short story of the same name… that I have yet to actually read.
Graveyard Shift opens with the death of a worker in a Cotton Mill that’s infested with rats by some unseen terror. John Hall (Dave Andrews), a drifter coming into town, after looking for housing he sets out for a job. He lands one at the Mill working Graveyard shift, he’s hired by the Mill foreman Warwick (Stephen Macht). A cruel boss that cares little for his employees and abuses his authority regularly. The Mill is rat infested to the point where even a full-time exterminator (Brad Dourif) can keep the population in check. After a few more employee deaths, Warwick is forced to assemble a crew to clean out the basement. The crew consists of Carmicheal (Jimmy Woodard), Ippeston (Robert Alan Beuth), Brogan (Vic Polizos), Danson (Andrew Divoff), Jane Wisconsky (Kelly Wolf) and John, overseen by Warwick they set to clean out the rat infested basement. Over the course of the night, the crewmen are picked off by some large bat creature the dwells in the tunnels that run beneath the mill to the graveyard. Eventually the crewmen turn against one another, one side lead by John and the other by Warwick. Trapped in the tunnels beneath the old mill, at one another’s throats while being hunted by a deadly monster… will anyone survive the graveyard shift?
I like far more about this film than I disliked about it. The performances are really solid and given that the plot of the movie is Bat Creature kills people, some of these actors really brought their A game. Stephen Macht and Brad Dourif in particular. Both actors are energetic and memorable in their performances and really show off what they can do here. Also the rest of the cast isn’t that far behind them, Kelly Wolf and John Hall share great on-screen chemistry.
The setting of the this film is what really sells me. I love the old wood and all the use of dark spaces. Partly filming in a really old Cotton Mill was an excellent decision and the fact that it’s a real location really shows through. The dark, damp, rat infested mill is a great backdrop for a creature flick. Although one that doesn’t give two shits about fleshing out the creature in any shape way or form. I love that farther down you go the more it becomes just caves. Who built this place and how is that not something you mention when you sell the place?
The creature is one-dimensional to say the least, as it never even gets a nickname. I’m sure its more fleshed out in the story, the IT mini series never goes into the IT is the result of the Turtle sneezing. But something would have been nice. As far as appearance goes, this thing is hitting on all cylinders and looks amazing. Like a hairless Bat, Rat, thing that looks absolutely grotesque in all its practical effect glory.
Final thoughts, Graveyard Shift is actually a good movie… if you’re will to give it a chance. Sure the acting is a little over the top, and their isn’t there much going on as far as a plot goes. But, much like Stephen King’s books it’s more about the ride and the characters you encounter along the way. All of the characters are so fun, with the exception Warwick who’s a dick, that you can’t feel bad to see them go and go they do. 8/10