Monday, July 25, 2011
Graveyard Shift (1990)
The history of Stephen King adaptations is long and for the most part, rather underwhelming. Sure, you occasionally get the masterpiece like The Shining, Stand By Me or The Mist but more often than not the results are...Well, like today's subject. Graveyard Shift is an adaptation of King's short story which appeared in the Night Shift anthology.
It tells the gruesome tale of the problems facing the Bachman Mills (a clever in-joke) in Gates Falls, Maine. Along with the poor working conditions, a foreman who would be lucky to be called a scumbag and the fact that the mill is the only thing keeping the town afloat, there is also a massive rat infestation along with something even worse.
David Andrews plays John Hall, a drifter looking for a fresh start who ends up working for Warwick (a hilariously bad performance by Stephen Macht), running the cotton picker in the mill. It's a lousy, sweat drenched job and the only joy Hall seems to find is in shooting soda cans at the rats with a slingshot. Genre fave Brad Dourif is also on hand as a rather demented exterminator with a deep personal grudge against rats thanks to his experiences in Vietnam.
Eventually, Hall and some co-workers end up working over a holiday weekend to clean up the basement and one by one they fall victim to both Warwick and the gigantic rat-bat thing that lives under the mill.
Yup, it's that kind of movie.
Director Ralph Singleton creates a fantastic atmosphere with the mill but sadly that's about all the film has going for it outside of Dourif's usual nutty performance and the unintentional humor of Macht's accent. The film is set in Maine but Macht seems to lapse into sounding like a tired South African man every third word or so. Outside of that, the creture f/x are pretty damn good and the end credits feature a very funny compilation of sound bites from the film loaid over a cool beat.
It's an easy movie to skip, but well worth seeing at least once so you can have a good laugh.