Tuesday Terror: Graveyard Shift (1990)


The small town in Stephen King’s Graveyard Shift is way too small. You can’t take two steps out of the house without running into one of your coworkers. The bully that mouths off at you during break is ready more than happy to continue pressing your buttons at the local diner.

And working at the textile factory is terrible. It’s a hard, dangerous job in a dying industry. Whether you are a secretary or a feeding cotton in a machine, you must deal with rats – both the human and animal variety. Warwick, the boss, is mean, petty and vengeful. Embarrass him or turn down his advances and he’ll get even. The problem is that he walks the same rat-infested hallways as his employees. What’s the good of having power if you can’t intimidate people?


The factory building itself is an inspection away from being condemned. It should be boarded up or burned down. Warwick’s plan to keep the doors open involves assembling a crew to clean out the rat’s nest basement. Honestly, the workers are so accustomed to rats – killing them is child’s play. Those little creatures are the least of their problems.

Now, you may ask yourself how does a textile factory get over-run with rats? What has drawn them there? What are they eating? Well, let’s just say a cemetery is involved.


The movie is slow in bits but just when you are tempted to turn away there’s a ghastly accident or glimpse of the main monster. It’s also a bit bloody and gory in parts. I can easily see this working as a remake – perhaps set in a factory farm.

If you are mind to do a double feature, I suggest pairing Graveyard Shift with The Mangler. Though one is a creature feature and the other deals with demonic possession, they are both explore themes about industry in small towns.


Don’t be Carmichael, the black guy who is fated to die once he accepts an assignment in the basement. The question is who will make the kill – human or a critter?

Published by Tawanna

Sometimes writer, most times editor. Lover of mysteries and 70s/80s horror movies. Author of The Next Girl (short story collection) and The Closet Case (mystery).

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