Picks and Pans Review: Stephen King's Graveyard Shift

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Lots and lots of rats

Slow and obvious and stupid as it is—very, very and very—this movie is most noteworthy for its vile lack of scruples.

First of all, Stephen King gives up the rights to his short story about a monster living under a vermin-infested textile mill in Maine to Ralph Singleton, who has no previous directing experience and no visible talent.

Then Singleton and writer John Esposito, whose main credit is work for Slaughterhouse magazine, turned the story into horror-movie drivel, with a joke making fun of Vietnam vets, with wretched effects (the monster looks like a glue-basted pork roast with fangs) and with woeful dialogue: "At Bachman," the mill foreman says, "we're part of one big happy family." "Yeah, the Manson family," a worker mumbles.

The cast includes Stephen (Cagney and Lacey) Macht, who as the foreman speaks with an accent indicating he was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Baton Rouge and moved to Maine to practice his pig Latin. Most of the other actors generate whose-nephew-is-he? questions, though David (Cherry 2000) Andrews and Kelly (Triumph of the Spirit) Wolf, as the two most heroic workers, are tolerable.

The film also contains a bizarre product plug. While Andrews works in the basement (the monster lives in a sub-subbasement), he amuses himself by using a slingshot to shoot soda cans at rats. That the brand of the soda is always blatantly displayed is strange, since the effect is to suggest Diet Pepsi is the soda of choice for killing rodents. (R)

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