As the balloon lands softly on the island, Rich and Poe marvel at all the beautiful fancy trees that surround them. Poe pulls out a notebook to note genus and species, but Rich stops him. No time for their botanical endeavors, they got a hike ahead of them. Almost as soon as they start, though, things begin to go sideways. First the sassy ghost gets to make peace with all those she wronged while alive, which is nice. Then Kilgorn gets to bathe in the blood of his enemies, which is less nice. Finally, Poe gets to reunite with his best friend Mr. Big one last time in order to tell him how much he liked The Skulls (both his club and the movie). Once Mr. Big disappears, they look around waiting for Rich’s most wonderful dreams to come true too. “Huh, that’s weird,” Poe says as they continue their trek. Rich turns to agree but finds himself sprawled out on the jungle floor. At his feet is a book half buried in the soft ground. Pulling it free, both Rich and Poe stare in wonder at the shiny hardcover image of their own faces. They wipe some dirt to unveil the title and gasp. “R&P: Rest in Peace: The Death of Rich and Poe.” Suddenly a cold wind blows and a shiver runs up their spines. Even Kilgorn’s blood bath was nicer than this. Rich and Poe look around the jungle in fear. A book they never wrote exists here and it’s hard to understand why. In fact it’s hard to understand anything about this terrible jungle. “We better hunker down for the night,” suggests Poe and recommends sassy ghost and Kilgorn get some rest cause Rich and Poe are gonna take the night shift. That’s right! We are technically (although only technically) transitioning to the first cycle of 2021 which will be (drumroll) films based on books. I love book cycles cause I get to read usually terrible books that they made into even worse movies. We’re starting it off, though, with a classic as we are doing one of the many Stephen King bombs. It’s Graveyard Shift, based on a short story that I actually really loved and currently celebrating 30 years of anonymity. Let’s go!
Graveyard Shift (1990) – BMeTric: 48.8; Notability: 16
(Oh wow that is a really low IMDb rating. We are on a pretty good streak for that. It was between this and Mangler, and both of them amazingly had really similar stats. This did have a slightly higher Notability. A Notability of 16 is right on the cusp, but I think it isn’t as abnormal for the early 90s.)
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Bottom-of-the-barrel, cliche-ridden shocker chronicling the goings-on in a mysterious mill, whose workers are disappearing within its rat-infested bowels. Poorly directed, with even worse special effects. Based on a short story by Stephen King.
(The key to a Leonard BOMB is obviously to watch a bad horror film from the 80s. It is far enough back that he was probably watching all of the films, even the ones he knew he wouldn’t like, and he haaaaates horror films.)
(Looks cheap and cheesy … but that can be good. I love watching cheesy horror films, it reminds you of the time when people could take a camera, some no-name actors, and a few bucks and make a film … but this was apparently $10 million dollars, so it isn’t quite like that.)
Directors – Ralph S. Singleton – (BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: Was mostly a production manager weirdly. Won an Emmy as a part of the production of Cagney & Lacey. Was the production manager on the recent BMT film Supernova.)
Writers – Stephen King (short story) – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; Doctor Sleep; It; The Green Mile; The Shining; It: Chapter Two; Stand by Me; Misery; Gerald’s Game; The Mist; Carrie; Christine; Pet Sematary; 1922; Carrie; Pet Sematary; The Running Man; Secret Window; 1408; Hearts in Atlantis; Future BMT: Cell; The Rage: Carrie 2; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; In the Tall Grass; Sleepwalkers; The Dark Tower; A Good Marriage; Riding the Bullet; Children of the Corn; Thinner; Firestarter; Creepshow 2; The Night Flier; Needful Things; BMT: Dreamcatcher; Graveyard Shift; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: The newest adaptation of The Stand is about to come out. I do enjoy Stephen King books, even though he can be a bit verbose at times.)
John Esposito (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Theatre Bizarre; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: He also wrote for a bunch of horror shows, like R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour and Creepshow. So definitely a horror guy.)
Actors – David Andrews – (Known For: Fight Club; Apollo 13; World War Z; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Wyatt Earp; Fair Game; The Conspirator; Future BMT: Jessabelle; Cherry 2000; Arthur and Mike; Dear John; Hannibal; The Squeeze; BMT: Stealth; Graveyard Shift; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Apparently has written a few feature films, although none appear to have been producer in any meaningful capacity. One was called Bushido set in WWII.)
Kelly Wolf – (Known For: Less Than Zero; Margaret; Triumph of the Spirit; Infinity; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: Her husband, Scott Burkholder, and their son Max are both quite accomplished actors. Max was one of the stars of the television show Parenthood.)
Stephen Macht – (Known For: The Monster Squad; The Choirboys; The Mountain Men; Outside the Law; Future BMT: Galaxina; Nightwing; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Appeared in 160 episodes of General Hospital and, among others, 6 episodes of Murder She Wrote (as six different characters). Almost got the role of Jean-Luc Picard. Father of Gabriel Macht who starred in Suits and who we’ve seen in Whiteout, Behind Enemy Lines, Bad Company, and Because I Said So.)
Budget/Gross – $10.5 million / Domestic: $11,582,891 (Worldwide: $11,582,891)
(That’s pretty rough. But let this sink in for a second. The film Fantasy Island, set in Fiji and involving serious special effects, cost about two-thirds as much to film as this 1990 adaptation of a Stephen King short story I had never heard of, starring nobody, and presumably set in a single dilapidated warehouse.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (1/8)
(I’ll make a consensus then: Really only worthwhile to horror novices who are just discovering the appeal of gorey horror. Reviewer Highlight: One of the worst of Stephen King movies. Don’t punch in for this mess. – Gerry Shamray, Your Movies)
Poster – Sklogyard Shift
(This looks cheap and so it has a ceiling, but I kinda like the kooky look to it. The font is nice too. It’s just weird enough that I could imagine wanting to hang up the poster semi-ironically. But still a C.)
Tagline(s) – Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Sematary. This time……he pushes you over. (F)
(Nope. I can’t abide by this sham of a tagline. You don’t need me to tell you everything that is wrong with this trash.)
Keyword – based on short story
Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Arrival (2016), The Thing (1982), Total Recall (1990), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Brokeback Mountain (2005), A Few Good Men (1992), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Future BMT: 57.6 The Mangler (1995), 55.9 Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992), 41.3 Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), 41.3 Children of the Corn (1984), 39.7 The Heartbreak Kid (2007), 34.3 Double Take (2001), 27.4 Next (2007), 25.8 Creepshow 2 (1987), 24.8 Total Recall (2012), 23.4 Impostor (2001);
BMT: Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Paycheck (2003), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Graveyard Shift (1990), A Sound of Thunder (2005)
(An interesting “genre” I do wonder if it is kind of fueled by bad horror to an extent. In the 80s and 00s pulp short horror stories (e.g. The Hellbound Heart) seemed like all the rage. Do people still write short stories? Is that why the genre is dying? Or is it just a quirk of this particular keyword?)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 29) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brad Dourif is No. 7 billed in Graveyard Shift and No. 6 billed in Color of Night, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 1 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 29. If we were to watch A Low Down Dirty Shame, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 21.
Notes – The name of the mill is “Bachman Mills.” “Bachman” is a pseudonym used by Stephen King, upon whose short story the movie was based.
When John and Jane are in the cafe together, Ippeston sitting in the booth behind them is reading a paperback of “Ben.” “Ben” is a story of a socially dysfunctional boy who befriends a rat and uses other rats to extract revenge upon others.
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 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.
Wisconsky mentions she is from Castle Rock, home to many other Stephen King books and movies.
The patch on Cleveland’s (The Exterminator) shoulder is the emblem of 33 (“Ba Muoi Ba”), a Vietnamese rice-brewed beer that was popular among American GIs who served during the war.
Stephen King heavily disliked the film and named it one of his least favorite adaptations, calling it “a quick exploitation picture”.