Graveyard Shift (1990)
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Paramount (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, French 2.0. English Subtitles. 89 minutes
The Movie
Director: Ralph S. Singleton
Starring: David Andrews, Kelly Wolf, Stephen Macht, Andrew Divoff, Vic Polizos, Brad Dourif
Screenplay: John Esposito from a story by Stephen King
Music: Brian Banks and Anthony Marinelli
Tagline: Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Semetary. This time... he pushes you over
Country: USA
AKA: Stephen King's Graveyard Shift
I have seen the light. Yes I have. Hollywood is hell and low-budget horror is our salvation. All I have to do now is convince you rabble of that fact.

Now, if you're just starting out on the road to redemption, then this film would be a good place to start. You are probably still tainted by the stench of big-bucks-Hollywood and so won't be ready just yet for the exploitational absurdities of the likes of Hell of the Living Dead, Nightmare City or Zombie 3/Burial Ground. But these are hidden gems lying on the road before you, just waiting to be discovered. How I envy you!

So let's take it slow and gradually wean you off the CGI monstrosities that Hollywood have been messing your head up with. Now this film is ideal, it's low budget, but with enough Hollywood in it to satisfy your cravings for that sort of thing. But it's a jog in the right direction and not a single CGI pixel in sight.

The story is told of a young drifter, John Hall (David Andrews), who arrives in a small town in Maine looking for work and a new life. He ends up as an employee of the rat infested Bachman Textiles (an in-joke for King aficionados as he occasionally wrote as Richard Bachman) working under the tyrannical foreman, Warwick (Stephen Macht). Warwick has been informed that to conform to health and safety regulations, the long neglected basement needs to be cleared and cleaned. For a minimum cost, Warwick assembles a small crew to work the 4th July holiday on the titular 'Graveyard Shift' with the promise of extra pay, of which John Hall is one of their number. Unbeknownst to these folk, however, there is something nasty lurking down there, a big rubber monster to be precise, which starts picking them off one by one. It's not a bad rubber monster, to be fair, and much better than some CGI nonsense. Anyway, of course our hero triumphs, but there are a few surprises along the way which will catch you off-guard.

So, now you really want to see this film, right? What more could you ask for - excessive overacting; rats, rats and more rats (I kept looking around for Bruno Mattei! He would have been proud!); a love interest; and a big wobbly rubber monster. Surely you must be convinced by now? So put back that Steven Spielberg film, Shaving Ryan's Privates or whatever, and look down the aisle to that dimly lit part of the shop. You know where I mean, that dark corner labelled Horror, where the covers are garish and the writing is splashed in red all over them. Go on, pick up Graveyard Shift and start your journey to redemption. You'll never look back and you'll be spared an eternal damnation with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Joel Silver. Instead, you can bask in the light of the joy of knowledge with the real geniuses: Joe D'Amato, Bruno Mattei and Umberto Lenzi! Hurrah for low-budget gore!

We'll save your soul yet..
For a major studio release this pretty much par for the course. It looks very nice and will raise no complaints. The image is sharp, vivid and colourful with no artefacting or bleeding. Very good, but not quite in the league of new Blockbuster releases.
You are given two audio options, 5.1 and 2.0 surround (as well as a French 2.0 Stereo option). Neither is particularly impressive and seem to lack the necessary punch one would expect. But more than acceptable for a film of this type and the dialogue is crisp and clean with good music reproduction. Adequate.
Extra Features
This is just a very basic bare-bones disc with no extras whatsoever, unless, of course, you count scene selection as an extra.
The Verdict
This is actually more enjoyable than you might expect. It's certainly a lot of fun with great entertainment value and is a good quality transfer. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. A high cheese factor and not too much brainpower needed. Lovely. So put down that highbrow Pedro Almodavar flick NOW - and watch this instead. I've given this 4 out of 5, just to piss off you mainstreamers who will probably look down their noses at this type of cinematic trash - but it's enjoyable trash, and we love it! A poke in the eye for ya!
Movie Score
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