night shift

Night Shift (book)

Night Shift is the first anthology of short stories by Stephen King, first published in 1978. Many of King's most famous short stories were included in this collection.


The book was published on the heels of The Shining (1977 Doubleday) and was King's fifth published book (including Rage, which was published under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman). A vast majority of the stories had appeared in various issues of Cavalier Magazine from 1970-1975, others were originally published in Penthouse, Cosmopolitan, Gallery and Maine Magazine. The stories "Jerusalem's Lot", "Quitters Inc.", "The Last Rung on the Ladder", and "The Woman in the Room" appeared for the first time in this collection.

Foreword and Introduction

Night Shift is the first book for which King wrote a foreword. This foreword, in which the writer humbly introduces himself, sets up his characteristic "fire-side storyteller" tone. He begins the foreword directly addressing the reader; "Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear." This friendly, conversational tone, will become a hallmark of Stephen King's writing style - especially his non-fiction writing. He closes the foreword on a note that would become familiar to his 'Constant Readers' (a term of endearment that King reserves for his fans).

The introduction was written by one of King's favorite authors, John D. MacDonald.

Stories collected in Night Shift

Title Originally published in
"Jerusalem's Lot" Previously unpublished
"Graveyard Shift" October 1970 issue of Cavalier
"Night Surf" Spring 1969 issue of Ubris
"I Am the Doorway" March 1971 issue of Cavalier
"The Mangler" December 1972 issue of Cavalier
"The Boogeyman" March 1973 issue of Cavalier
"Gray Matter" October 1973 issue of Cavalier
"Battleground" September 1972 issue of Cavalier
"Trucks" June 1973 issue of Cavalier
"Sometimes They Come Back" March 1974 issue of Cavalier
"Strawberry Spring" Fall 1968 issue of Ubris
"The Ledge" July 1976 issue of Penthouse
"The Lawnmower Man" May 1975 issue of Cavalier
"Quitters, Inc." Previously unpublished
"I Know What You Need" September 1976 issue of Cosmopolitan
"Children of the Corn" March 1977 issue of Penthouse
"The Last Rung on the Ladder" Previously unpublished
"The Man Who Loved Flowers" August 1977 issue of Gallery
"One for the Road" March/April 1977 issue of Maine
"The Woman in the Room" Previously unpublished

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

With the publication of Night Shift and the rise in King's popularity as a best-selling author, also with the success of Brian De Palma's motion picture adaptation of Carrie (1976), student film and theatre makers began to submit requests to King to make adaptations of the stories that appeared in the collection. King formed a policy he deemed the Dollar Deal, which allowed the students the permission to make an adaptation for the consideration of just $1.

In the 1980s, entrepreneurial film producer Milton Subotsky purchased the rights to six of the stories in this collection with the intention to produce feature films and a television anthology based on multiple stories. Although Subotsky was involved with several King adaptations (Cat's Eye, Maximum Overdrive, Sometimes They Come Back, The Lawnmower Man) the television series never came to fruition due to problems with the network's Standards and Practices.

The following is a list of film, television or theatre adaptations made from the stories collected in Night Shift:

Feature film adaptations

  • Children of the Corn (1984) Hal Roach Studios, Inc. directed by Fritz Kiersch
  • Cat's Eye (1985) Dino De Laurentiis Productions / MGM/UA directed by Lewis Teague (featured adaptations of "Quitters Inc." and "The Ledge")
  • Maximum Overdrive (based on "Trucks") (1986) De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) directed by Stephen King
  • Graveyard Shift (1990) Paramount Pictures directed by Ralph S. Singleton
  • The Lawnmower Man (title only) (1992) New Line Cinema directed by Brett Leonard
  • The Mangler (1995) New Line Cinema directed by Tobe Hooper

Television adaptations

  • Sometimes They Come Back (1991) Vidmark Entertainment directed by Tom McLoughlin
  • Trucks (1997) USA Pictures directed by Chris Thomson
  • Battleground (2006) Turner Network Television mini-series Nightmares & Dreamscapes

Dollar Baby adaptations (shorts)

  • The Boogyman (1982) directed by Jeff Schiro
  • Disciples of the Crow (based on "Children of the Corn") (1983) directed by John Woodward
  • The Woman in the Room (1983) directed by Frank Darabont
  • The Last Rung on the Ladder (1987) directed by James Cole and Daniel Thron
  • The Lawnmower Man (1987) directed by Jim Gonis
  • Night Surf (2001) directed by Peter Sullivan
  • Strawberry Spring (2001) directed by Doveed Linder
  • I Know What You Need (2004) directed by Shawn S. Lealos
  • La Femme Dans la Chambre (The Woman in the Room) (2005) directed by Damien Maric
  • The Boogeyman (Play) (2005) by Graham Rees (60 minutes)

See also


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