At 8:00 PM, the Krusty Krab is closing, and Squidward is now excited to leave. As he gets ready to quit for the day, Tom comes to the door and makes an order. Squidward tells him that they are closed, and the customer says "Well, fine! If you don't want my money!" Upon hearing this, Mr. Krabs jumps to the door (landing on Squidward) and proclaims that the Krusty Krab is now open 24 hours a day. SpongeBob is excited at this, while Squidward is furious. SpongeBob had to go and take out the trash. This gave Squidward an idea.
At 12:15 AM, the Krusty Krab still has customers. Squidward decides to scare SpongeBob with the tale of the "Hash-Slinging Slasher." SpongeBob mistakes his name with different arrangements (such as "Cash-Ringing"), which annoys Squidward. Squidward then goes on to telling him that the "Hash-Slinging Slasher" worked at the Krusty Krab years ago as a fry cook, just like SpongeBob, only clumsier. One night, when he was cutting the patties, he cut off his own hand and replaced the hand with a spatula. Then, SpongeBob says "you mean like this?" and pulls off his arm repetitively with it growing back until Squidward says to SpongeBob that he was not a sponge and therefore it could not grow back. He was later hit by a bus and killed, and fired at his funeral. Every Tuesday (Squidward asked what day it was to come up with this) night, his ghost comes to the Krusty Krab to "wreak his horrible vengeance."
There are three signs of his arrival, which are:
The lights will flicker on and off.
The phone will ring, and there will be nobody there.
The "Hash-Slinging Slasher" will arrive in the ghost of the bus which ran him over, slowly approaching the counter, and "gets" you.
SpongeBob is terrified by this, and begins screaming repeatedly while Squidward laughs. When SpongeBob does not stop screaming, the annoyed Squidward tells him that he was joking and that the story is not true. SpongeBob then starts laughing continuously in the same manner as his screaming.
Later that night, at 3:00 AM, every customer is long gone. Squidward begins hearing strange noises and starts becoming afraid. He quickly tells himself that there is no "Hash-Slinging Slasher," but soon the lights start flickering and the phone rings with no answer. Soon, SpongeBob and Squidward see a bus appear outside. SpongeBob says he never knew the buses ran this late, and Squidward replies that they do not. When the bus drives away, a dark figure with a spatula whom they believe is the "Hash-Slinging Slasher" appears from the bus and starts walking toward them. They begin panicking, believing that they will die, until the "Hash-Slinging Slasher" reaches them, and is revealed to be a normal person who wants a job application, and hung up on the phone because he was nervous (his nose actually represented the eyes in the dark, and the fish's sleeve dropped down to show that he was holding his spatula the whole time.)
However, this still does not explain the lights flickering. Suddenly, they begin flickering again, and everybody looks around and sees Nosferatu (in a doctored image) rapidly flipping the light switch. They tease him by saying his name, after which Nosferatu (in another doctored image) smiles at them mischievously, then he blacks out of the screen by turning off the lights as the episode ends.
This episode is number 10 on Tom Kenny's Top 20. His description says:
"'Night, night, night, night.' Having Nosferatu, the vampire from the 1922 silent German Expressionist horror film appear in a Nicktoon is exactly the kind of 'what the?' moment that sets this series apart from more conventional animated shows!"
"Graveyard Shift" was ranked #64 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.
This episode received a lot of controversy from parents for being frightening and creepy to the majority of younger viewers.
Being a very important fact, it should be made known that Mr. Krabs breaks the law (yet again) by forcing Squidward and SpongeBob to work 24/7; to keep the Krusty Krab open longer, he should have hired more workers, which would have been legal.
In the Russian dub, Nosferatu was renamed to Count Dracula.
The title card background is similar to the one from the episode "Rock Bottom."
In Indonesia, there were lines that had been edited:
The line "But what was that third thing?" was changed to "Who changed the colors?"
The line "How are you doing that without moving the switch?" was changed to "What are you doing with the switch?"
The line "And then, he got hit by a bus! And... at his funeral, they fired him!" was changed to "And then, he become crazy! And..after that, the fire burned him!" This one changes the Hash-Slinging Slasher's backstory completely.
Also, the line "Squidward, I use your clarinet to unclog my toilet!" was changed to "Squidward! Get rid of him!"
Near the end of the episode, the line "Nosferatu!" was changed to "Don't be naughty!"
This episode is later referenced in "Restraining SpongeBob," where Patrick uses Squidward's clarinet to unclog the toilets at the Krusty Krab like SpongeBob said he does in this episode.
SpongeBob screams 27 times and laughs 8 times.
When Squidward and SpongeBob reveal their secrets before the "Hash-Slinging Slasher" gets them, SpongeBob reveals he unclogged his toilet with Squidward's clarinet.
To "sling hash" means to work in a restaurant.
Squidward said that the Hash-Slinging Slasher comes out every Tuesday night, his ghost returns to the Krusty Krab. However, when the person who was thought to be the Hash-Slinging Slasher came to apply for a job, it was 3:00 AM, meaning that it was early Wednesday morning. Or, it was midnight when Squidward told SpongeBob, and they had the sense to remember at midnight it turned Tuesday. Or it could have been Wednesday morning because the Hash-Slinging Slasher never really arrived.
On the Box Set/DVD releases, this episode is listed as "The Graveyard Shift" instead of the normal "Graveyard Shift" name.
The word "night" is mentioned 23 times.
In the DVD Nautical Nonsense has a storyboard version and a deleted scene where SpongeBob does another thing at night he brings mail to floorboard Harry.
This is the third time a phone is seen at the cash register at the Krusty Krab. The first time was "Pizza Delivery" and the second time was "Big Pink Loser."
This episode aired on Max Schreck's 123rd birthday.
In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Nocna zmiana" (Night Shift).
SpongeBob's "Night song" has the tune of a Baseball/Hockey Charge Stadium Organ song.
The Hash-Slinging Slasher is an apparent parody of the story "The Hook" where a man has a hook instead of a hand.
The sign about the telephone ringing is a reference to the Scream.
The Krusty Krab's walls oozing green slime is most likely a reference to The Amityville Horror story. It might also reference Nickelodeon.
Nosferatu is from an old horror movie of the same name.
The Krusty Krab closes at 6:00 PM in other episodes, but in this episode, it closes at 8:00 PM.
At one scene when SpongeBob was about to walk outside to take out the trash but then stops, the night sky outside the window was normal, but in the next scene when the camera zoomed out of the glass door, the night sky was green with spooky flower clouds, then remains throughout the episode.
Before Squidward says the three signs that signal the approach of the Hash-Slinging Slasher, the wrinkles on his forehead are gone.
When Squidward tells SpongeBob "No" to "He didn't wash his hands," Squidward's eyes overlap his eyebrows.
When Squidward tries to stop SpongeBob's screaming session, his eyes are not aligned with his eyebrows.
The garbage bin outside the Krusty Krab is by the street in this episode, but it is in the back of the building in all other episodes.
When SpongeBob is mopping the ceiling, the water from the bucket does not fall to the ground.
The cash register is missing for a majority of the episode. Near the end, it returns. The only time a phone is there is when it rings, However, there is nobody there.
When Squidward says, "And he appears with the ghost of the bus," and "He opens the door, and approaches the counter!" the "Order Here" and "Galley Grub" signs are missing.
In the picture shown in the background, there is a porthole window on the window.
The Galley Grub sign reads "Gally Grub" at one point in the episode. At another point, the Order Here sign reads "Order Hear." This could possibly be for comedic effect, or it was intended to only be discovered by observant viewers (see picture).
An "Open Forever" neon sign is seen on the Krusty Krab in one shot. However, when the "Hash Slinging Slasher" approaches the Krusty Krab, the sign is gone.
When the customers come in after Mr. Krabs says the Krusty Krab will be open for 24 hours, they are missing when Squidward goes back to the register.