“Don’t believe what you publish, don’t publish what you believe.”
The Night Flier (1997)
Directed by Mark Pavia
Michael H. Moss
Richard Dees is top reporter for the Inside View, a sensationalist rag, comparable to Weekly World News, (you know the type of stories; the bat boy, I gave birth to five pound turnip, Bigfoot stole my girlfriend, etc). Dees is a bitter senior reporter that hasn’t had a good story in some time. His boss offers a new item for him to investigate but he turns it down thinking it’s a flop, that is, until a new young reporter, Katherine, digs up some additional info. Dees disregards the young reporter and steels back the assignment knowing it will get front page coverage. He’s on the hunt for a killer that drains his victims of blood to make it look like a vampire is on the loose. Dees is a total asshole but likable for his hardboiled style.
The killer is visiting small civil (non-commercial) airports in a black Cesna Skymaster 337 and dispatching the few workers on the field. He signs the airport manifests as Dwight Renfield. Maryland, Maine, Vermont; he sky hops to rural airports that don’t ask many questions because, quite often, they know they’re catering to drug runners. The story intensifies as Dees closes in on the killer and strange events take place in the killers wake. Katherine is also hot on the trail and Dees rushes to get the scoop. The story climaxes at an airport in DC, somewhat larger than the others, where Dees finds a mass carnage and the truth about his killer.
This near faithful and exciting adaptation to Stephen King’s novelette of the same name brings back some of the dark creepiness of King’s earlier film adaptations such as Salem’ s Lot. Miguel Ferrer plays an exceptional part in the film making it all believable by his dismissal of the events. Despite negative reviews from critics, I enjoy this film tremendously. It might not be for everyone. but it‘s entertaining to me. It’s a smaller film, not a huge blockbuster but worth a look for King fans. I think it’s an overlooked King classic.
A fantastic King adaptation that quietly trumps many of his bigger budgeted films.
I give it 4.0 bloody bodies on the flying fanged fiends scale of wretched creature killers.
If you are familiar with The Dead Zone, you may remember character Richard Dees attempting to interview psychic, (main character) Johnny Smith for an Inside View article. He was played by Miguel Ferrer in that film also.
One of the headlines shown on the cover of the Inside View reads, ‘Kiddie Cultists in Kansas Worship Creepy Voodoo God!‘ which refers to ‘Children of the Corn’ a story (and film) also written by King.