The Night Flier (1997) – Movie Review

Night flyer

“Don’t believe what you publish, don’t publish what you believe.”

The Night Flier (1997)

Directed by Mark Pavia

Starring
Miguel Ferrer
Julie Entwisle
Dan Monahan
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 The Night Flyer - Cover artof 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.

The Night Flyer - pic 1

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.

———————————————–

Fun Facts:
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.

Parlor of Horror’s Book Reviews

Parlor of Horror’s Book Reviews

From Classic to Modern, Gothic to Pulp, here’s some book reviews so you can choose your winter reading enjoyment.

Click on a book cover to read a review:

full dark no stars - stephen king 20thCenturyGhosts - Joe Hill in-the-tall-grass - king - hill Joe Hill horns book

throttle knidle book cover monstrous 20 tales thomas ligotti - teatro grottesco  ligotti - songs of a dead dreamer

the-spectral-link-thomas-ligotti thomas ligotti - my work is not yet done  The Nightmare Factory - Ligotti Hour of the beast

chthulhurotica Flesh and Leftovers - Rick Pipito keyport-cthulhu What-the-Night-Knows-Dean Koontz

The Narrows - Ronald Malfi RC Dark Companions deadfall hotel - tem the great god pan by arthur machen

ghost and horror stories of Ambrose Bierce best ghost stories of Algernon Blackwood arthur machen - the white people and other dracula-the-un-dead-by-dacre-stoker-and-ian-holt

a dark collection - mark lukens Beavers! - Joseph F Parda b Bentley Little the Haunted A Psychos Medley - Terry M West

cecil and bubba meet the thang whatpricegorycover Tales+from+the+Beaumont+House+by+D.F suspended in dusk anthology

long island noir the king in yellow book 1


parlor of horror  – book reviews

 

Creepshow (1982) – movie review

creepshow pic 11

Creepshow (1982)

Directed by George Romero
Written by Stephen King
Effects by Tom Savini

Hal Holbrookmy top 10 1980s horror
Adrienne Barbeau
Fritz Weaver
Leslie Nielsen
Ted Danson
E. G. Marshall
Viveca Lindfors


Creepshow picked up where Amicus Films had left off, honoring the 1950’s horror comics in an anthology format film. Though Creepshow wasn’t a particular horror comic from the past, they did a splendid job at portraying it as such. It opens with a young boy who likes to read horror comics being berated by his father, who takes his latest comic and throws it in the garbage. The cover opens and we are treated to the stories held within its pages. There is some wonderful animation in the beginning titles and at the end of the film, and the comic book style is weaved throughout the film as live action frames turn to comic art frames and visa-versa. There are some comic style narration titles and during certain scenes, the creepshow dvdposterbackgrounds turn colorful, as they would in frames in the pages of the comics. These are some wonderful aspects of the film and added with the tongue-in-cheek, dark humor, the film is genuinely original in its creativity. We are treated to 5 stories here and they are fun horror stories which I think stand the test of time.

Father’s Day
Viveca Lindfors plays a wonderful part in this segment as Bedilia, the great aunt who murdered her nasty old miser Father with a heavy stone ashtray from the mantle. Now it’s many years later and the family is getting together on Father’s Day to celebrate what the old patriarch had left them. However, this year their dead uncle is going to want something from them…his cake. I can only tell you that the question, “Where’s My Cake?!” became a quote used often in my household on any birthday or celebration.

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill
Stephen King himself plays Jordy, a backwoods, country bumpkin who finds a meteor crashed on his property. When he touches it, he becomes infected with “Meteor shit” which springs up into a grassy fungus. The dopey character makes a dozen wrong decisions and actions, the biggest being, jumping in the tub to relieve the itching of a plant. Guess what plants like? Water!

Something to Tide You Over
Leslie Neilson plays a wickedly awful character in this short which finds, Richard, a wealthy businessman, finding out about his cheating wife and her lover while at his beach house. He tricks them, at separate times, into getting buried up to their necks in the sand. He’s not going to cover them over, he’s just going to let the tide come in. Drowning is one of my least preferred ways to die if I had to pick one. This film does a splendid job at creepshow pic 15portraying how nasty and awful it is. Moments before the big wave is about to wash over Harry (Ted Danson) he turns to the closed circuit camera and promises revenge. Later that evening, Richard is confronted by Harry and Becky, now water zombies, in some creepy scenes. The water zombies are brought to life (death?) with excellent make-up effects.

The Crate
Henry (Holbrook), a college professor is constantly berated by his miserable and often drunk wife, Billie (Barbeau). When another professor tells him about the discovery of a Crate from the early 1900’s in the college stairwell, He finds it appropriate to get his wife to come along for a visit. Now if only the hibernating beast inside will wake for another feast on human flesh. It has a voracious appetite. This is probably everyone’s favorite story from the film. The beast creation by Tom Savini is an excellent example of old school practical effects.

They’re Creeping Up on You!
This segment with E.G. Marshall will surely give you the creeps as it was filmed with millions of live cockroaches. A germ-a-phobic, living in his germ-free penthouse is overrun by these pests and engages in a battle he can’t win.

I will also have to mention the perfect moody soundtrack music comprised of Moog Synthesizer sounds and piano melodies by John Harrison. Harrison also did music for Day of the Dead and Tales From the Dark Side TV show (for which he also directed some episodes). Don’t forget to look for a Tom Savini cameo as one of the garbage men that find the Creepshow Comic book at the end of the film. Creepshow is a wonderfully made film with great stories, perfect for Halloween viewing!

creepshow pic 6 creepshow pic 7

Fun Facts:
Creepshow 2 is almost as good as this one so I‘d recommend it. 

but Creepshow 3 left a lot to be desired – not recommended.

They would later release a Creepshow comic book series with stories from the films.

Throttle – Stephen King/Joe Hill – Kindle Single/Book review

throttle knidle book coverThrottle
Joe Hill/Stephen King

I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever owned a motorcycle, but this story brought back some memories. I haven’t rode a bike in many years but parts of this tale really captured the feeling of an open throttle on an open road. Sons of Anarchy is starting it’s final season in a few days, so I figured this would be a good time to review Throttle.

This is a Kindle single, a novelette of approximately 50 pages, by a father and son team about, among other things, a relationship between father and son. The very first page of the story makes an interesting acknowledgement; A story inspired by Duel by Richard Matheson. The difference here is, it’s a gang of bikers on the run that are being chased and crushed by a crazy trucker.

If anyone has not read any of Joe Hill’s fiction, I would strongly recommend it. He captures some of the best qualities of his father without going off on a tangent in the middle like so many of King’s stories. Hill also has the advantage of a younger person’s views and tapping into the mindset of younger generations. Possibly even better than the two authors separate stories is when they work together. Throttle is a fast and tense story that will get road rage characteryour heart racing. It’s the kind of story that is hard to put down once you’ve started and you may find yourself finishing it in one sitting. You’ll be thrilled by every point of action and every reveal of secrets held by this band of bikers known as, The Tribe.

If you are into bikes, the open desert road, and maniacal truckers hell-bent on murder, this story will hit all the entertaining sweet spots. It’s a short but engaging read.

This was first released in a commemorative anthology honoring Richard Matheson in 2009 along with a dozen A-list authors such as Ramsey Campbell, F. Paul Wilson, William F. Nolan and Joe R Lansdale. The book was titled, He is Legend and each story in the book is based on a Matheson original. Then it was in the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, edited by Stephen Jones. Then in 2012, it was adapted into a Comic Book by IDW Publishing as Road Rage and seems to have at least 4 issues.

I definitely intend to purchase and review He is Legend in the near future.

Throttle Kindle Single – http://www.amazon.com/Throttle-Kindle-Single-Joe-Hill-ebook/dp/B007QXV9S6

throttle comic throttle adaptation cover 2 RoadRage2 cover

road rage - throttle comic adaptation

The First Horror Books I ever read – what’s yours?

The First Horror Books I ever read – what’s yours?

I traced my memory back to the first ghost story/horror book I had ever purchased and read by myself. I got it at my grammar school’s Scholastic Book Fair in 4th grade.

Arrow Book of Ghost Stories Arrow book of ghost stories back cover

I recently repurchased this book, found it used on Amazon and I just had to have it.

I bought another one in 5th grade:

Arrow Book of Spooky Stories

Shortly after, I went on to more serious reading (age 11) with this gem, 50 Great Ghost Stories – edited by John Canning. It was my Mom’s book but I took it and read it front to back. It was not standard fiction, it was more like a recounting of urban legends and rumored ‘true’ ghost tales. I followed that with 50 Great Horror Stories.

50 great ghost stories 50great

The next book I read was also my Mom’s. ‘Interrupted Journey’ was ‘a real life acount’ about Bettie and Barney Hill who were abducted by aliens during a long road trip.

inerrupedjourney1 the hobbit 1

When I was in High School, The Hobbit was very popular. They had just released the 1978 English edition. I remember buying it but don’t think I finished reading it.

By the time I was 14, I had discovered Stephen King and read all the books he had published up until that date but one, starting with these three. The Shining was first, followed by Night Shift and The Stand. I didn’t read Carrie (his 1st published book) until many years later.

the shining Stephen-King-Night-Shift stand-cover

The next wave of books included Barker, Anson, and several others.

Clive Barker books of blood in the flesh amityville horror - jay anson
Jay Anson - 666 the_keep Wheatly

So, what were the first few horror books you had purchased and read?

Horror Art – Magnificent Book Covers

rowena artwork 2 Black-Book-(reduced-size) Lucifer Society

Horror Art – Magnificent Book Covers

Michael Whelan “Lovecraft’s Nightmare Part 1 and 2” paintings became numerous covers to Lovecraft collections.

Aeron Alfrey creates unique imagery inspired by the macabre, grotesque and monstrous, infecting the covers of many Thomas Ligotti books.

Rowena has her artwork gracing the covers of many books from sci-fi, to swords and sorcery, to horror. Here are a few examples.

The 1980’s Stephen King covers had simple but effective design. I got used to seeing the silver and red, author and title.

And following those are some of my Clive Barker faves.

Frank Frazetta – I was quite disappointed when I learned the Frank Frazetta Museum in PA had closed. I always wanted to visit one day. Below, the first three are some samples of Frazetta book covers.

Boris Vallejo – It is easy for me to say that it was the Boris cover art (along with Frazetta) that first got me to read books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard.

And here are the last of assorted book covers that catch my eye:

In The Tall Grass – Stephen King and Joe Hill – Book Review

in-the-tall-grass - king - hillIn The Tall Grass
Stephen King and Joe Hill

This is a kindle short, a novella, by King and his son, Joe Hill. What I like most about this tale is, after a few pages of set up, the story is almost all in the here & now – no flashbacks, no back-stories.

A brother and sister, on a cross-country road-trip from NH to San Diego, take an unexpected detour. While traversing the open land and big sky of Kansas, they hear a cry for help. They pull off the road, into an abandoned church parking lot. They clearly hear the cries of a young boy from the field of tall reeds that stretch to the horizon. They enter the field to help find the boy and lead him to safety but soon find themselves lost. From inside the field, direction is incomprehensible, sound travels at different angles and positions seem to change, even when nobody is moving. As the hours fly by and hopes are dashed, young Cal is determined to save his pregnant sister and her unborn child. Cal soon discovers the lost boy holds the secret to their salvation.

This story is like a fuse. Once lit, it burns quickly and brightly until its end. I had trouble putting it down and often found myself walking around my house with the Kindle raised before my eyes, so as not to delay the story’s finale. It’s a great tale with a disturbing ending. It is a fun and enjoyable read for any fan of horror, even for those who don’t read much. I recommend it highly.
tall grass

Get Them Reading and Keep Them Reading

Secrets to Successful Fiction Writing – a reader’s point of view


     

Great fiction authors have a knack for getting us, the readers, quickly interested in the story, invested in the characters, and keeping us ready to turn each page and continue upon a journey they have set up for us. I spent some time taking a closer look at how they do this, methods for immediate involvement in the tale, and have found a few helpful devices and techniques to use in my own story-telling. Some aspects seemed incidental, until I noticed these same parameters used in almost every book and story the particular author had written.

Dean Koontz
– When I began reading What the Night Knows, I noticed on my first night of reading I had easily progressed to the 5th chapter. Once I am that far in, there is no turning back – I will read the whole book and not stop until I am finished with it. But it did make me curious. How had I advanced so far into the book with, what seemed like, so little effort? I will tell you how: In the first chapter of the book, there was barely a paragraph over three sentences. In fact, a majority of the paragraphs in the whole book are short, 3-10 sentences. That is streamline – that is succinct. It makes for easy reading. Secondly: Many of the chapters are between three and eight pages, with many being only four or five pages long. Before you know it, you’re at chapter ten and well engaged with the story.

Michael Crichton
– Crichton keeps his chapters short, also. One thing I noticed about Crichton when reading Jurassic Park, which differs from Koontz, every chapter ends in a cliff-hanger. I mean real cliffhangers; a girl dangling from the ceiling as raptors jump at her feet, or, a worker saying, “What are those alarms?” and John Hammond turning to him with alarm in his face and saying “This can not be good.” Now, you are compelled to turn the page and start the next chapter to see what those alarms are, or, if the girl is going to have her foot chomped off by a hungry raptor. This is probably the exact opposite of what you or I would tend to do at the end of a chapter. We like to close our thoughts to a segment, make it well rounded and resolved before starting a new chapter.

Dan Brown
– Dan Brown uses these same two methods, short chapters and cliffhangers to keep the reader turning pages.

Stephen King
– King always works on immediate empathy. He will start a story with a character doing something very common, some mundane task for which we can all relate; the morning jog, trying to get reception on a cell phone, getting chewed out by the boss, waiting for a bus, walking the dog, or just watching a thunderstorm forming on the horizon as the character sips a cup of tea – things we have all done in our lives’ that make us feel instantly associated with the character. This puts us in the character’s shoes, ready to feel and experience what they do.

Clive Barker
– Mr. Barker will often start his stories with a character on a quest. Quite often they will be on the verge of finding the prized item, perhaps in the next few pages. Whether it’s a quest for a puzzle box, a quest for the perfect photo, a quest for a fabled creature or hidden land of wonder, your curiosity is peaked, usually in the very first chapter. You want to know if the character will find this treasured item, don’t you? Keep reading and you will find out.

——————————————-

These are some of my observations. These are some of the devices, techniques and styles that have kept me reading. All of these methods will lure the reader deeper into the story and into the depths of danger. Use these ideas in your own writing.

Perhaps you have noticed some other methods that keep readers turning pages in a book. Or perhaps you use an approach or two in your own writing to captivate your readers. If you would like to share these ideas, post them here in the comments and point us to a story of yours that uses the idea. (***please do not post a whole story in the comments). I would like to hear your thoughts, feedback and ideas.

   

Stephen King – Full Dark, No Stars – book review

 Stephen King – Full Dark, No Stars
 Paperback edition
 Simon & Shuster / Pocket Books

If horror fans assumed Mr. King no longer had it within himself to go deep into the black pit of the human psyche, Full Dark, No Stars should set them straight. In fact, taking time to write novels of more literary acceptable subject matter (Hearts in Atlantis, The Green Mile), seemed to have only made the well of horror deeper and darker. “Full Dark…”  is a collection of stories that are brutally dismal and violent. King always has the knack for getting the reader to fully empathized with the characters in his stories, no matter what type of character they may be. I have never been a farmer but I fully understood the desperation of the farmer’s life in “1922”. We follow the lives’ of several other characters in “Full Dark,…” as they fall into the deep pit of nightmares. These stories are more grounded in reality than much of King’s previous works and at times, much like Poe, you question if something supernatural is actually happening or if the subjects are just loosing their respective minds. As a bonus, the paperback edition includes an extra story, titled, Under The Weather. This one is only twenty-five pages, the shortest of the collection but fits nicely within the theme of the book. If you had already purchased the Hardcover version of Full Dark, No Stars I would suggest downloading the extra story or just read it at your local bookstore.