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The Night Flier
AKA: Stephen King's The Night Flier

USA 1997, Color, 89 min
Director Mark Pavia
Screenplay Jack O'Donnell & Mark Pavia
Based on the short story by Stephen King
Producer Mitchell Galin , Richard P. Rubinstein
Director of Photography David Connell
Music Brian Keane
Richard Dees Miguel Ferrer
Katherine Blair Julie Entwisle
Merton Morrison Dan Monahan
Dwight Renfield Michael H. Moss

Richard Dees is a cynic former star reporter. He writes for a tabloid called "The Inside View" that treats themes such as UFO abductions, serial killers, tales of molestation, mayhem and murder, one of those publications where the blood is dripping from every single page. Dees is looking for the very story that will bring him back on the front page. When is offered to write about the Night Flier, some bad guy landing on secluded airports in New England with a black Cessna and slaughtering off the personnel, he first refuses. Only when the evil-doer attacks again, Dee agrees to write the story and follows the killer in a sports plane of his own. The killer soon turns out to be a modern vampire (at least this is how Stephen King sees him) and for Dee following his track becomes an obsession that must inevitably lead to his death when it looks more and more as if the hardened reporter himself is the murderer. When he finally freaks out, Dee is shot by the police. But the night flier climbs into his plane and takes off.

Stephen King is not quite as popular as only some years ago anymore, but still everything the master of horror ever wrote is turned into a movie. This is done with quite different results. These movies are rarely really well-done (merely "The Green Mile", "Misery", "The Shawshank Redemption", "Dead Zone"), often mediocre and most of the time extremely bad. And it's mostly the adaptations of King's short stories that lead to the most devestating results (just thing of "Night Shift" or Tobe Hoopers "The Mangler". But this can also be different, just watch "Nigh Flier" and be astonished. It really isn't that bad.

This is primarily due to the presence of it's lead Miguel Ferrer, who is generally extremely good when he plays hard-boiled cynics or crazy lunatics. In this movie he has the chance to do both of it. But his role as Agent Albert Rosenfeld in "Twin Peaks" will surely never be surpassed. Why don't we see Ferrer more often?

Another reason why "Night Flier" in contrast to many other King movies works is simply that director Mark Pavia knows how to create atmospheres. There's quite some scenes that are scary in a good old-fashioned way. A lightning, a thunder, an old graveyard her, a shadow whisking by the window there ... now that fits together.
The special effects aren't that bad either, even if it can often be seen that the budget must have been rather low. This is why "Night Flier" somehow gives us the impression that it was meant to be a TV production while actually having been made for cinema.

By the way- director Pavia and script author Jack O'Donnell have been favored by Stephen King himself after he had seen their short movie "Drag" and praised it as "the best horror movie I have seen in 20 years".

Sure, there's some cliches in "Night Flier", for example the reporter who wants to become unforgotten with his story, fails and finally becomes a part of it himself. Often Pavia's and O'Donnell's characters overreact and the dialogues are sometimes quite stupid. In the middle part the story appears somehow blown-up (well- it's based on a short story) and sometimes it even lacks logic.

Nevertheless "Night Flyer" one of the better-done adaptations of a Stephen King short story and well-suited for an evening watching video or TV.


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