×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stephen King’s The Night Flier

"Stephen King's The Night Flier" is a creepy vampire tale that also offers some clever commentary on bloodthirsty tabloid journalists.

With:
Richard Dees - Miguel Ferrer Katherine Blair - Julie Entwisle Merton Morrison - Dan Monahan Dwight Renfield - Merton H. Moss Ezra Hannon - John Bennes Selida McCamon - Beverly Skinner Buck Kendall - Rob Wilds Claire Bowie - Richard Olsen Ellen Sarch - Elizabeth McCormick

Stephen King’s The Night Flier” is a creepy vampire tale that also offers some clever commentary on bloodthirsty tabloid journalists. While not the most memorable of King adaptations, it’s far from the worst of them, and with King’s name emblazoned in the title, pic (which aired on HBO in November and has already opened in some European territories) is likely to profit from scribe’s loyal following in limited theatrical release before it segues to a long and comfortable shelf life on video.

In the hectic offices of the top tabloid Inside View, a rivalry develops between veteran reporter and paparazzo Richard Dees (Miguel Ferrer) and eager young rookie Katherine Blair (Julie Entwisle) when their editor (Dan Monahan) offers them a juicy lead. In a pair of recent murders, an unidentified Cessna pilot has landed on small, isolated airfields at night to feed on the blood of local residents.

When Dees passes on the story, editor Morrison hands it over to Blair instead. But when another murder takes place almost immediately, Dees changes his mind and demands the story back. Setting out in his own private plane, the reporter follows the killer’s path. With unrelenting zeal, Dees corners witnesses, pressing them to reveal gruesome details, and snaps the most salacious photos he can find — or con-struct. Predictably, Blair hasn’t given up the chase, and the two of them find themselves in competition — and briefly collaborating — before fate plays a hand.

Helmer Mark Pavia and his co scripter, Jack O’Donnell, self proclaimed horror aficionados, clearly understand conventions of the genre. The duo, whose short horror film “Drag” impressed King enough for him to lobby for their attachment to “Night Flier,” has effectively opened up his short story, adding a clever meta commentary on the horror genre itself.

Putting the protagonist behind the lens of his own camera not only sets up the obvious out for blood parallel of vampire and paparazzi, but also offers an ironic critique on the director’s motivations. In one smartly executed scene, Dees finds himself in a cemetery photographing the grave of a recent victim. Judging the tombstone too neat for his tabloid purposes, Dees stages a more horrific, blood spattered photo.

While it occasionally stoops to stock horror cliches (“Go away” warnings scrawled in blood, scary nocturnal encounters that turn out to be dreams), pic does find ways to make old ideas new. The graveyard scene is both spooky and funny, and there’s a showdown in the late going that uses echoes and mirrors to create an atmosphere of pure terror. Though there’s an unfortunate final dreamscape sequence that plays like an amalgam of a “Living Dead” movie and a Michael Jackson video, Pavia rescues the scene at the last moment and delivers a wily payoff.

Sound design is excellent, with auditory cues that successfully manipulate perception of the viewer and the characters. Brian Keane’s score hits just the right eerie effect. Lensing is above average, but makeup effects are inconsistent, ranging from fake looking welts and wounds of the costume store variety to grisly decapitations and mutilations.

Thesping is strong, especially by leads Entwisle, who registers as a promising newcomer, and Ferrer, his gravelly voice filled with resignation and cynicism, who fascinates even when he’s being a heel.

Stephen King's The Night Flier

(Horror --- Color)

Production: A New Line Cinema release of a New Amsterdam Entertainment/Stardust Intl./Medusa Film presentation of a Richard P. Rubinstein production. Produced by Rubinstein, Mitchell Galin. Executive producer, David Kappes. Directed by Mark Pavia. Screenplay, Pavia, Jack O'Donnell, based on a story by Stephen King.

Crew: Camera (color), David Connell; editor, Elizabeth Schwartz; music, Brian Keane; production design, Burton Rencher; set design, Andrew Menzies; set decoration, Timothy Smithwick Stepeck; costume design, Pauline White; sound, Jay Meagher; special effects makeup, KNB EFX Group; associate producer, Neal Stevens; assistant director, Michael Jefferson; casting, Leonard Finger, Lyn Richmond. Reviewed at New Line screening room, L. A., Feb. 4, 1998. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 97 min.

With: Richard Dees - Miguel Ferrer Katherine Blair - Julie Entwisle Merton Morrison - Dan Monahan Dwight Renfield - Merton H. Moss Ezra Hannon - John Bennes Selida McCamon - Beverly Skinner Buck Kendall - Rob Wilds Claire Bowie - Richard Olsen Ellen Sarch - Elizabeth McCormickCamera (color), David Connell; editor, Elizabeth Schwartz; music, Brian Keane; pro-duction design, Burton Rencher; set design, Andrew Menzies; set decoration, Timothy Smithwick Stepeck; costume design, Pauline White; sound, Jay Meagher; special effects makeup, KNB EFX Group; associate producer, Neal Stevens; assistant director, Michael Jefferson; casting, Leonard Finger, Lyn Richmond. Reviewed at New Line screening room, L. A., Feb. 4, 1998. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 97 min.

More Film

  • Italy's Notorious Pictures on Buying Spree

    Cannes: Italy's Notorious Pictures on Buying Spree Takes 'Vivarium,' Ups Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italian distribution, production, and exhibition company Notorious Pictures is on a buying spree at the Cannes Film Market where they’ve acquired four high-profile titles, including Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots sci-fi-fier “Vivarium,” which world-premiered in Critics’ Week. On the production side the expanding outfit has teamed up with Belgium’s Tarantula Productions on Islamic terrorism thriller [...]

  • Marco Bellocchio The Traitor Cannes

    Director Marco Bellocchio Talks About Cannes Mafia Drama 'The Traitor'

    Cannes veteran Marco Bellocchio’s vast body of work spans from “Fists in the Pockets” (1965) to “Sweet Dreams,” which launched at Directors’ Fortnight in 2016. The auteur known for psychodramas and for bringing the complexities of Italian history, and hypocrisy, to the big screen is back, this time in competition, with “The Traitor,” a biopic [...]

  • Director Tudor Giurgiu on Transylvania Film

    Director Tudor Giurgiu on Transilvania Film Festival Opening Film ‘Parking’

    CANNES–A poet, a romantic, and a stranger in a strange land, Adrian is a Romanian immigrant working as a night watchman at a car dealership in Cordoba. After leaving his old life behind, he falls in love with a Spanish singer who offers him a shot at reinvention. But when a money-making scheme by his [...]

  • Their Algeria

    Lina Soualem’s ‘Their Algeria’ Wins First Docs-in-Progress Award

    CANNES–Lina Soualem’s “Their Algeria” won the inaugural Docs-in-Progress Award, a €10,000 ($11,300) cash prize given out by the Cannes Film Market’s Doc Corner with the support of the Intl. Film Talent Association (IEFTA), which was presented Tuesday at a ceremony at the Plage des Palmes. Soualem’s directorial debut was chosen out of the 24 works-in-progress [...]

  • Film Review: The Orphanage

    Cannes Film Review: 'The Orphanage'

    Amusing, at times poignant Bollywood re-creations are used in “The Orphanage” much as Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat mixed folklore with realism in her award-winning “Wolf and Sheep,” in both cases to add heightened levels of cultural significance and an element of fantasy as necessary correlatives to hardscrabble lives. While Sadat’s second feature is something of [...]

  • Three Identical Strangers

    Film News Roundup: 'Three Identical Strangers' Feature Adaptation Taps 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Writer

    In today’s film news roundup, “Three Identical Strangers” is moving ahead, Skeet Ulrich has been cast with Tom Hanks, the “Minions” sequel has been titled and “Vegas Dave” is getting a movie. MCCARTEN ATTACHED “Bohemian Rhapsody” screenwriter Anthony McCarten will write and produce the feature adaptation of the documentary “Three Identical Strangers.” Raw, Film4 and [...]

  • Bong Joon-ho, Choi Woo-shik. Director Bong

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Earns Five-Minute Cannes Ovation

    Just days after the announcement of the selection of “Parasite” for main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho warned members of the local press not to expect his film to win the Palme d’Or. He also suggested that the film was “hyper local” and possibly difficult for foreign audiences to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content