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Stephen King's Night Flier

Films adapted from the work of Stephen King tend to fall into three categories: big-budget prestige productions (The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Misery); modestly budgeted, middle-brow studio filler (The Dark Half, Cujo, Sleepwalkers); and low-budget genre films generally drawn from short stories and produced independently (Stephen King's Graveyard Shift, The Mangler, Children Of The Corn). And while Night Flier is an example of third-tier Stephen King, it's still not nearly as bad as it should be. For the most part, it's a well-made, enjoyably pulpy little genre film, albeit one that never quite overcomes the flimsiness of its source material. Miguel Ferrer stars as an amoral tabloid journalist who is assigned to investigate a series of bizarre murders occurring in an abandoned airfield. His character is a ruthless, workaholic asshole, but he's equally matched by his sadistic editor (Dan Monahan) and the ambitious cub reporter (Julie Entwisle) who's trying to steal the story. Night Flier is an odd hybrid, a trashy horror film that devotes a good deal of time and energy to its dueling-journalist subplot. And, surprisingly, the film is at its strongest when it focuses on Ferrer's brutal battle to stay on top of the journalistic heap. It's too bad the horror element doesn't work, mostly because the film's villain, a vampire that flies around in a tiny black plane killing people, is more silly than frightening. While Night Flier's absurd vampire-pilot story might have made an excellent episode of Tales From The Crypt, it can't sustain an entire film.


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