The story follows a reporter named Richard Dees as he follows, attempting to catch up with, a murderer who kills his victims in a vampiristic style. The killer flies to each murder scene in a black Skymaster airplane. At one point, Dees does catch up with the plane and finds dirt inside and the interior covered in blood, heightening the suspense of the film. The plot culminates in Dees' confrontation with 'The Night Flier' and his own loss of sanity.
Dees' secondary conflict involves a young female reporter named Katherine Blair, who joins the staff at the exploitative magazine "Inside View", where Dees ranks as senior reporter. At first he dismisses her as naive and, at best, a "Jimmy" (as in "Jimmy Olsen") and actively abuses her. She ultimately survives him and writes about Dees' death, her article prominently featured on the title page of the magazine "Inside View".
- Miguel Ferrer as Richard Dees
- Julie Entwisle as Katherine Blair
- Dan Monahan as Merton Morrison
- Michael H. Moss as Dwight Renfield
- John Bennes as Ezran Hannone
- Beverly Skinner as Selida McCamon
- Rob Wilds as Buck Kendall
- Richard K. Olsen as Clarke Bowie
- Elizabeth McCormick as Ellen Sarch
- J.R. Rodriguez as Terminal Cop #1
- Robert Leon Casey as Terminal Cop #2
- Ashton Stewart as Nate Wilson
- William Neely as Ray Sarch
- Windy Wenderlich as Henry Gates
- General Fermon Judd Jr. as Policeman
The film was first released on DVD by HBO Home Video on May 27, 1998. Since then the film has been release multiple times by HBO and Warner Home Video, and one distributed by Mosaic Movies in 2000.
Connections to other Stephen King works Edit
The Night Flier contains many references to Stephen King's larger mythos, most of which were not present in the original story. In the scene where Katherine looks at some of Richard's previous Inside View articles, we see that most of the bylines relate to other Stephen King stories. 'Springheel Jack Strikes Again!' refers to 'Strawberry Spring', 'Headless Lamaze Leads To Successful Birth!' refers to The Breathing Method, 'Kiddie Cultists in Kansas Worship Creepy Voodoo God!' refers to 'Children of the Corn', 'Satanic Shopkeeper Sells Gory Goodies!' refers to Needful Things, 'Naked Demons Levelled My Lawn!' refers to 'The Lawnmower Man', and 'The Ultimate Killer Diet! Gypsy Curse Flays Fat Lawyer's Flesh' refers to Thinner.
The film also features a scene where the characters discuss a schoolteacher who murdered a group of five-year-olds because she thought they were plotting against her; a reference to the story 'Suffer the Little Children', where this occurs. Richard Dees, the protagonist of The Night Flier, also appears in The Dead Zone, where he attempts to interview the psychic Johnny Smith for Inside View. In his afterword to Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Stephen King states that he thinks the vampire in the short story Popsy is the same vampire that appeared in 'The Night Flier'.
Critical reception for the film has been mostly negative.
Stephen Holden from New York Times gave the film a negative review, criticizing the film's poor adaptation, and lack of thrills, citing Ferrer's performance as the film's sole strength. The film did however, have some positive reviews. Leonard Maltin gave the film a score of 2 1/2 stars out of 4, complimenting the film's "Genuinely creepy mood" and Ferrer's performance, but criticized the final third of the film.