STEPHEN KING WEEK: The Night Flier (1997)

The Inside View is a tabloid all about blood, gore and Fortean stories that is mentioned in several Stephen King stories, like Desperation, Insomnia, The Waste Land, Bag of Bones, Needful Things and Doctor Sleep. In The Night Flier, cynical reporter Richard Dees (the superb and sadly deceased Miguel Ferrer) is the senior reporter for that rag, on the hunt for the titular killer.

The Night Flier is a serial killer who uses a Cessna Skymaster to travel to small airports, where he kills people as if he were a vampire. A pilot himself, Dees follows him to Wilmington International Airport, where in the midst of a violent storm he learns that he’s really after a vampire.

This is no modern vampire. It’s a horrifying creature that looks more beast than man. When he comes to face to face with the monster, it destroys his evidence and leaves him at the crime scene where he’s killed by the police.

Reporting on it all is Dees’ would-be apprentice/rival, Katherine Blair. He abuses her with his language, telling her his rules of reporting and continually judges her. She survives to report on his death, which becomes the front cover of the newest edition of “Inside View.”

The Night Flier movie is the nexus for several King stories and is packed with references. In a scene where Katherine looks at some of Richard’s most famous headlines, they all refer to past King tales: “Kiddie Cultists in Kansas Worship Creepy Voodoo God!” is Children of the Corn, “Satanic Shopkeeper Sells Gory Goodies!” is Needful Things, “Naked Demons Levelled My Lawn” is The Lawnmower Man and “The Ultimate Killer Diet! Gypsy Curse Flays Fat Lawyer’s Flesh” is Thinner.

The character of Dees also appears in the book version of The Dead Zone, as he attempts to interview protagonist Johnny Smith for Inside View. Additionally, the vampire in the tale “Popsy” is also the same one from this story.

The Night Flier depends on Ferrer’s performance, which he aptly delivers. It’s an interesting film and one worthy of watching.

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