Stephen King is a money machine, a cash cow that still gives the juiciest milk - even after 30 years in the business. No wonder that almost any reasonably acceptable story written by him is adapted to a movie. For example, imdb.com lists over 110 movies of all genres - from short films to TV productions and Oscar-winning movies.
The story "The Night Flier" was taken from Stephen King's short story collection "Nightmares & Dreamscapes" by regular producer Richard P. Rubinstein to be adapted to a big-screen movie. Provided with an extra low budget of 1 million US-dollars, first-time director Mark Pavia was given the opportunity to show his skills. Not only did he direct the movie but together with his buddy Jack O'Donnell, he also wrote the script. And one has to admit that they did an excellent job of bringing the original spirit of the story to the big screen. Therefore, it's a total mystery why the two have not made a movie since. Offering the lead to Miguel Ferrer was also a perfect decision. He really embodies the role of the cynical and disillusioned reporter, who would do literally anything to make headlines. Ferrer carries the movie all alone and degrades the rest of the cast to mere extras. Nevertheless, they also do a good job.
The movie does hardly contain any action. However, due to the straightforward production and the well written script, suspense is on the rise throughout the movie and eventually culminates in a great finale. What stands out for sure are the cool masks, which were designed by the KNB-FX-Group. Violence is not shown very often on screen but small appetizers are placed throughout the movie. And eventually we are served a delicious blood feast, which will make any fan of old school splatter effects more than happy. :D
Altogether, the movie is one of the better adaptions of King's short stories and it was even released in cinemas in the US.
Probably, some of the more violent scenes were cut out in order to get the more lucrative R-rating and nobody seemed to notice. Even after the Director's Cut had been released in the UK in 2005, people continued to ignore it. Not even Imdb.com lists an alternative version of the movie and Imdb.com is the biggest movie database on this planet! I didn't find any information about censored scenes on any reliable website. Why would there be a Director's Cut? The UK version has always been uncensored! And if I hadn't read this one post on the Cinefacts message board I would be still starving on misinformation and you with me! After the comparison between the normal version (R-Rated, taken from German DVD) and the Director's Cut [Mosaic, BBFC 18 (UK)] it is certain that there are some changes and those look suspiciously like censorship for an R-rating. Some frames are missing from and there is less blood in the Theatrical Cut. Moreover, the Director's Cut offers some additional footage and a couple of new scenes. Nothing that would improve the quality of the movie. However, the changes definitely look like the usual appeasement strategy for the MPAA. Nevertheless, the publishers try to sell the change in the level of violence as "Director's Cut". Due to a bad NTSC-PAL conversion, the running-time of the UK-DVD is identical to the NTSC norm, which causes visible stutters. The time references refer to the German DVD.
Dees enters the departure hall of the airport. Here the DC shows another pan shot of the dead bodies. Then Dees takes a picture of a severed body.
( 18 sec. )
Dees continues his way and searches the dark hall with a flashlight. This shot is slightly longer in the DC and is followed by additional shots of dead bodies and a close up of a severed head and an arm.
( 14,5 sec. )
The close up of a dead face is a couple of frames longer.
( 10 fr )
The dead body on the hot plate is on screen slightly longer as well.
( 15 fr )
When the Night Flier cuts the wrist with his finger alternative footage is shown. In the Theatrical Cut, the close-up ends when the first blood comes out. This is followed by a long shot from the side. In the DC the close-up continues and the Night Flier cuts open the wrist. Then the camera pans to the face of the vampire. This is followed by a short inter-cut to Dees after which the Night Flier is shown again. In total the DC is 2 seconds longer here.
( 2 Sek. )
Richard sees ghosts. The knee shot at the beginning of this scene is slightly longer in the DC.
( 1,5 sec. )
The shot in which Dottie's head explodes is longer.
( 16 fr )
Dees slices his way through the phantoms. When he hits one of them with his axe the DC shows the hit at least dimly and if one looks carefully, some blood can be found on the left side of the screen.
( 18 fr )
It's no joke. Only the Director's Cut shows 4 more frames in which 2 drops of blood can be found - this is, if you take a closer look at each frame.
( 4 fr )
Dees gets hit in the bright light. Blood becomes visible.
( 18 fr. )
The effects of the final hit to the throat are shown longer in the DC.
( 1 sec. )