Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why We Never Got Stephen King's Night Flier 2

One Stephen King movie adaptation that often flies under the radar is 1997's "The Night Flier," a vampire flick based on the short story of the same title. Both the literary work and the movie focus on cynical and gruff reporter Richard Dees, who also made a brief appearance in King's book "The Dead Zone," and who works for The Inside View, a tabloid publication mentioned throughout many of King's stories. Portrayed by the late Miguel Ferrer in the film, Dees is an unscrupulous journalist who doesn't believe in the topics he often reports on, including alien abductions and monsters. When he begins investigating serial killings whose gruesome murders occur between small airports, he deduces the killer is a pilot who believes himself to be a vampire ... until the revelation that the killer is, in fact, a bloodsucker of legend. 

While the movie bombed at the box office, fans of the cult favorite might be surprised to know a sequel, co-written by King, was shopped around in the 2000s, which begs the question — why didn't a sequel happen? And given what happens during the film, what was King planning for the story?

The movie's protagonist didn't survive the film

The Night Flier closely resembles the source material on which it was based, with a few exceptions. In addition to adding a younger and naive female journalist — Katherine Blair, played by Julie Entwisle — to compete with Dees for leads on his serial killer investigation, the movie's ending sees a much more bleak outcome for its troubled protagonist. 

In the short story, the vampire known as Dwight Renfield reveals himself when Dees catches up to him at the sight of his latest murders. Dees is left shaken, but still alive, after the encounter. In the film version, Renfield tricks Dees into believing his victims have risen as undead creatures, and the hardened reporter is shot and killed by police when he is found dismembering the corpses at the crime scene. Blair, who sees the killer flying off in his airplane, realizes Dees is not the murderer but pins the crime on him anyway for her report, proving she's learned to be as unethical in her career as he was. After exchanging glances with a departing Renfield, she recites Dees' previous advice: "Never believe what you publish. Never publish what you believe."

This is why The Night Flier's director and co-writer Mark Pavia made her the protagonist of a proposed sequel, which he first wrote by himself.

Stephen King himself co-wrote a sequel

In a 2017 interview with Blumhouse's Shock Waves podcast, The Night Flier's director Mark Pavia revealed that he was hired by producer Richard P. Rubinstein to write a sequel in the 2000s, after the movie had gained a new following on DVD. Rubinstein sent the first draft to Stephen King himself, who then became enthusiastic about the idea of a sequel. "He read it, and he goes, 'This is really good.' He's like, 'Would Mark mind if I started working with him on it?'" Pavia said. 

Together, Pavia and King wrote The Night Flier 2: Fear of Flying. Pavia explained that the plot of the movie further explored the Night Flier's universe's unique vampire mythology, and brought back Katherine Blair, this time in a starring role. Pavia and King shopped the script around to major studios around 2005 and 2006, but studios were hesitant to make a sequel to a cult film. "We were having a hard time getting the budget that was necessary for that movie, which I think was around $10 million at the time," Pavia said. "It was infuriating because we all loved it. King loved it." 

He added that Rubinstein still possesses and owns the script. "You never say never," Pavia said.