Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Nights of Terror '12 #5 - Nightwing

The cover of my VHS copy of Nightwing

Nightwing (1979)
Director: Arthur Hiller
Starring: Nick Mancuso, David Warner, Kathryn Harrold
Format: VHS (RCA Columbia)

Plot: Cattle turn up dead from mysterious bites on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. Native deputy Duran (Italian-American Mancuso) investigates while a rival chief negotiates for a sacred valley to be drilled for oil. A bat expert (Warner, TRON) is sure vampire bats have migrated north from Mexico, and when people start getting killed it looks like he's right. He, along with Duran and his girlfriend (Harrold) set off to find the bats and put an end to their terror.

Up until seeing this movie, I had never enjoyed a killer bat horror movie. Sadly, after seeing this movie, I still haven't.

There's just something about bat attacks that make them more comedic than terror-inducing. Give me killer piranhas, birds, even insects, and I can buy it, but bats just don't do it for me. I'm sure being attacked by a swarm of bats would suck in real life, but on screen it's yawn-inducing.

Even putting that personal bias aside, director Arthur Hiller (who made his name directing TV episodes in the 50s and 60s) has put together a film that offers nothing new. There's nothing special about the way it's shot, its plot (about the only interesting plot point is when Duran eats a hallucenogenic plant and uses Indian "visions" to help find and beat the bats), or for that matter the acting.

There's barely even anything cheesy to make things fun. The bat effects are hilariously bad (a mix of back-projection and fluffy toys), but everything else is rather boring and the ending ("I'm going to close the circle Abner") is predictable and corny.

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