A group of scientists head out into space to investigate a strange signal. When the onboard computer starts getting jealous over Captain Royd's (Michael Praed) flirtations with one of the crew, things go south quickly.
Nightflyers is one of those films that was incredibly mis-marketed, as I had no idea what this movie was even about until I saw that trailer a few weeks ago. I'm still not sure what the title had to do with the movie. I mean, I suppose it could be the name of the ship, but wouldn't it be singular? Since 1997, the name has more recognition with the Stephen King property The Night Flier now, anyway.
All that aside, with some concessions, this was a fairly decent affair. Based on a short story by George R.R. Martin (yes, that one), this production was really ambitious for their super low budget, at least for what they were trying to do. I loved all the model work in this. It took my mind away from the fact that though it was supposed to the future, everyone was still dressed like it was the eighties. I guess it is true what they say. Fashion is cyclical! I also have to mention that the lengthy voice-over throughout (in tandem with a Vangelis-y score by Doug Timm) the movie reminded me of the theatrical cut of Blade Runner.
I was happy to see a trio of recognizable genre actresses Catherine Mary Stewart (Night of the Comet) Lisa Blount (Prince of Darkness) & Helene Udy (My Bloody Valentine, Pin) punching up the cast. Though its not fully touched on, I think the latter two characters may have been together, but it was pretty vague. Hooray for progress though.
Nightflyers never really kicked into high gear for me though. It didn't have that extra thing to put it over the top, like the unabashed sleaziness of 1982's Forbidden World or a batshit co-star like Klaus Kinski in 1985's Creature. But, then again, Nightflyers doesn't have a big bad monster like those two did. A better comparison would be if the Alien never got on board the Nostromo and Mother went ape-shit as a result. However, I have to admit the scene with the surgical laser was pretty awesome. Why wasn't THAT on the coverbox??? Oh wait, it's on the back!
Nightflyers ain't the best, but I do have to give props to director Robert Collector (credited as T.C. Blake after asking to have his name removed during post production) for getting as much as he did from what he had. Apparently, the Nightflyers story is currently being developed as a television series. They'll have to pad it out because I think Westworld now has the malfunctioning artificial intelligence market cornered. Just make sure it has lasers.