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Dwight Renfield is a vampire mass murderer in Stephen King's horror short story "The Night Flier". He flies with a custom black Cessna 337G Skymaster from a small Airport to another, killing and draining blood from his victims.
In the 1997 film, he was played by Michael H. Moss.
In the film, Dwight is shown to be equal parts classical Hollywood and non-traditional vampire. Like the classic vampires he must sleep during the day, have his grave present, drink victims' blood, hypnotizes his victims, leaves behind any possible witnesses with amnesia, wears a cape with collar turned up, and his reflection does not appear in mirrors. However, instead of a coffin, he uses his plane, his blood drinking habits are more violent (even when not tearing a victim apart he leaves massive bite marks), can appear to non-victims in dreams, is entirely monstrous when feeding, shatters all nearby mirrors, and is not deterred by holy symbols or water. His fangs are unique as instead of incisors in vampire form he has one upper and one lower fang, each enormous and retractable.
In 'Popsy' the character has membranous wings to more swiftly and accurately track a target. He is also shown to be a grandfather who is protective and loving towards his grandson.
Parallel to Richard Does
The entire premise of 'The Night Flier' is in showing how sleazy people (namely the ruthless protagonist, Richard Does who first rants about having to sleep with a morgue attendant for a picture of a dead baby) are blood-thirsty monsters. When Dwight is able to confront Richard, he remarks that they have a great deal in common and even refuses to kill him (though he does demand the last used roll of film in his camera). In the novella, Dwight leaves and Richards's seedy methods catch up with him as he is blamed for Dwight's last feeding. In the film, Dwight gives in to Richard's demand to see what he looks like, but is infuriated. After revealing himself, he forces the reporter to drink some of the blood from his wrist which causes Richard to hallucinate, grab an axe for protection, and get killed by the police before again taking the blame for Dwight's murders (this time all of them), and becoming a tabloid headline in Dwight's place.
A Senior Reporter named Richard Dees is contacted by his Editor Merton Morrison in order to write the story of a serial killer for the Tabloid "Inside View". He then meets Katherine Blair, a young girl who's been recently assumed and is being instructed about the topics to work on. All the victims shows clear signs of vampirism due to wide injuries located on their necks, as well as they're completely bloodless. Also despite all information regarding the murderer's methods, including the fact that he travels between small airports with a custom black Cessna 337G Skymaster, tail number "N101 BL", no one has ever caught him.
Dees initially believes that the man, who had named himself "Dwight Renfield" (as for the actor Dwight Frye who played the role of Renfield in the 1931 film Dracula) is nothing more than a lunatic who believes himself to be a real vampire. He refuses to waste his time stating that the case of Nina Briggs he's currently working on (a seropositive Country music performer) is a better one, since she's got a few days left. Dees also advises Morrison to assign the job to a new reporter.
Katherine follows Dees to a night club in order to know him better and learn from him. He nicknames her "Jimmy" (James Bartholomew "Jimmy" Olsen from Superman) and she informs him that she's working on the case of a psychopath who travels by plane. After being asked about his philosophy regarding being a reporter, Dees reveals his personal motto to her: "never believe what you publish and never publish what you believe". Then in order to explain to Katherine the truth about "Inside View", he tells her the story of Dottie Walsh, a Reporter who committed suicide after having a mental breakdown while working for "Inside View".
After being informed by Morrison about Renfield's last crime, thanks to Miss Blair's recent discoveries, Dees agrees to work on the case (Morrison shows to him that he commissioned two different covers for the Tabloid's next issue, actually foreseeing Dees' future choice). Katherine is forced by Morrison to give all the material she collected to Richard. Gathering further informations by interviewing all the witnesses, Dees comes to know that Renfield flies during night and gives him a moniker, "The Night Flier". Following Dwight's bloody trails, the experienced reporter starts to think that Renfield may actually be more than a human being. Richard contacts Morrison and gives him some details about the results he came to obtain. Merton asks for the material to be provided, but since Richard feels it's not a good idea refuses to do so. Morrison discovers that Katherine is still gathering informations about the vampire and, feeling he could increase the rivalry between her and Dees, tasks the young reporter to continue her investigations and take her scoop back.
Dees and Katherine meet again at the "Falling Star Motel" while adopting different strategies and, understanding that Morrison had used them all the while, make a truce in order to join forces. Some days after, while working on Renfield's possible routes, the two contacts several Airports asking whether the black airplane has been spotted and, after receiving a weird "No!" from the Wilmington one, they comes to realize that Renfield could likely be there.
Unwilling to lose the opportunity of a lifetime, Dees fools Katherine into believing he's going to share the scoop with her, but then he locks her in a closet. Katherine warns Richard about what happened to Dottie Walsh, he simply says "Sorry, Jimmy. You lose... see you on the front page" and chases the killer alone. Flying to Wilmington, he contacts the Airport via radio asking about the murderer's Skymaster and witnesses Dwight slaying all the people. He's then contacted by Renfield himself who advises him to turn back while he can still do that. Dees' reply is a negative one.
During a violent thunderstorm he manages to reach the airport before Renfield could flee and discovers the black Skymaster. After taking some photos of the infamous airplane, he decides to investigate further and finds an album of photographs, depicting Renfield's former lover as well as details of his past life. Inside the plane's back the Reporter sees a large pile of dirt, worms and some copies of "Inside View" featuring Dees' articles. He then hears screams coming from the Airport and, once inside, is overwhelmed by the gory remains of Renfield's recent slaughter.
Unable to endure the horrible scene and feeling the urge to vomit, he runs to the bathroom, falls into a large pool of blood and reaches his destination. There he realizes he's not alone: Renfield enters the bathroom and proceeds to free his bladder of the unnecessary blood he fed on before. Then the vampire slowly walks towards Dees, crashing every mirror as he's coming near it. Dwight tells to Richard that he watched over him carefully and that he understands his true nature because he knows everything about the reporter.
Nonetheless Dwight's story is not meant to be told, as Dees should have clearly understood by now, and so the vampire rips off every evidence that Richard collected minutes ago. Renfield reprises his speech by telling to the frightened man that Richard's hunger for blood is something he's fascinated by. This makes them almost brothers because Dwight shares many things with Dees and understands that perhaps Richard needs him, but also notes that others are in a similar need. Pulling Dees' hair backward the vampire tells Richard to relax himself because he's not going to die: he deeply respects Dees, even going as far as saying that he considers him a "brother in blood". Dwight believes that thanks to the obsessed Reporter, and the likes of him, this sad world is better and a far more interesting place. The monster states he'd satisfied his hunger for the night, but also threatens to devour him unless he leaves him alone.
Renfield walks away, but is followed by Dees who pretends to see the vampire' s face. Dwight stops for a moment, then tells Richard that he was expecting such a request because Dees had been looking for the vampire his whole life. Slowly walking towards the stubborn man, Dwight questions his "friend" about whether he believes that the vampire is what Richard came for, whether Dwight actually is as Dees had always though he would have been. Then, opening wide his mouth with a loud roar and extending his impossibile teeth, allows Richard to witness his gruesome visage.
Dees' mind is completely broken as the vampire opens a wound on his left wrist and forces the unwilling Richard to feed on his cursed blood. Then Dees experiences a hellish hallucination about being surrounded by Renfield's dead victims coming back to life as vampires in order to torture Richard, making him feeling guilty for feasting on their deaths. Dees freaks out, grabs an emergency axe and begins to defend himself by chopping them badly.
Two policemen investigating the crime scene are shocked to see Richard, covered in blood from head to toe, who's proceeding to slice the corpses lying around to pieces. The officers orders Richard to freeze, but after spotting Katherine who had followed him to the airport, believing she's a vampire too, he rushes towards her, attempting to kill the young woman in order to free her ("you too... He caught you too!"). The policemen prevent that by shooting at Dees several times, killing him and causing the girl to scream.
The officers then ask Katherine who she is. She replies by telling them her name and states that she's a reporter for "Inside View". Meanwhile Renfield becomes human again and spits blood, clearly showing his regret for causing Richard's death. Katherine notices Renfield walking towards his airplane. Sensing she's staring at him, Dwight turns to her and seems to suggest something to the girl's mind. She agrees by saying "never believe what you publish... never publish what you believe" and witnesses the vampire leaving the Airport aboard the black Skymaster, then she joins the policemen. The officers questions her about the identity of the dead man. She explains them that his name was Richard Dees, but he was best known as "The Night Flier". She then says "Sorry, Dees... you lose," and takes a photo for her front page as Katherine "Jimmy" Blair.