'Double Feature: Nightwing/Shadow of the Hawk'
(Nick Mancuso, David Warner, Kathryn Harrold, Jan-Michael Vincent, Marilyn Hassett, et al / Blu-ray / PG / 2018 / Mill Creek Entertainment)
Overview: It's a killer creature double feature as two terrifying tales take flight with fright!
First time either film has been available in HIGH DEFINITION!
Blu-ray Verdict: First up is 'Nightwing' (1979) where a wave of mysterious deaths on a Native American reservation in New Mexico are being investigated and ...it's killer bats!
The movie, which it should also be known won Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society's 2nd Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1979 (!), isn't actually all that bad.
Indeed, personally, one of the main reasons that I like 'Nightwing' is that the movie educates the audience about the subject matter in it.
You learn more about these vampire bats in just a five minute conversation between Phillip Payne, David Warner, the Bat investigator and Walker Chee, Stephan Macht, the Indian official, then you learned about the same subject in all the movies that Hollywood made about bats put together!
The bat menace in the movie was intelligently handled and the film tried as much as possible to keep the supernatural and mystical angle in check making it more real as well as effective.
The final sequence of 'Nightwing' in the deadly bat cave as Duran Payne and his girlfriend (Anne Dillion, aka Kathryn Harrold), were working against the clock, or better yet the night, to destroy the giant vampire bat colony (before it woke up) was nail biting and very effectively done.
The other movie is 'Shadow of The Hawk' (1976) and tells the story of an old Native American shaman who trains his skeptical grandson as a Medicine Man; and who must battle enemies and black magic thereafter.
In my humble opinion, 'Shadow of the Hawk' is a film that can be viewed on many levels. It is at once a parable about the use of power and a young man's conflicted response to his vocation.
I am speaking of power as it is defined in various North American Indian traditions. Power in such traditions is neither good nor evil in itself. It is the person using it who is good or evil and uses it to those ends. It is in the portrayal of black vs. white magic that the film has serious flaws, introducing non-Native American elements for dramatic effect.
Nevertheless, the essential understanding that power has the potential for personal enlightenment or self-destruction manages to come through. There is also the drama of the vision quest operating here.
The vision quest, found in the traditions of many North American Indian tribes, is a experience through which one conquers one's fears in a journey which culminates in a crucial aspect of self-knowledge.
All of these elements, aided by the entrancing scenery throughout, combine to make this film well worthwhile viewing. Jan Michael Vincent is very good in this role as "Hawk", the grandson of a Native American medicine man, played by the venerable Chief Dan George.
In closing, and as I'm no Shaman, I honestly think the training takes awhile longer than shown, but Mike is a natural and with a little guidance from Hawk he takes to the fight all the while evil followers try to stop them. Also, the way Evil works is really shown well in this film. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.