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Dwight Renfield is a vampire serial killer and mass murderer from Stephen King's horror short story The Night Flier and its subsequent film adaption.
In the 1997 film, he was played by Michael H. Moss.
The following is the character's fictional biography from both the original short story and its 1997 adaption.
Almost nothing is known about Dwight Renfield's past before his killing spree, it's also unknown whether or not Dwight Renfield is, in fact his real name. There are several hints that Renfield was once a skilled airplane pilot as is evident by the the Cessna Skymaster 337 that he flies. In the film, it's shown that Dwight keeps an old photo album with him on his plane, this album contains photographs of both Dwight and what could possibly be his wife before he became a vampire.
In the film, Dwight Renfield appears in both human form and vampire form. In both cases, he wears black cloak much like the one worn by Bela Lugosi's version of Dracula. While in his human form, Dwight appears as a handsome man with long, shoulder-length black hair, and grayish eyes.
In his true form, all the vestiges of humanity are gone. The only attribute that he retains from his human self is his long, shoulder-length black hair. His pale skin is wrinkled and shriveled, as well as being somewhat leathery in appearance. His face is a horrific mixture of physical attributes both human and bat-like. His head is especially bat-like in appearance, with a flat nose, and a mouth filled with large fangs, most unique among vampires is the fact that he has one massive fang on both the top and bottom portion of his mouth which he uses to feed on his victims' blood. The result of his feeding on his victims results in two very large holes on both sides of their neck. His hands are more human-like, in a warped sense, with long fingers ending in razor sharp claws and brownish grey hair sprouting from the back of the hands.
Powers and Abilities
The following is a list of powers and abilities of the film version of the character (unless stated otherwise).
- Supernatural strength: Dwight Renfield is superhumanly strong, and is shown to be capable of tossing a fully grown man the entire length of a room without effort.
- Supernatural agility: As a vampire, Dwight Renfield is extremely quick and agile. In the film he is shown to be capable of moving at rapid speeds that barely registers to the human eye.
- Hallucinogenic blood: Dwight's blood seems to have hallucinogenic effects if consumed. When Dwight forcibly feeds reporter Richard Dees some of his blood, Dees begins experiencing nightmarish hallucinations/visions as well as driving him insane.
- Hypnosis/Mind control: Like traditional vampires, Dwight Renfield is capable of hypnotizing , placing them in a trance-like state of infatuation that make them susceptible to his will. Victims that he leaves alive are left with no memory of their encounter with him.
- Immortality: As a vampire and member of the undead, Dwight Renfield is essentially immortal. He is impervious to the effects of aging, and cannot be harmed by traditional weaponry.
- Shapeshifting: Dwight Renfield is capable of shapshifting into his human form and his vampire form at will. Although he is not shown to shapeshift into a bat like traditional vampires, it's unknown if this is because he is incapable of doing so or chooses not to. In the film, he takes on the form of a large dog to intimidate and attack Dees.
- Skilled pilot: In both the short story and the film, Dwight Renfield is shown to be a skilled aviator capable of flying his small Cessna Skymaster even under stormy weather.
- Widening Jaws: While in his vampire form, Dwight is shown to be able to stretch his jaw to inhuman lengths much like that of a snake. He seems to use this in order to bite into his victim's necks and, at times, nearly biting their entire throat off.
- Sunlight: Like traditional vampires, Dwight Renfield is extremely sensitive to sunlight. Exposure to the sun's rays are deadly to him, and as a result he must spend the daylight hours resting in complete darkness in order to avoid exposure to the sun.
Dwight Renfield is a charismatic man whose current existence is ruled by his need to feed on the blood of the living in order to survive. Although he appears kind and gentlemanly at first, he soon reveals his true nature to his enthralled victims and brutally murders them. The feeding process is extremely violent, at one point he brutally decapitated one of his victims after after viciously attacking and throwing him around like a rag doll. He is also shown to have no moral compass, this is exemplified in his massacre at the Wilmington airfield where he brutally murdered everyone inside the large airport.
Although he is extremely brutal in his methods of feeding on his victims, it is hinted throughout the film that Dwight Renfield loathes his existence as a vampire, and the murders he causes because of his thirst for blood. Unable see himself within a mirror due to his vampire curse, he makes it a habit of smashing every mirror he comes across, as it reminds him of the monster that he's become. Furthermore, he seems to have genuine feelings for Ellen Sarche (who is implied to have been his lover before he became a vampire), returning to his human form to meet with her again.
Dwight is also shown to have some measure of respect for Richard Dees' determination to find him, considering him something of a kindred spirit. Knowing the price Dees would have to pay for finding out the truth about him, Dwight repeatedly warns him to drop his search and to stay away. When this fails, Dwight is perfectly willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that his existence remains largely hidden. He seems to deeply regret framing Dees for the murders that he committed, and (in the film) his death at the hands of the police.
- Renfield's name is a reference to the character of the same name from Bram Stoker's classic horror novel Dracula. It also refers to actor Dwight Frye (1899-1943) who played the part alongside Bela Lugosi in the classic 1931 film adaptation.
- According to Stephen King, the vampire Popsy, from the short story of the same name, may or may not be Dwight Renfield.
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