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Nightwing is a 1979 American horror film directed by the Canadian filmmaker Arthur Hiller. The screenplay was written by Martin Cruz Smith, Steve Shagan and Bud Shrake, based on the 1977 novel of the same title by Smith. The movie's tagline is "Day belongs to man, but night is theirs!" It was one of many imitators of the 1975 film Jaws. Such movies about animals gone wild were popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These included Grizzly (1976), Orca (1977), Tentacles (1977), The Pack (1977), Piranha (1978), Alligator (1980) and Great White (1981).


Youngman Duran, a deputy on a Hopi Indian reservation in New Mexico, investigates a series of mysterious cattle mutilations. Abner Tasupi, an ancient and embittered medicine man who raised Youngman after his parents died, reveals that he has woven a spell to end the world that very night. However, Youngman assumes Tasupi is simply babbling while under the influence of datura root. The following morning, Youngman finds Abner's bloodless body on the floor of his shack, and nearby he discovers a dead shepherd and most of his flock.

Tribal Council chairman Walker Chee has discovered a stratum of oil shales in Maskai Canyon, the most sacred ground in the tribe's domain. Walker is dynamiting the caves in an effort to unleash oil, and is planning to sell the rights to process them to tycoon Roger Piggott of Peabody Oil. Walker is desperate to keep word of the attacks from leaking to the media before he completes the deal.

Although common sense tells him otherwise, Youngman's faith in tribal beliefs and superstitions leads him to suspect the unexplained deaths may be connected to Abner's spell. British scientist Philip Payne is certain they are the work of vampire bats infected with bubonic plague. As bats spread throughout the area, swarming through a missionary group's campsite and infecting everyone in their path, Philip and Youngman join forces with Anne Dillon, a young white medical student who runs a ramshackle clinic on the reservation and is in love with Youngman. They track the bats to their lair and eventually destroy them.