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The Night Stalker

By Sean Axmaker

Wise-cracking Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) is a rumpled news hound plucked from the fast-talking newspaper flicks of the 1940s and dropped into the swinging Super70s. What makes the eccentric Kolchak even more unique, however, is his nose for the supernatural, a trait that leaves his editor (Simon Oakland) exasperated and the police less than amused. When he insists that a late-night Las Vegas serial killer (who leaves his victims drained of blood and sporting twin holes in the neck) is a modern-day vampire, he's practically run out of town by the local authorities. Naturally, he stalks the vampire himself, an unlikely Van Helsing armed with a silver cross, a wooden stake, and his ever-present tape recorder and flashbulb camera. Carol Lynley is his understanding girlfriend, and Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins, Kent Smith, and Charles McGraw costar as the Vegas cops and politicians Kolchak systematically alienates with his abrasive charm and smart mouth. Directed by Dan Curtis from a witty script by Richard Matheson, the quirky mix of horror and humor turned The Night Stalker into a ratings sensation that inspired a sequel (The Night Strangler) and a short-lived TV series (Kolchak: The Night Stalker). The X-Files creator Chris Carter acknowledges the show as a major inspiration and has cast McGavin in a recurring role as a retired X-Files veteran with an acerbic personality and a familiar rumpled wardrobe. Kolchak lives!

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"Dan Curtis , the genius behind the greatest Gothic, Horror Soap Opera of the Super70s ever, produced this ABC Movie of the Week. The ad was a quick paced, fast edited come on , that appealed to even those who would never watch a vampire. The first rate story (based on Jeff Rice's excellent book. ) made this an instant classic. Everyone was talking about this Movie the next day. And unlike today. . You had to wait a long time to see it repeated. (TNT, TBS or USA would show it twice a day all weekend if it were today.) Darrin McGavin was the perfect choice for Kolchak. Alternating between shock, humor and a know it all attitude, McGavin played it to the hilt. A vampire in the all night town of Las Vegas. . pure genius!!!!

I'm glad You added this TV Movie to Your list of big Theatrical Films. It was very influentual at it's time. You can get this and the TV sequel The Night Strangler together on one DVD. Hopefully one day they'll release the series on DVD as well. A piece of TV History!!!!"

--Michael C.

 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey

Stars: Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Claude Akins

Released: January 11, 1972

Availability: DVD VHS


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