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JohnHopper

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“If by chance you happened to be in the Windy City between May 25 and May 29 of this year, you would have had good reason to be terrified. During this time Chicago was stalked by a horror so frightening, so fascinating, that it ranks with the great unsolved mysteries of all time. It's been the fictional subject of films, plays, even an opera. Now, here, are the true facts.”
—Carl Kolchak [voiceover intro] from “The Ripper”.

This is the only episode that depicts Kolchak taking the subway in Windy City.

 

JohnHopper

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Episode #2
“The Zombie”
written by Zekial Marko and David Chase
story by Zekial Marko
directed by Alex Grasshoff
produced by Paul Playdon
cinematography by Alric Edens
music by Gil Mellé
guests: Charles Aidman, Joseph Sirola, Val Bisoglio, J. Pat O’Malley, John Fiedler, Antonio Fargas, Scatman Crothers, Paulene Myers, Earl Faison, Carol Ann Susi, Ben Frommer, Roland Bob Harris


Carl Kolchak [voice-over]: “I got into the office before the other idiots arrived... and banged off my story and thought I’d heard the last of it.”

Item: It’s a very interesting yet convoluted, uncanny and morbid Film Noir/Syndicate episode that highlights the corruption of the police and combines two sociological worlds: the Italian gangsters (Benjamin Sposato’s organization/the Russo brothers) and the voodoo folklore through a high priestess. Lone wolf Kolchak is given a first-rate assignment by Tony under one condition: teaming up with a rookie (Monique) but things don’t go that way because Kolchak removes her twice in a car like a burden—see the killings of the Russo Brothers and Sposato—and the funniest scene about Monique remains Kolchak talking over the phone to two persons (threatening Tony and Gordy the Ghoul) at once, edited with quick cuts. The night truck scene with the threatened mafia accountant team that opens Act 1 is powerful and highly expressive and gives you the direction of the narrative. Director Alex Grasshoff never shows the zombie directly to the audience and instead plays with the shadowgraphs and the bodies of the victims (former boxing contender Willie Pike, the Russo brothers, mafia accountant Albert Berg, right-hand man Victor Friese, big shot Benjamin Sposato and his men) and also provides a composition trick for the Midtown garage reunion: both head gangsters are seen in profile through tyres which emulate the viewpoint of binoculars. Music-wise, Gil Mellé re-interprets the series theme by adding a layer of acid electric guitar: see the opening credits displayed in front of the aerial subway, Kolchak heading to Mamalois’ house and Kolchak driving to the night scene of the crime of Sposato’s gang.

Carl Kolchak [voice-over]: “That’s when I decided to pay a visit to the Monk. The Monk was of a lower order. He had never taken the vows of poverty or silence.”

Item: As in “The Ripper”, Kolchak picks one lucky number and explores another part of town—the South Side to meet the black numbers operators led by pimp style Bernard “Sweetstick” Weldon in a little shop and ends up beaten up because of his insane curiosity and, later on, witnesses a secret meeting in a garage between two types of ethnic gangsters and is spotted by the henchmen of Mr. S alias Sposato that he mistakenly calls Spinoza, like the philosopher—, is freed from the police station by Tony, he and Tony are annoyed by the passing subway, tails the foe to his lair and gets rid of it—Kolchak’s tailing by sticking to the back of a bus leads to the question of realism: how come a stiff and ugly zombie can enter a public bus and pays a ticket without stirring up trouble and how does Kolchak not arrest by the police? Black gangster Bernard “Sweetstick” Weldon is called by many names: The duke of the South Side numbers fiefdom in a Kolchak’s article and Licorice Stick by Sposato. From this adventure, David Chase introduces a recurring gimmick that encapsulates Kolchak’s inner flaw: his clumsiness during a crucial event (the Midtown garage reunion) through a detail that compromises his security and, here, the bad use of his tape recorder. The film editor achieves a very beautiful and long lap dissolve from the cemetery to the rooftop with the emergency flashing siren of an ambulance. The enigmatic character of The Monk remains my favorite informer of all who never come back because of the producer’s change. Contains the most gruesome night scene of the series: the slow procedure of sewing the zombie’s lips in the back of a car inside Moore’s Auto Graveyard. First episode in which the opening cast and crew credits are displayed in front of a high angle zoom shot of the city motorway nearby the Lake Michigan.

police head: Captain Leo Winwood (actor Charles Aidman) on the payroll of the mafia.
monster: a Haitian living-dead used as a hitman to crush spinal cords.
Tony’s tidbit: Tony is under the pressure of the New York office and forces Kolchak to team up with a greenhorn field reporter who is the niece of big shot Abe, The Smiling Cobra. Tony is also threatened by Captain Leo Winwood and orders him to kill the zombie article.
featuring: informer The Monk (actor Ben Frommer), Gordy the Ghoul (actor John Fiedler) and Monique.
 
Last edited:

JohnHopper

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The chapters menu from “The Zombie”.

2_zombie_.jpg
 

JohnHopper

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Carl Kolchak [voice-over]: “That’s when I decided to pay a visit to the Monk. The Monk was of a lower order. He had never taken the vows of poverty or silence.”

 

JohnHopper

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Kolchak drives into the night to meet the late Benjamin Sposato.

 

JohnHopper

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Carl Kolchak [voice-over]: “August 20, 2 AM. Another trip to the Monk. Immigration listed no known relatives for François Edmonds. But the Monk had his own listings. They included one Marie Juliette Edmonds. Also known as Mama Lois or—Mamalois.”

 

bmasters9

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From those voiceovers, could it be inferred that Kolchak was sort of a supernatural-style Dragnet for the 1970s on ABC?
 

Matt Hough

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"The Zombie" is one of the half dozen best episodes of the series. If the primary intention of the series is goosebumps, this one delivers. Also, I love any episode with Gordy the Ghoul.
 

JohnHopper

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Carl Kolchak [voice-over]: “I tried placing a number bet on the South Side, but none of the bookies would even touch me. The few bookies who would talk said that since I was a former François Edmond’s customer, I’d need something called ‘a lucky number’. Finally, I got an address.”

 

JohnHopper

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Music-wise, Gil Mellé re-interprets the series theme by adding a layer of acid electric guitar: see the opening credits displayed in front of the aerial subway, Kolchak heading to Mamalois’ house and Kolchak driving to the night scene of the crime of Sposato’s gang.

 

JohnHopper

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"The Zombie" is one of the half dozen best episodes of the series. If the primary intention of the series is goosebumps, this one delivers. Also, I love any episode with Gordy the Ghoul.

Gordy the Ghoul was the best supporting character ever. Too bad, he just appeared thrice.
 

AndyMcKinney

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"The Zombie" is one of the half dozen best episodes of the series. If the primary intention of the series is goosebumps, this one delivers. Also, I love any episode with Gordy the Ghoul.
"The Zombie" was the second-ever episode I had seen (first was "The Vampire"). It was "Zombie" that got me hooked! BTW, my first exposure to the show was the "CBS Late Movie" reruns circa 1986 (David Letterman: "it's not a movie!").
 

HenryDuBrow

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I'll be keeping my old DVD sets, as bad as they may be technically speaking, I just don't like the colors and the overall grading on this new BD release find there's a lack of primary variety and way too much distracting teal everywhere in the picture for my personal liking. Alas, was kind of looking forward to this and would've bought it but will ultimately be skipping this one, companies will just have to learn it the hard way sometimes. In my case, anyway.
 

bmasters9

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I'll be keeping my old DVD sets, as bad as they may be technically speaking, I just don't like the colors and the overall grading on this new BD release find there's a lack of primary variety and way too much distracting teal everywhere in the picture for my personal liking. Alas, was kind of looking forward to this and would've bought it but will ultimately be skipping this one, companies will just have to learn it the hard way sometimes. In my case, anyway.

Never knew that Kolchak used teal! I take it that was in some of the night scenes, for neon signs.
 

X-Man

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I'll be keeping my old DVD sets, as bad as they may be technically speaking, I just don't like the colors and the overall grading on this new BD release find there's a lack of primary variety and way too much distracting teal everywhere in the picture for my personal liking. Alas, was kind of looking forward to this and would've bought it but will ultimately be skipping this one, companies will just have to learn it the hard way sometimes. In my case, anyway.
Attach0_20211116_191708.gif
 

AndyMcKinney

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I never knew David Letterman said such a thing about the CBS Late Movie!

Yeah, when he was on Late Night (over at NBC). It was a shtick about seeing what's on one of the other networks right now, they'd read off the TV Guide description (or play a brief clip, I forget) and then shout to the camera "it's not a movie! It's just cheap reruns!"
 

Robert Saccone

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I'll be keeping my old DVD sets, as bad as they may be technically speaking, I just don't like the colors and the overall grading on this new BD release find there's a lack of primary variety and way too much distracting teal everywhere in the picture for my personal liking. Alas, was kind of looking forward to this and would've bought it but will ultimately be skipping this one, companies will just have to learn it the hard way sometimes. In my case, anyway.
In my case I find these Blu Rays to be such an improvement over the DVDs in every way. Better resolution, richer colors, and an improvement in the amount of grain (which I thought the DVDs had too much of probably due to the condition of the sources for those transfers).
 

HenryDuBrow

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Never knew that Kolchak used teal! I take it that was in some of the night scenes, for neon signs.
Well, it's everywhere actually like it is in modern day productions with uniformed drab colors. Basically, when watching a '70s TV (or film) production, I don't personally like to think I'm watching a current Hollywood production. This attention spoiling sort of (post production) fad takes the viewer out of the story you're trying to follow, turning the focus elsewhere and away from the narrative. It's just bad industry decisions and junk policy.
 

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