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Pre-Order The Night Stalker (1972) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder (1 Viewer)

Ronald Epstein

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Radioman970

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Scary scary scary1! I paid more for a pirate of the show on ebay and to the real copy I got from wallys. :( wishlisting...

uuuuuuuuhhh, wishlisted Mister Zombie's Neighborhoods too... :eek:
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Jack P

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Great transfer but (1) the year is wrong in the booklet. It says 1974 instead of 1972 and (2) I shut the commentary off after about 10 minutes as I found it was turning into a pretentious bit of excess commentary on things that have nothing to do with why the film has always been enjoyable to me and that any production details were largely going to be cribbed from Mark Dawidziak's book which I already own.
 

Bob Gu

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And what does the cover artist have against Kolchak's seersucker jacket?
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Matt Hough

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I watched this today. What a glorious Blu-ray transfer! Made the movie look almost brand new. As I did with Strangler, I zoomed the picture a bit to give it more the appearance of a feature film to no ill effect. I had forgotten what a marvelous supporting cast this movie had: Ralph Meeker, Larry Linville, Kent Smith, Claude Akins, Elisha Cook, Jr.
 

JoeStemme

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The TV-movie that started the Kolchak franchise, which, somehow, I'd missed all these years. Going back now, it's hard to put the series out of mind when watching this initial film (another TV movie, The Night Strangler, came before it went to series).

Happy to say, it holds up quite well. Richard Matheson's script cleverly uses Las Vegas as the backdrop for a story about Vampires - The City That Never Sleeps! Darren McGavin's Kolchak is more virile here than the fuddy duddy he played on the weekly show. He has a pretty girlfriend (Carol Lynley) - even going shirtless. He doesn't back down to the law as easily, nor to his boss (Simon Oakland). And, in the end, goes toe to toe with the title character (an imposing Barry Atwater).


Back in this era, the networks would program a good number of tele-films in 90 minute time slots, so the actual running time is 74 minutes (about 20 minutes longer than a typical episode). Here, most of that added time is given over to the Lynley scenes, as well as, perhaps one too many, press conferences.


What distinguishes this movie from the series are the fairly elaborate stunts. The hospital sequence in particular is feature film level (Producer Dan Curtis later said he wished he had released this to theaters). Without dialogue, Atwater manages to be a truly frightening beast. Some of his strengths may be a bit exaggerated, but not overly so.

The climax is suspenseful and makes a nice nod to the Hammer classic HORROR OF DRACULA. And, who wouldn't want a Kolchak vampire hunting bag??

In retrospect, it's too bad that Kolchak became a weekly show. The Monster Of The Week format got old pretty fast and even at 20 episodes they quickly started having to come up with some pretty silly creatures to face. As this and the sequel film show, a series of TV movies well spaced out would have been a better plan (something like Columbo but with even fewer episodes per season).
 

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