Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Darren McGavin as Kolchak
THE NIGHT STALKER (1972 telefilm). Drector: John Llewellyn Moxey. Written by Richard Matheson.

Reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin), hoping to get back to the big time of New York from Las Vegas, latches onto a story about women being found dead drained of every drop of blood, and runs with it, discovering that an actual vampire (Barry Atwater) is on the loose, leading to a tense climax in the bloodsucker's lair. This high-rated telefilm [a "Movie of the Week"] introduced Kolchak, who returned in a second telefilm, The Night Strangler, before getting his own series, which lasted one season. McGavin is fine, bolstered by performances from Carol Lynley as his girlfriend, Claude Akins as a cop, Kent Smith as the D.A., and Simon Oakland as Kolchak's belligerent boss, Vincenzo. Elisha Cook Jr. and Charles McGraw are also in the cast and are notable. An unlikely aspect of the plot is that Vincenzo wants to suppress the story, which makes no sense as he's in the business of selling newspapers, and a story of vampire killings would certainly garner a hell of a lot of attention!

Verdict: Entertaining time passer with a nifty premise. ***.


CavedogRob said...

For me this movie will always be a classic. It kind of came out of nowhere. I mean a movie of the week about a real vampire. An actual horror made for TV in the '70's. I never got over it! Lol!

William said...

I'm looking at the TV series right now -- only lasted 20 episodes but it was the X-Files of its day -- and will catch the sequel "The Night Strangler" sometime soon. There were a lot of made for TV horror jmovies back in the seventies, probably because "Night Stalker" did so well in the ratings.

Thanks for your comments!

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gavin when associated with the American Cancer Society. I went to his premier at the lot of his "A Christmas Story." He is a great guy. As fun off the stage as on. The TV shows were great. But, I saw most of them in reruns. PS He loves 1960's Mustangs.

William said...

A certain nice quality comes through about McGavin no matter what part he's playing so I'm not surprised he was likable off screen.

Would love to see again the old "Outsider" series he did even before he starred in "Night Stalker."

Thanks for your comments! William