|Darren McGavin as Kolchak|
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. ***.