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

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland

THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1973). Producer/director: Dan Curtis. Written by Richard Matheson.

Reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) from The Night Stalker is back, this time working with old boss and nemesis Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland) on a paper in Seattle. More women are being murdered, and Kolchak discovers these type of killings have been occurring every twenty years since the 19th century. There's a hideous, sinister figure who lives in the ruins of Old Seattle underneath the city proper. The best scenes take place in this very eerie under-earth atmosphere. McGavin and Oakland are perfect, and they get fine support from the likes of Jo Ann Pflug [one of the worst names in show business] as a dancer; Wally Cox as a researcher; Margaret Hamilton as a professor of the arcane; Scott Brady as a cop; Al Lewis as a derelict in the underground; and John Carradine as a publisher. Nina Wayne is fun as a dopey stripper whose lover is a butch lesbian stereotype apparently added for dumb comic relief. Richard Anderson is also good in an unusual and pivotal role. This is basically a variation of The Man in Half Moon Street and The Man Who Could Cheat Death. Superior to The Night Stalker, this telefilm was successful enough to get Kolchak his own series.

Verdict: Love that Old Seattle! ***.

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