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Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Season 1 Episode 11

Horror in the Heights

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Unknown on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
42 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The elderly residents of Roosevelt Heights are dying, stripped to the bone by rats. Investigating, Carl discovers a far more sinister possibility, and realizes that unless someone finds and stops this menace, a lot more people are going to die. And when he realizes he can't even be sure who to trust, things get even more dangerous...moreless

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  • Paulcornelius is partially right. Most of today's teenage viewers would quickly change channels out of jaded boredom. Strictly speaking, though, the only true reality show on TV is the 6PM news!moreless

    As for this episode having no humor? I have to disagree. A prime example would be Kolchak's interview of the first victim's fellow poker players. Ned Glass, who had appeared two weeks earlier on "The Spanish Moss Murders," makes a reference to one of Kolchak's con jobs in that previous ep.

    JOE: "Hey! Didn't you used to work for the Health Department?"

    KOLCHAK: "Oh, no! You must've mistaken me for my cousin."

    In addition, Phil Silvers--who played the ill-fated Harry Starman--was a veteran comic actor! During the Golden Age of TV, he played the delightfully larcenous Sergeant Bilko on "You'll Never Get Rich." And, in the circa 1964 comedy classic "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (loosely remade, years later, as "Rat Race"), he played the greedy tourist who double-crossed Jonathan Winters en route to that cache of stolen bank money.

    So, I can't imagine him having NOTHING humorous to say prior to his character's death scene! It would have been uncharacteristic--to the point of blasphemy--of both him and the episode's writers.moreless
  • Probably the darkest of all the episodes

    This episode is perhaps the darkest--and least comedic--of all the Kolchak episodes. Correspondingly, it diverts from the established structural device of allowing the creatures in each episode to feast on the young, attractive, and affluent. In "Horror in the Heights", the victims are aged Jews, retired and impoverished. Whereas the victims in earlier episodes in some way or another contributed to their own deaths--through stupidity, lust, avarice, or hubris--the victims in the "Heights" are totally innocent, their greatest crime being participating in a penny ante poker game.

    And all this is what makes Kolchack: The Night Stalker such a special TV series. Can you imagine a storyline in the shows offered over today's major networks focusing on the murder of elderly Jews and whose only hope for the salvation of the community comes from an 80 year-old Hindu? The core group of 19 year-old nitwits today's TV execs cater to (not that there are no intelligent 19 year-olds; it's just that the networks don't care about them) would be changing the channel as fast as possible to a reality series.moreless
  • Classic Kolchak: bucking authority, sussing out a supernatural menace, and finally ending it.

    Kolchak, whose police scanner interceptions often lead him to grisly murders, comes upon the law investigating an elderly man apparently devoured by rats. But Kolchak himself smells a rat. Soon enough, his investigative skills come into play, as he realizes that rats aren\'t the problem at all. Swastikas in a Jewish neighborhood lead him to an elderly man who calls him a \"rakshasa\". From there, an Indian exhibit reveals more, and he soon pieces together the truth: a flesh eating demon with an special ability is the culprit.

    It\'s that special ability: the ability to discern who the victim trusts and to project that image, that makes this particular monster so unsettling. We never even see it as it really is until quite near the end of the show; WE know that people greeting old friends are about to meet a horrific end, and we want to yell at them to run! That\'s where the show succeeds: by making the ordinary person horrible.

    Ultimately, Kolchak triumphs, as he always does. But this time, he almost doesn\'t. He knows that the person approaching is not who it appears to be, and yet... and yet... he almost doesn\'t shoot in time. Always cynical Carl Kolchak has a soft spot for someone, and it very nearly costs him his life. That tension, right up to the end, makes this a stand out episode.moreless
Phil Silvers

Phil Silvers

Harry Starman

Guest Star

Ned Glass

Ned Glass


Guest Star

Benny Rubin

Benny Rubin

Julius "Buck" Fineman

Guest Star

Jack Grinnage

Jack Grinnage

Ron Updyke

Recurring Role

Ruth McDevitt

Ruth McDevitt

Emily Cowles

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • At the beginning of the episode, we see an exterior shot of Carl's Mustang driving with the top up. We cut to an interior shot and the top is down.

    • Right after Carl shoots "Emily," the outline of the block to which the bolt is attached is clearly visible through her dress.

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Kolchak: (opening monologue) There are sections of Chicago the guidebooks don't refer to. You can't blame them, really. The guidebooks' function is to sell the glamour and excitement of our Windy City, and whichever way you dress it up, old age is neither glamorous, nor exciting. Roosevelt Heights used to be a plush neighborhood, but the plush neighbors moved uptown, leaving the old people. And old people don't move easily; they become set in their surroundings. Their friends live next door, they've been going to the same store for twenty-five years, and probably most important of all, they can't afford to relocate even if they wanted to. The battle of fixed income versus galloping inflation never ends. But even inflation took a backseat here in Roosevelt Heights, as a far greater fear overtook the residents, a terror which effectively dwarfed everything else.

    • Kolchak: Son, I've seen more dead bodies than you've had TV dinners.

    • Kolchak: We all have rats, sir. You should see the one I work for.

    • Vincenzo: Indians, swastikas, Norman Conquest. Am I supposed to see God's design in all this?

    • Kolchak: The rakshasa have magical powers. They seduce the victim to death by taking on the image of someone the victim trusts.
      Vincenzo: And poor Harry Starman…he trusted you? Obviously he never hadda depend on you to come up with a cogent story – something that'll turn a profit!

    • Lane Merriott: Well, the rakshasa is a disciple of Ravana. Ravana, whose teeth were so horrible they stopped the sun and the moon in their course.
      Kolchak: You know, I had a date with a girl in college just like that once.
      Lane Merriott: Mr. Kolchak! I value my time. If it's your intention merely to be a music hall wag, please state so.

    • Kolchak: I'm trying to find out something about a creature named a raka…rakashusi…rakalaki…rakasomething. I didn't hear it too well.
      Lane Merriott: There are a plethora of Indian words beginning with those syllables.
      Kolchak: Well, this "rak" takes pleasure in eating human flesh.
      Lane Merriott: (nervously, as other customers look around) You're talking about the rakshasa!

    • (about the old restaurant owner)
      Waiter: It's crazy. But he's like that. Lemme tell you something. I saw him talking to one of these old neighborhood guys, right? You know what he asks? He asks, does the old guy ever see any of his friends or relatives, hanging around…at night? The old guy tells him all his friends and relatives are dead. So you know what the boss says? The boss says it doesn't make any difference if they're dead or not…does he see them? Now that's crazy, right?

  • NOTES (1)