Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Episode 1

The Night Stalker

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jan 11, 1972 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • A has been investigative reporter working in Las Vegas, Nevada stumbles across a serial killer stalking the world famous Las Vegas Strip.

    Darrin McGavin stars in this movie as a has been investigative reporter who is working in the desert city of Las Vegas, Nevada. After returning from vacation he is given an assignment in which all the women had their blood drawn out and he then suspects a Count Dracula Serial Killer is plying his trade on the Las Vegas Strip. Our hero carries a camera, tape recorder, wears a straw hat, bowling shoes and a seersucker and poplin suits. He suspects this vampire like killer much to the chagrin of cantankerous boss Anthony(aka Tony, Antonio) Vincenzo. He also has a girlfriend named Gail Foster(Carol Lynly) who tells him not to go on reporting this type of news and in the end winds up being booted out of Las Vegas.

    Both Darrin McGavin and Simon Oakland both appear in the sequel "The Night Strangler" and the subsiquant series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker".

    Guest stars include Larry Linville(Major Burns of M.A.S.H.), Claude Aikins, Kent Smith, Charles McGraw, Carol Lynly, Ralph Meeker, Jordan Rhodes,
  • Meet Carl Kolchak...

    Producer Dan Curtis says in the interview on the DVD that he has never come across a better horror script than "The Night Stalker." While this may be hyperbole on his part, it is telling that a TV movie almost 40 years old holds up today, and continues to entertain and scare.

    Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland have their characters nailed down from the moment they both walk on screen. Although their dynamic and relationship would change over the subsequent TV movie and the later series, Kolchak and Vincenzo are instantly real, identifiable characters and their clashes in the newsroom are a highlight.

    It's great to see McGavin's transformation over the course of the film, even his hair. His neatly combed hair is wild and disheveled by the end, and it tracks his transformation into the paranoid monster hunter we know and love.

    The mood is effective, with a nice use of music to underscore certain scenes and silence for others. By setting the action in a very real, everday setting, the thrills are increased. This isn't a fantasy world, and it hammers home Kolchak's point that the events of the story could happen anywhere.

    Supporting players include veterans Claude Akins, Larry Linville and Elisha Cook, Jr., and Carol Lynley offers very nice support as Carl's girlfriend.

    The series did not always match the high standard of this and the sequel movie, but it came close on several occasions. For 70s TV horror, "The Night Stalker" is still terrific entertainment.