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Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Season 1 Episode 9

The Spanish Moss Murders

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Dec 06, 1974 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
47 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A series of deaths have nothing in common, except that each victim's chest was crushed, and Spanish Moss was found on or near each. Probing the murders, Carl eventually discovers a link: each victim was somehow related to Paul Langois, a hot-tempered Cajun. However, Langois has an iron-clad alibi: he's been asleep for several weeks!


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  • When I first heard the name of this episode's monster, I mentally pictured the spelling as "Paramount Fay!"

    I give this episode a slightly higher classification, than my fellow reviewer, soley because of Richard Kiel. One week after portraying the Diablero, he puts on a costume made of (prosthetic?) seaweed, and portrays a bogeyman out of Cajun folklore!*

    My older brother watched this, with me, at the time it first aired. And, I semi-rhetorically asked him, in astonished admiration: "How do they so much research on this stuff, so fast?"

    You see, back then, I had never heard of videotape delay.

    Within a year of the series cancellation, I came to the conclusion that the writers had just made up this particuliar monster. Imagine my surprise, then, when I tuned into the syndicated Leonard Nimoy series "In Search Of...," roughly two years later. The ep I watched dealt with a creature called the Honey Island Swamp Monster. Sort of an amphibious Bigfoot...reputedly native to the bayous of Louisiana.

    Insert "Twilight Zone" theme song, here!

    Could "Kolchak's" writers have been better researchers than we were led to believe? As Carl, himself, might have said: "That, dear reader, I leave up to you."

    *Yes; "bogeyman" is the correct spelling.

  • In this episode, Kolchak investigates people murdered by having their chests crushed. As he investigates, he discovers that it fits with the legend of a boogeyman from the swamps of Lousiana.moreless

    The idea of dream study fit really well with this story. Like every episode, Kolchak puts the pieces together to find the cause of the murders. It is only by chance that he finds out the story of Peremalfait from the little guy he interviews. After the dreamer dies, Kolchak assumes that the monster won't come after him. But, when he finds Spanish moss in his desk, he knows that it is still alive. The only thing is how did Kolchak know which part of the city sewers to look for the monster? As soon as he gets down into one, he finds it. I find that really unlikely. Maybe if he found a pattern to where the murders took place, or maybe it was near where the sleep study took place? Regardless, this was an entertaining episode. I recommend it for people who remember the boogeyman from their childhood.moreless
Keenan Wynn

Keenan Wynn

Captain Joe "Mad Dog" Siska

Guest Star

Severn Darden

Severn Darden

Dr. Aaron Pollack

Guest Star

Randy Boone

Randy Boone

Jean the Fiddler

Guest Star

Jack Grinnage

Jack Grinnage

Ron Updyke

Recurring Role

Ruth McDevitt

Ruth McDevitt

Emily Cowles

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Trivia: Despite all of the unearthly foes he's faced, Kolchak admits in one of his voiceovers that the one thing he fears more than anything is a dentist appointment.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Carl: (opening narration) Maybe you have to brush with death before you can really reflect on life - on the people and times that really meant something to you, like childhood, dreams of sailing on silver seas and wooden shoes, visions of sugar plums dancing. Silver seas, sugar plums. The visions, the nightmares of a child are perhaps the most frightening and horrifying. Some people who were in Chicago during the first stifling hot weeks of July would say that were so...if they were still alive.

    • Kolchak: The chef was put on a level with Debussy and Gaugain, but now he'd been murdered, and he looked just as dead as any short-order cook in any greasy spoon.

    • Pepe LaRue: Did I come to Chicago in '38 to uh...dance on the street? No. I came to get into organized crime.
      Kolchak: Were you successful?
      Pepe LaRue: No, I didn't make the height requirement. But I learned some things from those guys. Like, don't give information to somebody who might really have dark blue underwear and a badge.

    • Kolchak: I'd lived in the city a long time, but I'd never been to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Maybe it was my hay fever or maybe a premonition of boredom that kept me away. Whatever it was, the subject of plant life was now beginning to take on a strong and macabre interest.

    • Siska: Kolchak, you're really starting to...BUG me!

    • (seeing a typical Carl poorly-shot photo of the monster)
      Vincenzo: What is that, Salvador Dali's bar mitzhvah?

    • Kolchak: What happened to "I'm okay, you're okay"?
      Siska: Well, to tell you the truth, you're not okay. The people in group therapy didn't tell me I was ever going to meet somebody as un-okay as you are.

    • Vincenzo: You should have been there, Carl. My speech got a standing ovation...
      Kolchak: You cut it short, didn't you?

    • Kolchak: How could it possibly happen? Well, they say that the mystics of India, while in a trance, can grow back severed fingers and move boulders with the power of their mind. It's documented. Somehow, Paul Langois, in his special dream state, did even more than that. He created a palpable horror.

  • NOTES (2)

    • The creature's name is "Peremalfait". In French "Pere" means Father. "Malfait" means "evil-doer." The literal translation is "Father Evil-Doer." The Cajun French equivalent to the American "Bogey-Man."

    • The script identifes the creature's name as "Peremalfait" but some newspaper TV listings at the time spelled it "Pelemafait." It's hard to tell but it seems like everyone pronounces it like the latter spelling (with no "r").


    • Debussy and Gauguin
      Carl compares the chef of French restaurant Chez Voltaire to these two men. Claude Achille Debussy was a French impressionist composer who lived in the nineteenth and very early twentieth centuries; Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (usually just Paul Gauguin) was a French post-impressionist painter who lived mostly in the nineteenth century. Both men were French, both men were, and still are, regarded as leading lights in their respective fields.