Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Night Stalker (1972)

I don't often say this, but sometimes television gets it right.  Usually when we hear the words "made for TV movie" we envision an sappy after school special with a moral lesson attached to it.  Or we think of a film that was not good enough to cut it on the big screen.  The Night Stalker is neither of these.  In fact, it spawned one of the best horror TV series of all time.  The movie that started it all is a highly original take on the crime drama genre with elements of horror and a central character that is a reporter rather than a cop.  Darren McGaven, who also played the father in A Christmas Story, is near perfect as Carl Kolchak.  He's flawed, determined, ambitious and altogether human.  I love what he does with this character and it's easy to see why the audience wanted more.
The movie centers on a series of murders that are happening in the city of Las Vegas.  The cops seem clueless as to who is behind these murders but Kolchak figures out it is a vampire and spend the rest of the movie trying to convince the cops he's right.  The Night Stalker also has quite a bit of humor thrown in for good measure.  It's not the slapstick kind of humor found in Evil Dead.  It's the humor that flows from ridiculous and frustrating life experiences.  McGaven delivers it completely deadpan and it works for him.
The good news is that the movie and the TV series can now be streamed on Netflix.  The boxed set is a bit pricey so it's nice that The Night stalker can be seen by a wider audience.  I remember watching the TV series as a kid and it scared the crap out of me...but I never missed an episode.  Watching The Night Stalker as an adult makes me appreciate how well made the TV series and movie are in terms of script writing and acting.  Nicely done.
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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