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, October 1, 2011

The Night Strangler (1973)

Sometimes TV gets it right.  Case in point, The Night Strangler which was the follow up movie to the successful The Night Stalker which also spawned the TV series of the same name.  I absolutely love Darren McGavin's portrayal of Carl Kolchak, a news reporter that is a combination of a 1940's film noir detective and 1970's modern man with a healthy side of great comedic timing.  Especially delightful are his conversations with his boss Tony Vincenzo, played brilliantly by Simon Oakland.  The two of them are absolutely perfect together.  Throw in cameos by John Carradine, Margaret Hamilton [The Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz], Wally Cox [The Hollywood Squares]  and Al Lewis [Grandpa Munster] and you have a recipe for success.
While the original film is great, The Night Strangler is even better.  The screenplay by Richard Matheson [I Am Legend] is solid through and through.  The scenes in Seattle's underground are spectacularly moody and atmospheric.  They are lit to perfection and the long periods of silence where Kolchak wanders through them searching for the killer are tense and foreboding.  The killer is also much better than the vampire in the first movie.
I guess you can tell I'm a Night Stalker fan.  It thrilled me as a kid and it still thrills me today.  This one is a keeper and reminds us horror fans that the early seventies weren't always awash in bell bottoms and psychedelic mushroom trips.  Sometimes they gave birth to smart and scary filmmaking on the small screen as well as the big one.
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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