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Kolchak - The Night Stalker (1974)

Darrin McGavin , Scatman Crothers , Allen Baron  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (369 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Darrin McGavin, Scatman Crothers, James Gregory, Phil Silvers, Eric Braeden
  • Directors: Allen Baron
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 1854 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (369 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,750 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kolchak - The Night Stalker" on IMDb

Special Features

  • All 20 original episodes on three double sided discs

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the uniquely eerie mystery series that paved the way for The X-Files, comes to DVD for the first time with all 20 original one-hour episodes of the 1974-1975 series. Emmy nominee Darren McGavin stars as Carl Kolchak, a headstrong investigative reporter on the trail of the paranormal: zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, succubi and even aliens. No matter how unnatural or unbelievable, Kolchak is there to uncover the truth…one supernatural threat at a time. Join the hunt in the dark alleys and creepy hidden lairs of Chicago with such sensational guest stars as Scatman Crothers, Antonio Fargas, Sharon Farrell, Dick Van Patten, Jamie Farr, Larry Linville, Jim Backus and more. Kolchak: The Night Stalker is finally on DVD, digitally restored to capture every shiver every scream, and every bump in the night.

The acknowledged inspiration for The X-Files, and the basis for an updated 2005 network version, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was a short-lived 1974 series spun off from a pair of extremely popular made-for-TV movies about the supernatural adventures of dogged newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin). Though plagued by low ratings and critical brickbats, the show has cultivated a huge cult following over the past three decades, which has given rise to this three-disc set, which compiles all 20 episodes of the show. Though none of the episodic stories matches the suspense and writing strength of the Night Stalker or Night Strangler movies, TV horror fans will appreciate the parade of interesting and inventive monsters encountered by Kolchak (including a witches' coven in "The Trevi Collection"; an Aztec cult in "Legacy of Terror"; a Hindu Demon in "Horror in the Heights," which was penned by Hammer Films scribe Jimmy Sangster; and a headless biker in "Chopper," an episode deemed in extreme poor taste by Stephen King and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and Sopranos creator David Chase). McGavin is of course topnotch as Kolchak, and he's well-matched by Simon Oakland as his hot-tempered boss; guest stars include Scatman Crothers, James Gregory, Phil Silvers, Eric Braeden, Tom Skerritt, and Richard Kiel as the monster in two back-to-back episodes. Sadly, no extras accompany this fun collection of Kolchak's creepiest cases. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
321 of 332 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At long last the wait is over August 16, 2005
Before "The X-Files", Darren McGavin was reporter Carl Kolchak whose news stories would focus on the supernatural and science fiction aspects of a story. "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" only ran a short (it was only about 20 episodes)season on ABC. Although it lacked the creative fire power of the two TV movies (Producer/director Dan Curtis, director John Moxey and writer Richard Matheson were not involved with the series at all), the best episodes had a sharp sense of humor and a couple of young contributors that would make their mark elsewhere (the creative team behind "Back to the Future" and the writer-producer of "The Sopranos" were both contributors to the series). I realize that writer/creator Jeff Rice ended up suing Universal over the TV series but do wish that an interview with him or commentary tracks had been included.

Released to coincide with the new "The Night Stalker" TV series produced/written by Frank Spotnitz ("The X-Files", "The Lone Gunmen"), the series is bare bones when it comes to extras.. However, the episodes will be uncut which is a big plus for fans. Having had to suffer through versions burned from the Sci-Fi Channel broadcast, I'll be happy to finally have these sans commercial interruptions.

There's good and bad news about the format; all these are released in the dual layered, dual sided format. Because it requires a disc to be "pressed" four times instead of two, there's a higher chance of problems with the discs. Universal has, in the past, had a problem on occasion with the dual layered/dual sided DVDs freezing up (I recently had a problem with "McCloud" and others have had other problems). Hopefully they've solved the manufacturing snafu that caused this problem in the first place and this won't be a problem here.
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107 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First let me say that I have worked in the video industry, Broadcast, VHS Duplication and now DVD authoring and replication business for 15 years. I understand video and quality.

Secondly let me say that I love the Night Stalker Series and was anxious as hell to see it released some day on DVD.

The day that this set came out I bought it and that night started watching it.

Now the bad part: The quality of the film to video transfers are some of the worst I have seen. The light levels of the projection device were so low that all night scenes are so dark that nothing, absolutely nothing can be seen in some parts. Other parts are so dark that only vague shadows can be seen. I took the discs to work and scoped them out. The white and black levels are in acceptable ranges of 100% white and 7.5% for black. This is not the problem. The film to video transfer had insuficiencent projection level to resolve the images.

Night Stalker looks like a bad 1950's home movie transfer. In the first episode "The Ripper" there is an intense battle between the ripper and a squad of police. All kinds of action, jumping shooting and such is going on. I remember it well. On this collection you can't even see what is happening. I showed it to a video expert and friend who had never seen Night Stalker and asked him to tell me what he thought was going on in this scene. He was clueless, it was too dark to see.

Don't waste your money on this poor, poor cash in. Night Stalker deserves a real high level transfer and remastering, Universal is definitely not universal unless junk is how they define the universal standard. Record the reruns off the Sci Fi channel. These transfers are just fine and you can see everything quite well. Even with the cuts and commercials they are much more enjoyable than this terrible collection.

Big, big, big dissapointment...
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249 of 268 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars To have and have not October 19, 2005
Just for the record I want to make it clear that I am reviewing the DVD box set of the TV series 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker' unlike at least half of the other reviewers on these pages who have reviewed the original Telemovie.

As for my review, let me add my voice to the chorus in saying how wonderful it is to finally have all 20 episodes of the series on DVD. The show has been a favourite of mine since it's initial run in Australia, and has never lost its sparkle, largely due to excellent performances by the cast.

I'm not going to cover the actual content here, other reviews that were on the right subject have done that well enough.

I am VERY disappointed in the manner the series has been released. Universal needs to understand that double sided DVDs are a thing of the past. I hate them; they are difficult to look after, and due to the 4-pass process, more prone to failure.

Surely with the cost of media today, it would not have made a noticeable difference in cost to release these as single sided/dual layer discs. I know MGM released the Telemovies as a Flipper as well, but at least they cleaned up the source material and added some extras. A little effort was shown, unlike Universal's continuing stream of bare bones and 'near enough' attempts.

Picture quality is also of a dubious nature. OK, so the show is called 'The NIGHT Stalker', that doesn't mean you're not supposed see anything!!! The Ripper in the first episode virtually vanishes in his black suit in the dark, to the point where you don't know what's happening at times. Brightness and contrast have been adjusted so that information contained in these dark areas has 'blended together'. No amount of adjustment on your TV will let you see any more.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
I love this show, sure it's campy, but I remember being a kid and having my first TV (a tiny black and white) and this show would come on as I was going to bed. Awesome.
Published 1 day ago by Darryl A. Maine ll
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great old series
Published 2 days ago by Arthur Ferguson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Infinitely better than the remade series.
Published 2 days ago by Roe S. Clark IV
4.0 out of 5 stars I have now five (5) individual discs of four (4) movies per disc which...
I had no problem viewing the two-sided DVDs in this three (3) disc "Kolchak - The Night Stalker" collection. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Stanley Wu, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
cool movies
Published 3 days ago by hazel
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this show!
I was a fan of the show back in the 70's. For what it was and the time it came out, well, it was pretty entertaining. Not to mention I absolutely love Darren Mcgavin! Read more
Published 4 days ago by Brenda Nelms
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 days ago by jason herzog / lori herzog
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite TV series of all time
This is, by far, my favorite TV series of all time.
Published 18 days ago by Martin Deanda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great dvds thanks
Published 18 days ago by sarah t.
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Thriller!!
With this series from back in the 70's it reminds me of the little we had in the 20th century. The old time horror is fantastic and it brings back memories when I was a child... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Michael Sorrentino
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