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The Night Stalker [Blu-ray]
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BRAND NEW HD RESTORATION IN 4K! An investigative journalist takes a stab at the supernatural. This unforgettable first entry in the Night Stalker series introduced the world to the quirky reporter with a penchant for the paranormal and became one of the top-rated TV movies of all time. Investigating a series of Las Vegas murders, Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin, The Night Strangler) discovers that each victim has been bitten in the neck and drained of blood. Though Kolchak's outlandish theory about the murders gets him nowhere with the police, his initiative to apprehend the killer himself gets him into hot water... with a modern-day vampire. The great John Llewellyn Moxey (Nightmare in Badham County) directed this Dan Curtis (Burnt Offerings) production featuring Carol Lynley (The Poseidon Adventure), Simon Oakland (The Hunting Party), Ralph Meeker (Big House, U.S.A.), Claude Akins (A Man Called Sledge), Charles McGraw (The Narrow Margin), Kent Smith (The Spiral Staircase), Elisha Cook Jr. (I Wake Up Screaming) and Larry Linville (TV’s M*A*S*H). Teleplay by legendary sci-fi/horror writer Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man).
-Brand New 4K Restoration
-NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas
-NEW Interview with Director John Llewellyn Moxey
-NEW Interview with Composer Bob Cobert
-"The Night Stalker: Dan Curtis Interview" featurette
-Limited Edition Booklet essay by Film critic and author Simon Abrams
-Newly Commissioned Art by Sean Phillips
-Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase
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As for the film itself... For a while, this 1972 TV movie was the most watched program in television history. A well made story of a fallen from grace reporter (Darren McGavin) who comes to believe a series of murders in Las Vegas are being committed by an actual vampire (a creepy Barry Atwater). As the authorities (led by movie and TV vet Claude Akins) are in denial, reporter Carl Kolchak decides to confront and destroy the undead fiend himself, if the bloodthirsty Janos Skorzeny doesn’t kill him first.
A solid horror thriller for a TV movie and a strong characterization from Christmas Story dad, McGavin as Kolchak. There is very little blood as it was made for TV, but director John Llewellyn Moxey (Horror Hotel) directs from legendary writer Richard Matheson’s script based on the book, ‘The Kolchak Papers’ by Jeff Rice and makes up for it by providing a healthy dose of thrills and chills and takes the proceedings very serious which makes it all work. The Night Stalker is considered a classic by many and it spawned a decent sequel, Night Strangler, before becoming a TV series that sadly took a campy approach to the supernatural stories and the Kolchak character. Said to have been the inspiration for The X-Files (which returned the favor by having McGavin guest star in 2 episodes as an agent.). Also starring Simon Oakland as Kolchak’s long suffering boss, Tony Vencenzo who would also join McGavin in the sequel and the short lived series. I am proud to say I watched this the night it first aired and it scared the heck out of my 7 year-old self!
Just as entertaining as ever, the low budget made-for-TV flick plays it for self-deprecating laughs and genuine chills instead of big blood and gore set pieces, although there are some pretty good special effects that hold up well. The vampire himself looks particularly menacing in some shots and it’s fun watching bullets bounce off him as he scatters LVPD patrolmen around like bowling pins.
Highly recommended, like Kolchak himself this is a relic, a diamond in the rough - and very much a product of its time.
They really have great cast for the movie with many excellent character actors. The co-stars include Carol Lynley, who was a common 70s guest star as the girl next door type, Claude Akins, Elisha Cook, Simon Oakland, Larry Linville.
It has a good story of girls on the Vegas strip mysteriously found dead with large blood loss. Of course, Kolchak immediately suspects it is a vampire. Entertaining story line.
The film is set in Vegas, and it does look like they at least shot some scenes on the Vegas strip. It ties a little into the series where one of the early episodes talked about a vampire coming from Vegas to Los Angeles.
I have been a longtime fan of the 2 movies and the short lived series. Darren McGavin stars as Kolchak, an investigative reporter out to uncover the truth in odd, bizarre stories. He uncovers an incredible story in Las Vegas as it seems a "vampire" like individual is committing a series of murders. What's outlandish at first turns into reality as Kolchak comes face to face with the undead creature in his vary lair.
The movie looks really good here in HD Blu-ray as it has undergone a New HD Restoration in 4K. Made for TV in 1972, it still holds up pretty well after all these years. It is flawless in picture quality as I played it back on the Sony 4K player and Ultra 4K TV. Sound is quite good as well. The Menu has easy selections.
There are several special features, interviews, audio commentary, booklet, and a nicely done slipcover!
Top international reviews
It spawned a sequel and a TV series, such was the impact of this better than average TV horror movie. It's a film of many delights, full of rich and quirky characters, who come to life as the screenplay enjoys toying with audience expectations. Nicely photographed as well, there's a lot of love gone into bringing this to the screen. The great Richard Matheson adapts from a Jeffrey Rice story, while a roll call of excellent character actors of the 40s and 50s give stoic support to the magnetic and witty McGavin.
Not as scary these days as it would have been to impressionable viewers back in 72, it's none the less a horror antique to cherish. 7/10
Spanish release has nice crisp picture. For English audio select Version Originale.
as described the cover is foriegn but it is in english when played well worth the money.
Airing as a 90-minute movie of the week (74 after you deduct the commercials), The Night Stalker is one of the most effective vampire movies ever made. It is fresh and original even now - fifty years later.
Kolchak has become a horror icon thanks to McGavin's bristly performance and a unique, filmic approach to shooting that was decades ahead of its time.
Darren McGavin is at his best and will be rememered for this.
The official most have before buying the series.