The Night Stalker

ABC Circle Films

Mystery Horror Thriller
74 min     6.9     1972     USA


Wisecracking reporter Carl Kolchak investigates a string of gruesome murders in Las Vegas. It seems that each victim has been bitten in the neck and drained of all their blood. Kolchak is sure that it is a vampire. He's hot on the trail, but nobody believes him. His editor thinks he's nuts and the police think he's a hindrance in the investigation, so Kolchak takes matters into his own hand.


John Chard wrote:
Judge for yourself its believability and then try to tell yourself, wherever you may be, it couldn't happen here. Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) is a cynical and brusk Los Angeles newspaper reporter who comes to believe the activities of a serial killer are in fact - those of a modern day vampire! 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
Wuchak wrote:
A formidable vampire is on the loose in Las Vegas RELEASED TO TV IN EARLY 1972 and directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, "The Night Stalker" chronicles events in Las Vegas when the bodies of several young women are found drained of blood. Intrepid reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) increasingly suspects that something supernatural is at foot, which his bellowing boss finds incredulous (Simon Oakland), as well as city authorities (Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins & Kent Smith). Elisha Cook Jr is on hand as an informant while Barry Atwater plays Janos Skorzeny. “The Night Stalker” was a hugely successful TV movie, which naturally led to a sequel, “The Night Strangler” (1973), and a series that ran for one season from 1974-1975 (20 episodes), not to mention numerous Kolchak books. This original movie was the best of the batch with “The Night Strangler” almost as good and even better in some ways. Both movies established the template (formula) for all that followed. What makes this movie “the best of the batch”? Answer: The streamlined story is full of intrigue, action, ravishing women, horror and suspense; and the jazzy score doesn’t hurt. As far as the women go, lovely Carol Lynley is on hand as Kolchak’s babe, but not enough is done with her. Nevertheless, there are 3-4 peripheral beauties. The sequel flick and the first episode “The Ripper” followed this pilot’s lead in the female department, but the rest of the series was rather weak on this front. Since this is a TV flick from the early 70s don’t expect a much gore. THE MOVIE RUNS 1 hour 14 minutes and was shot in Las Vegas with studio work done at Universal Studios & Samuel Goldwyn Studios, CA. WRITER: Richard Matheson (teleplay) & Jeffrey Grant Rice (story). GRADE: A-