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KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER (aka NIGHT STALKER), (key art), Darren McGavin, 1974-75

On January 11, 1974 I took the bus from Toronto to Hamilton, Ontario to visit my Mom and Dad.

At 7:30 pm as I was about to leave THE NIGHT STALKER came on TV.

I don’t watch a lot of television. I didn’t have a TV set at home in Toronto. I knew nothing about it except that the lead actor Darren McGavin was a favorite from MIKE HAMMER and THE RIVERBOAT.

The writer was Richard Matheson, a name I knew and valued. Within seconds I was riveted.

This was as close to Dracula in a modern day setting as we would ever get. Much that Bram Stoker had written about the power of vampires that rarely id ever got used in the movies was used here. Even the film’s structure using audio tape recordings hearkened back to way Stoker had written Dracula.

When the show finished about two hours later I thought that finally someone had made a vampire film right.

I immediately wished the film was available so I could include it in my programs.

A few years back THE NIGHT STALKER and its sequel THE NIGHT STRANGLER were released on DVD. I grabbed them up at once. I knew nothing about THE NIGHT STRANGLER. It was good. Not as good as THE NIGHT STALKER but then, that’s in a league by itself.

A lot of directors (including Steven Spielberg) owe their careers to Richard Matheson. He wrote screenplays that were almost director proof. They could still be messed up but, by God, you really had to work to do that.

Kino Lorber has release both films in deluxe Blu-ray editions replete with bonuses that are informative as well as fun.

I suggest you get them. Then invite some friends over. Don’t tell them what they are going to see. Just show them.

These films are absolutely first rate. There was a short lived follow-up TV series. It was the inspiration for THE X FILES.

The authorities in THE NIGHT STALKER won’t accept that a vampire is stalking Las Vegas because they fear such an admission will kill the life blood from which they draw their existence, the tourist trade. Thus they reveal themselves as the true vampires. They are bigger monsters than the monster they stalk.

Boy, am I happy to have these.–Reg Hartt 12/1/2018.




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