Review The Night Stalker (1972)

Doctor Omega

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The Night Stalker

Barry Atwater as Janos Skorzeny in The Night Stalker
Written by Richard Matheson(teleplay)
Jeffery Grant Rice (novel)
Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey
Starring Darren McGavin
Simon Oakland
Carol Lynley
Barry Atwater
Music by Bob Cobert
Country of origin United States
Production
Producer(s)
Dan Curtis
Cinematography Michel Hugo
Editor(s) Desmond Marquette
Running time 74 minutes
Release
Original network
ABC
Original release January 11, 1972
Chronology
Followed by
The Night Strangler
The Night Stalker
is a television film[1] which aired on ABC on January 11, 1972. In it an investigative reporter, played by Darren McGavin, comes to suspect that a serial killer in the Las Vegas area is in fact a vampire.

It was based on the then-unpublished novel by Jeff Rice titled The Kolchak Papers.[2] Rice said he wrote the novel because, "I'd always wanted to write a vampire story, but more because I wanted to write something that involved Las Vegas." Rice had difficulty finding a publisher willing to buy the manuscript until agent Rick Ray read the manuscript and realized the novel would make a good movie. The 1973 novel (renamed The Night Stalker) wasn't published until after the TV movie had already aired, and was delayed according to Rice because the publisher wanted both Rice's original novel and the 1974 sequel The Night Strangler (written by Rice but based on the screenplay by author Richard Matheson) so "they could be placed on the top of the publisher's list in the 1 and 2 positions for 1974."[3]

Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey (a veteran of theatrical and TV movies), adapted by Richard Matheson, and produced by Dan Curtis(best known at the time for Dark Shadows), The Night Stalker became ABC's highest rated original TV movie, earning a 33.2 rating and 54 share which was unheard of for an original TV movie at the time.[citation needed] The TV movie did so well it was released overseas as a theatrical movie and inspired a sequel TV movie titled The Night Strangler,[4] which aired in 1973, a single-season TV series of twenty episodes titled Kolchak: The Night Stalker which ran on ABC between 1974–75, and a short lived 2005 TV series called Night Stalker.

Actor Darren McGavin recalled that his involvement began when "My representatives called to say that ABC had purchased the rights to a book called The Kolchak Papers. They were into a kind of first draft of a script by Richard Matheson, and they called the agency to ask them if I’d be interested in doing it. My representative read it and called me." The popular TV movie, along with its sequel and the TV series, provided inspiration for Chris Carter's The X-Files.[5] Carter featured actor Darren McGavin in the show[5] as a tribute to the actor and the project that inspired his popular series.[citation needed] Originally Carter had wanted McGavin to play Kolchak, but the actor elected not to, so the role was rewritten, making McGavin's character Arthur Dales the "father of the X-files"


Cast



Full Cast List....

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067490/fullcredits/?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm



 

Doctor Omega

Moderator
Production

The film is based on an original unpublished novel written by Jeff Rice. The novel was subsequently published in paperback form after the movie aired. In the story, Las Vegasnewspaper reporter Carl Kolchak comes across a serial killer while working on the Las Vegas Strip who is a modern-day vampire named Janos Skorzeny. Pocket Books finally published the book as a paperback original using the title The Night Stalker, with a photograph of McGavin wearing his trademark porkpie hat and seersucker suit. While some location filming was done in and around Las Vegas, the majority of the filming was performed at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Subsequent history

The Night Stalker garnered the highest ratings of any TV movie at that time (33.2 rating - 54 share). That resulted in a 1973 follow-up movie called The Night Strangler and a planned 1974 movie titled The Night Killers which instead evolved into the 1974-75 television series titled Kolchak: The Night Stalker, with McGavin reprising his role in both. An episode of the series titled "The Vampire" was an actual sequel to this movie, deriving its story from characters introduced in it.

Following the series' cancellation, the franchise itself was still thought well enough of to prompt two more movies which were created by editing together material from 4 previous episodes of the series, with some additional narration provided by McGavin as Kolchak to help connect the plot lines. No new footage was included, however.

On September 29, 2005 ABC aired a remake of the 1974 series Kolchak: The Night Stalker, titled Night Stalker. ABC owned the rights to the original TV movies, but not the Universal TV series, and were limited only to using characters that had appeared in those movies.
 

Doctor Omega

Moderator
e popular TV movie, along with its sequel and the TV series, provided inspiration for Chris Carter's The X-Files.[5] Carter featured actor Darren McGavin in the show[5] as a tribute to the actor and the project that inspired his popular series.[citation needed] Originally Carter had wanted McGavin to play Kolchak, but the actor elected not to, so the role was rewritten, making McGavin's character Arthur Dales the "father of the X-files"


 
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