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The Night Stalker (1971)


No Reviews Yet...

Release Date: Jun 1, 1971 Wide



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 369

My Rating

Movie Info

Seedy newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) is assigned the Las Vegas police beat by his boss Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland). A series of murders has been plaguing the Glitter Capital; the victims, all beautiful showgirls, have had the blood drained from their bodies. Kolchak can't understand why the authorities are so uncooperative as he probes the case. Nor can he believe the evidence he's gleaned on his own: There can't possibly be a Dracula-like vampire stalking Las Vegas, or can


Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Sep 10, 1996

MCA Universal Home Video

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Latest News on The Night Stalker

April 26, 2006:
"I Am Legend" -- Finally!
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All Critics (7) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1) | DVD (3)

Love this campy retro-stuff!

July 15, 2004
Blunt Review

Darren McGavin is delicious in bringing his character to life as the wisecracking reporter, who has a nose for trouble, truth and film legend.

February 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Top-notch vampire story and newspaper comedy that spawned a top-notch sequel and series.

November 24, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

One of the scarier made-for-TV movies.

November 1, 2002
Lawrence Journal-World

Audience Reviews for The Night Stalker

When a skeptical reporter named Carl Kolchak gets involved in covering a murder spree in Las Vegas he ends up with more than he bargained for. His hopes for getting a huge story that will propel him back to the "big time" in New York City seems to happening for him as the bloodless bodies start to pile up around the Vegas strip. After continually butting heads with the local authorities, after he figures out that there must be an actual vampire stalking the streets, they finally give in. Kolchak helps them to track down and kill the creature, but doesn't get his big story. They double cross him and threaten to throw him in jail for murder (he staked the vampire himself) if he even thinks about publishing the story. Not only that but they run him and his girlfriend out of town as undesirables!
It surprises me how many horror fans aren't even aware of the Kolchak movies and the TV series that they spawned. The story is very well written and paced nicely, which shouldn't be a surprise. Genre and TV veteran Richard Matheson is credited with writing the screenplay for the movie. The vampire story is a cool combination of classic (super strength, afraid of crosses, and of course the stake in the heart) and contemporary (using his mental powers on a used car salesman, robbing blood banks). The television movie also does a great job of building tension and paying it off with a couple of "jump" scares that work. Plus I can't say enough about what a great idea the Las Vegas setting is. I mean where would any modern day vampire want to hang out at more than Vegas. What can you say about a cast that is headlined by the wonderful and always great Darrin McGavin. Not only is he great in the role, but he really makes it his own! His performance as the headstrong, grouchy, reporter is the heart of the show and why it succeeded (and why the heartless redo failed!). The rest of the cast is filled out with TV and genre regulars like Larry Linville, Simon Oakland, Claude Akins, and the great Elisha Cook Jr. This strong supporting cast only makes the movie that much better and more enjoyable.
This is a network movie of the early 70s and looks like it. Shot on film like a low budget movie it captures the flashy colors of the Vegas Strip and the dark shadows of Vegas's back alleys equally well. A modern audience might notice the lack of gore and effects, but this was shot for television and is more about the story and characters, so cut it some slack. There are several well-done fight scenes between the police and the vampire, particularly one outside a hospital that is pretty damn cool.
Bottom line for me is that this is a classic. When it comes to horror that was shot for TV it just doesn't get any better than Kolchak the Night Stalker. Highly recommended
June 20, 2011
David Ladd

Super Reviewer

Well done film that spawned a sequel and a television series.
September 29, 2008

Super Reviewer

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