31 Horror Films #25: The Night Stalker 1972 Dir. John Llewellyn Moxey

Last year I did a series of daily micro blogs going through the history of horror films by year. This was meant to give people an example of the high points of the genre. This year I'll be doing the same thing, but going off the beaten path to provide some films you may not have heard of. These films may not be up your alley, but they're all interesting.

The Night Stalker 1972 Dir. John Llewellyn Moxey

Women are being murdered in Las Vegas, their bodies discovered completely drained of blood. Everyone seems oblivious to the oddity of such murders, everyone except Carl Kolchak. Based off of a then unpublished novel called “The Kolchak Papers”, with a teleplay written by Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone, I Am Legend), this ABC Movie of the Week introduced audiences to modern television horror when it first aired in 1972. The film’s hero, Carl Kolchak is a fun but sleazy newspaper reporter, and skeptically leads us through the neon streets of 1970s Las Vegas in search of a murderer with a penchant for drinking human blood. This was a departure from the television fare at the time and consequently garnered the best rating ever for a television movie at that time. The success of the movie spawned a sequel a year later called The Night Strangler as well as a short lived series titled Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The character of Kolchak, and his series of films, inspired Chris Carter to create The X-Files, and wanted the character of. It's also likely that the success of this film, led to later horror mini series including Tobe Hooper's adaptations of Stephen King's Salem's Lot in 1979. Though this TV movie is dated, it's still a great deal of fun. Darren McGavin is a blast to watch as Carl Kolchak. You just can't help but root for the persistent slime-ball. It should also be noted that there are some great horror moments in this film, especially in the final showdown between Kolchak and the vampire. The Night Stalker paved the way for modern television horror, if you enjoy shows like Supernatural, True Blood and Sleepy Hollow, you can thank Carl Kolchak.

Watch part 1 of the movie HERE