Before the TV series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" premiered in 1974, there were two Kolchak movies made for TV, "The Night Stalker" in 1972, and then, "The Night Strangler" in 1973.
Welcome to the Wild Wednesday version of life in The Dungeon.
It doesn't take a lot of thought to know this film was shot in Las Vegas!
"The Night Stalker" is very similar to the first episode of "Kolchak: The Night Stalker." A lot of women are being murdered on a regular basis, but the big difference is that instead of Jack The Ripper, the culprit in this story is a real-life vampire.
Lucky Carl Kolchak, he has a beautiful girlfriend named Gail Foster, and she's played by lovely Carol Lynley who was exactly 20 years younger than Darren McGavin.
"Why can't I figure this out?"
The dead bodies just keep piling up, and nobody wants to hear about Kolchak's vampire theories.
"The Night Stalker" has a great cast that includes Claude Akin there in the middle as Sheriff Butcher. Claude Akin probably played more Sheriff's than almost anybody in his career, including Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo. He was also in two episodes of "The Twilight Zone," "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street," and "The Little People."
Kolchak has a tendency to get frustrated and take it out on himself!
How often do you get to see two guys that played the same character in their careers acting together? Well, that's what you have here. Both Darren McGavin and Ralph Meeker were also Mike Hammer at one time or another. Ralph was Mike Hammer in the epic "Kiss Me Deadly" in 1955, and Darren McGavin was Mike Hammer in the TV series of the same name in 1958 to 1959.
Here Ralph plays Kolchak's buddy, FBI agent Bernie Jenks.
This is about as sexy as Carl and Gail's relationship gets, but before it's over, he actually asks her to marry him.
Looks like a vampire to me! Barry Atwater is the vampire known as Janos Skorzeny. Barry Atwater was also in "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street," and was in an episode of "The Outer Limits" called "Corpus Earthling." Barry was the kind of actor that could be in five episodes of "Gunsmoke" as characters with colourful names like Paw Yewker, Harp, Ed Eby, Jesse Daggett and Mr. Bowen.
The vampire needs a lot of blood, and since he can't kill everybody, he sometimes has to make a withdrawal from the local blood bank.
The cops were ready for him this time, but despite getting shot something like 30 times, he still gets away! Maybe Kolchak is onto something with this vampire business.
Another Dungeon hero Elisha (House On Haunted Hill, The Black Zoo) Cook Jr. has a small part as Mickey Crawford.
How many times can they catch this guy, and how many times can he possibly get away? The opportunities are endless!
Just like in the tale of "The Ripper," Kolchak discovers where the villain lives, and decides to go it on his own, but this time he comes armed to the teeth with a crucifix and a wooden stake and mallet!
Kolchak is just a reporter, not a policeman, and if they would have just believed him, he wouldn't have found himself in such a precarious predicament!
He gets the story, and feels like this is the one that he will be able to retire on, but instead, the story gets squashed, they send Gail out of town and won't tell him where, and he's told that if he doesn't get out of town immediately, they are going to press murder charges against him.
Sounds about right! What a way to treat a hero!