The Night Stalker

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Darren McGavin as reporter Carl Kolchak in The Night Stalker.

The Night Stalker

(pop culture)

The Night Stalker was a highly successful made-for-television vampire movie produced by Dan Curtis in the wake of his successful vampire-oriented soap opera, Dark Shadows. The story concerned a luckless reporter, Carl Kolchak, (Darren McGavin) who encountered a vampire named Janos Skorzeny (Barry Atwater) who was killing showgirls in Las Vegas. He tried to convince his editor and the police of the vampiric nature of the killer, but in their disbelief he was left to confront the bloodsucker by himself. The show was notable in that it received the highest rating of any made-for-television movie to that date and led to The Night Stalker television series, in which Kolchak tracked down a variety of creatures of the night including a vampire created by Skorzeny who subsequently moved to Los Angeles. Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay for the debut episode, which aired January 11, 1972 on ABC. The original novel by Jeff Rice, upon which the movie was based, was published in 1974. Kolchak has been kept alive into the new century in reprint editions of the original novels and new graphic novel adventures from Moonstone publishing. The original television movie and series are available on DVD.

Sources:

Dawidziak, Mark. The Night Stalker Companion: A 25th Anniversary Tribute. Beverley Hills, CA: Pomegranate Press, 1997. 206 pp.
Rice, Jeff. The Night Stalker. New York: Pocket Books, 1974. 192 pp. Rept. In The Kolchak Papers: The Original Novels. Chicago: Moonstone (November 21, 2007).

Nightlore see: Vampire Fandom: United States

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