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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Night Stalker (1972)

In Las Vegas, a series of unsolved murders finds its victims bodies drained of blood. When an investigative reporter (Darren McGavin) suggests that the killer (Barry Atwater) might actually be a vampire, the authorities attempt to downplay the theory and cover up the facts. Based on a then unpublished novel called THE KOLCHAK PAPERS by Jeff Rice, this made for TV movie was popular enough (it had the highest ratings for any TV movie at that time) to spawn a sequel before turning into a TV series that lasted one season. It's the equivalent of a "B" movie, tight and economical out of necessity and without pretension. Its dated 1970s look actually gives the movie a period flavor that works in its favor. The script by Richard Matheson (I AM LEGEND) isn't always consistent. Example: McGavin declares only a stake through the heart can kill a vampire yet appears shocked when he shoots him and he has no reaction to the bullets. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey (CITY OF THE DEAD). With Carol Lynley (just eye candy here), Ralph Meeker, Charles McGraw, Simon Oakland, Kent Smith and Elisha Cook Jr.

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