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The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler (1972, 1973) - Blu-ray Review

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The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-ray

5 beers

It begins in a dingy motel room.  A cassette player is on.  A disheveled looking man, worn out but determined, is listening to his own recording.  That voice speaks honesty.  He is determined to get his story published.  It is important.  No matter how ridiculous it sounds – a vampire in Las Vegas – the truth must be heard.  As it ends, he begins to smile.  And then sighs, with the cracked smiled not fading from his lips, he laughs.  No one will believe this.

This is how the immortal Carl Kolchak is introduced to audiences.  It was 1972.  The television world was changing.  Not quickly enough for The Night Stalker, though.  This movie was a product outside of time itself.  A bloodsucking immortal loose in Las Vegas?!    And yet the story lived on, registering with people for years to come and now, thanks to a BRAND NEW HD RESTORATION IN 4K FROM KINO LORBER, the two movies that formed the bedrock of the Kolchak phenomenon are back!

"With these two back-to-back movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler, the man in the straw hat returns!  He and the dark things he tracks down finally make their blu-ray debut"


One lovable investigative reporter in two SUPERIOR made for television movies by producer/director Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows) and writer Richard Matheson was all it took.  With a 20-episode series in development, the legacy of Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, an investigative reporter OF THE SUPERNATURAL, began!  It was indeed a wild journey.

With these two back-to-back movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler, the man in the straw hat returns!  He and the dark things he tracks down finally make their blu-ray debut. 

The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-ray

Thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics, the beginnings of an ORDINARY MAN digging at the truth that the powerful keep tucked away look thunderously good in 1080p.  Fans, like myself, might just stand and applaud as their hero first takes to the streets in Las Vegas in the hunt for a vampire and, in the second movie, faces down immortality in Seattle. All the while risking his own reputation and life!

Along for the ride through the darker side of the newspaper business is the great Simon Oakland as Tony Vincenzo, the working editor Kolchak loves to harass with the truth.  No matter how uncomfortable it is for Vincenzo to print, Kolchak follows the story and usually stumbles his way through the underground, annoying both the police and the mayor officials with tales of vampire!  And, in the second movie, an underground dwelling 144-year-old alchemist offing women for their BLOOD is the answer to a series of murders that is stumping the police.  Leave it to Kolchak then to search out and report the truth! 

The beginnings of the television series that would later inspire Chris Carter (The X-Files, Millennium), Vince Gilligan (The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), James Wong (American Horror Story), Darrin Morgan (The X-Files), the late Kim Manners (Supernatural), and Frank Spotnitz (The Man in the High Castle) to tell their own stories through television might be humble indeed, but the lasting results of the stellar production are far from it.

The audience turned out to in spades see McGavin in his raggedy blue suit chase down a mysterious serial killer named Janos Skorzeny (Barry Atwater).  The first movie, set in Las Vegas, was a monster of a ratings hit as Kolchak reveals that this killer is really a vampire.  Funny, charming, and full of just the right attitude toward the supernatural, The Night Stalker was quickly followed up by the even tighter The Night Strangler; another ratings win!

Here, a penniless and jobless Kolchak arrives in Seattle to tell all who will listen about his previous run-in with a vampire.  Rescued from the bar scene and hired by Vincenzo (Oakland) as a favor, Kolchak winds up following a brand new story that has him confronting immortality itself via an elixir of life created by a mad doctor (played by Richard Anderson).  The luck of this guy!  Two cities and two tales of the supernatural! 

The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-ray

And, when that movie proved to be another win, a third was planned, The Night Killers, about androids.  But ABC wanted a series instead.  So the android tale in Honolulu was shelved and the series, The Night Stalker, was born!  The 20-episode series will be forthcoming from Kino Lorber later this year, if not the beginning of next year.  In the meantime, we have plenty to celebrate here.

To finally be able to bring home Kolchak on blu-ray is truly a memorable moment.  With the series not too far behind, Kino Lorber has my full support in their release of The Night Stalker television show on blu-ray.  I simply can’t wait to ride shotgun in Carl’s yellow ford mustang again!

The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler are now on blu-ray.  This is FAKE NEWS no more!

The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-rayThe Night Stalker

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- October 2, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A


The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-rayThe Night Strangler

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray - October 2, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Kino Lorber presents The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler on 1080p with a fine remastering job for its HD debut. Using the original 35mm negatives for the restoration, the results are damn impressive for both titles. Colors are pumped up. Shadows are more defined than ever. Interior scenes have depth and warmth and the exterior shots feel alive and vibrant, which is cool considering the many nighttime action scenes in these two movies. There are textures in the clothes of the cast and, overall, a bit more vibrancy to what has previously been issued on 1080p. The sound is presented in a thunderous DTS-HD Master Audio mono that adds a bit more thump to some of the action scenes. The aspect ratio of the release is the original 1.33:1.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • • See Special Features For Specifics.

Special Features:

Kino starts their Kolchak releases with the two movies.  There are plenty of things to dive into for fans and newbies alike!

The Night Stalker:

• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas

NEW Interview with Director John Llewellyn Moxey

NEW Interview with Composer Bob Cobert

"The Night Stalker: Dan Curtis Interview" featurette

Limited Edition Booklet essay by Film critic and author Simon Abrams

Newly Commissioned Art by Sean Phillips

Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase

The Night Strangler:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas

NEW Interview with Composer Bob Cobert

"Directing 'The Night Strangler'" Featurette

Limited Edition Booklet essay by film critic and author Simon Abrams

Newly Commissioned Art by Sean Phillips

Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase

The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-ray

 

 

The Night Stalker - The Night Strangler - Blu-ray

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