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Old May 15 2012, 10:46 PM   #31
RJDiogenes
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

^^ It was my impression that he turned into the dog and when the amulet was destroyed he was stuck that way. A pretty cool ending.

Starkers wrote: View Post
Oh yeah it's a great idea, but even on a tv budget they should have been able to do better than that, he looks like a dog and you can see pale skin beneath the mast/his shirt collar, at least use makeup to darken those bits! and like Warped said, keep the monster out of sight/in the shadows.
Well, yeah, but that didn't bother me; especially at 13.
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Old May 16 2012, 12:13 AM   #32
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
^^ It was my impression that he turned into the dog and when the amulet was destroyed he was stuck that way. A pretty cool ending.
Thats the way I prefer to think of it.
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Old May 16 2012, 01:54 AM   #33
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

"Bad Medicine" *****

An 8ft. ancient Indian is killing the rich to collect a treasure.



You can't watch this and not see how Chris Carter was inspired to create The X-Files. The only real difference is that Fox Mulder probably would have already had a lot of ancient Indian lore in his head while Kolchak has to learn about it. But here we have that wonderful trademark combination of the weird, the creepy and a nice dose of humour.

Kolchak has the knack to see there's a lot in the world still unexplained while most everyone around can him barely see past the end of their nose.


"The Spanish Moss Murders" *****

Kolchak follows a string of murder victims whose chests have been crushed.

More fodder for Chris Carter. A volunteer for a sleep experiment has unconsciously conjured a monster of Bayou legend. He continues to be a goof, but Kolchak's intense curiosity and need to know the truth is stronger than his sense of fear. He takes it upon himself to go down into Chicago's stinking sewers teeming with rats and snakes to hunt a creature no one else would dare believe in.

This monster works because they keep him in shadow and let your imagination fill in the blanks. This one is a real Swamp Thing come to life.


I'm loving this series. Out of nine episodes and two films so far I've hit only two episodes that are disappointments. Those disappointments aren't bad, but just okay and not on the same level of effectiveness as the rest. Unless the second half of this season of episodes nose dives I'd say this was a sadly underrated show. It's clever and quirky and simply fun. I find myself laughing out loud every so often simply because it's that much fun.
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Old May 16 2012, 09:42 AM   #34
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

^^ I agree.

My favorite moment in "Bad Medicine" is when he puts together the jigsaw puzzle of infra-red negatives to form an image of the creature. Very ominous. That episode is also a great example of adapting ancient folklore to the modern world: Where would the spirit of a cliff-dweller hang out? An unfinished skyscraper, of course.

"The Spanish Moss Murders" is another favorite, because I like swamp creatures almost as much as Werewolves. The use of the sleep study is a great plot device and I love how they brought the ambiance of the Bayou to Chicago. It has an especially good guest cast, too. The one thing that nagged at me about this one was how the monster just kind of dropped to the ground when killed. Shouldn't it have disappeared? Didn't this leave Kolchak with some solid evidence?
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Old May 16 2012, 09:48 AM   #35
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

^^ I believe Kolchak does say that the sewers washed away any evidence of the creature. To me that implied it reverted back to moss or natural elements and was just dissolved and washed away.
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Old May 16 2012, 10:01 AM   #36
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

Oh, I don't remember that. I'll have to check my DVD.
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Old May 16 2012, 10:24 AM   #37
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

Was Firefall the one with the doppleganger? I remember that one being quite creepy in places, especially when the doppleganger was grinning in through the church windows!

I still wish the show had been slightly creepier, but it is fun and McGavin is always a joy to watch.
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Old May 16 2012, 09:39 PM   #38
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

Starkers wrote: View Post
Was Firefall the one with the doppleganger? I remember that one being quite creepy in places, especially when the doppleganger was grinning in through the church windows!

I still wish the show had been slightly creepier, but it is fun and McGavin is always a joy to watch.
Yes, thats the one. And, yes, the church window scene is creepy.


"The Energy Eater" ****

A mythical entity is destroying a new hospital.

Definitely not your typical monster. And you can only see it with special film. Neat that Kolchak has some willing to believe him for a change and even help him to some extent albeit reluctantly

Kolchak is alternately a goof (love it!) as well as can be pretty slick and audacious at times. He'll worm his way into just about any situation just to look into an anomaly that most people would just walk right by.
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Old May 16 2012, 11:19 PM   #39
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

^^ That's the one with the jigsaw puzzle of photographic negatives. I don't know how I mixed that up with "Bad Medicine." That's what I get for posting first thing in the morning.

There was a line at the end of "Spanish Moss Murders" that all the evidence was washed away, but it's odd that he didn't even try to salvage anything.

Anyway, "Energy Eater" was great. That was the second time they used American Indian folklore. I always loved that.
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Old May 17 2012, 01:25 AM   #40
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

"Horror In The Heights ****

A mythical Indian spirit is devouring the flesh of its victims.

A different kind of Indian lore this time. This time a Rakshasa is loose in an old Chicago neighbourhood populated by seniors. Like the Salt Vampire from Star Trek the Rakshasa can assume the form of a person its potential victim knows and trusts and thus make them easy to attack wherein the creature then devourers the victim's flesh.

Kolchak picks up the only weapon that can kill the creature from an aged Rakshasa hunter who is no longer able to combat the creature.

This was decent, but I found the resolution came a little too quickly. It didn't really draw out the tension.


"Mr. R.I.N.G." *****

An A.I. robot escapes from a top secret lab and wreaks havoc.

Kolchak dabbles in science fiction in trying to learn what kind of creature has superman strength and can kill with one hand while also robbing a library and a funeral home. This was kind of neat and it turns out the monster, or robot, isn't inherently evil but rather lost and confused as well as possessing a survival instinct. What is amusing is that in an age when hand held calculators were just starting to get into the marketplace in this story we have scientists build an A.I. in humanoid form that surpasses anything we can do today. Hence the science fiction.

And this time it isn't Kolchak, but simple human fear that kills the "monster."
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Old May 17 2012, 08:45 AM   #41
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

Mr R.I.N.G definitely feels like a proto X-Files episode, and if I remember correctly I found it interesting that the robot was built by the Tyrell Corporation!!!
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Old May 17 2012, 09:49 AM   #42
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

"Mr. R.I.N.G." was a nifty way for Kolchak to do a Frankenstein episode, after doing Dracula and the Wolf Man (the Mummy is coming up). It's also his second foray into science fiction after "They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be."

"Horror In The Heights" is the favorite episode of most fans, or so I've heard, because of his encounter with another Night Stalker. It's not my favorite, but it's very good and I like the way the story unfolds and the use of the pre-Nazi swastikas. The ending is also very good. "If I told Emily that she's the only person in the world I trust, I'd also have to tell her that I shot her with a crossbow."
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Old May 17 2012, 02:15 PM   #43
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

I fired up Netflix and watched "They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be." last night. What actually struck me is just how manual everything is, the typewriter, the camera, the film, the phones, radio, just everything. Back then, to be knowledgeable you really had to know what you were doing or be willing to do the legwork to learn.
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Old May 17 2012, 02:39 PM   #44
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

^Yeah, no Googling for Carl, he has to get huge books out of the library or actually go and talk to learnded people.

Ah, simpler times...
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Old May 17 2012, 03:23 PM   #45
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Re: Kolchak: The Night Stalker (original)...

I always admired Karl. Here you have a guy who has a need to find truths. He's not satisfied to accept the lies society tells us to protect us from the darker side of things. He goes out there and finds out what, often leading to his discovery of the monsters. And his search for truth leaves him open to it and to accepting what he finds.

He's not a macho hero. He would rather someone else fight the monsters, as shown many times in his trying to get the police or others to believe what he knows. But when they don't, he steps up and does what needs to be done.

Much like Peter Falk was Columbo, Darren McGavin is Kolchak, and no one can replace him. Some people are so identified as their character that no one could ever really work in the role. The remake of Night Stalker just proves that point.

If I were to guess, as much as Karl searched for the truth, I doubt his stories ever saw print. The general public just couldn't accept that there be monsters here.

Perhaps Sam and Dean Winchester can come across The Kolchak Files.
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