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The Night Stalker (1972)

Not Rated | | Horror, Mystery | TV Movie 11 January 1972
An abrasive Las Vegas newspaper reporter investigates a series of murders committed by a vampire.


(teleplay), (story) (as Jeff Rice)

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Complete credited cast:
Bernie Jenks
Sheriff Butcher
Chief Masterson
D.A. Paine
Mickey Crawford
Fred Hurley
Dr. O'Brien
Barry Atwater ...
Janos Skorzeny


Carl Kolchak is a newspaper reporter with an abrasive personality that has gotten him fired ten times from various big-city papers. Now he's reduced to reporting for a relatively small-time paper in Las Vegas. It's here he gets the story of his life. But will the local sheriff, or the D.A., or even his own boss, let him print it? He has an ally in the FBI agent brought in to investigate this strange case. It seems someone is biting the necks of young girls and draining their blood. Can this killer with supernormal powers really be a 70-year-old Rumanian millionaire? Can he really be a vampire? And can an aging reporter do anything to stop him? Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Horror | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 January 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Kolchak Papers  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$450,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The music from the 1970 movie House of Dark Shadows was used towards the end of the TV movie Night Stalker. It is particularly noteworthy towards the end of the movie as Kolchak and Bernie Jenks (Ralph Meeker) are fighting Janos Skorzeny (Barry Atwater) in the vampire's house. See more »


The first victim, Cheryl Ann Hughes, is described by Kolchak as 23 years old. But the actress playing her is clearly in her early 40s. See more »


Dr. Robert Makurji: [referring to Kolchak's theory about the murders] Mr. Paine, I shouldn't be so inclined to reject Mr. Kolchak's theory out of hand if I were you. It is at best highly speculative, but not altogether unwarranted.
See more »


Referenced in Kolchak: The Night Stalker: The Vampire (1974) See more »


Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Darren McGavin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

THE Horror Movie of the 70's
31 December 1998 | by (Iowa City, IA) – See all my reviews

And it took a TV movie to achieve this feat. But there's no denying the powerful intersection of screen writer Richard Matheson, producer Dan Curtis, and Darren McGavin in perhaps his best role (after A Christmas Story). Ably assisted by Jeff Rice's original novel, Night Stalker works on every level. The humor is there, but a bit subdued. The vampire is a feral beast who is strong, invulnerable, and drinks blood...and that's it. No lame transformations into a bat: The script's portrayal of Skorzeny the Vampire echoes that of Christopher Lee (Hammer also resisted displaying much of Dracula's superhuman abilities).

Skorzeny has none of the sexuality or personality of Dracula, but in a sense the movie isn't about him even if he's the "Stalker" of the title. It's a movie about Carl Kolchak, reporter and undeterred seeker of truth. He could be stalking a story about corrupt politicians, or mobsters, or whatever. The only difference is here, he's after a vampire. This extra supernatural element rises it above what few dramatic reporter-featured movies there are out there.

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