Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Season 1, Episode 13

Primal Scream (17 Jan. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Horror | Mystery
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 104 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 5 critic

An arctic oil-drilling expedition unearths some strange organic matter, cells which begin to spontaneously multiply. When the cooling unit in their storage facility fails, the cells grow ... See full summary »

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Title: Primal Scream (17 Jan 1975)

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Episode complete credited cast:
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...
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Captain Maurice Molnar
...
Thomas Kitzmiller (as Pat Harrington)
Katherine Woodville ...
Dr. Helen Lynch (as Katharine Woodville)
...
Jack Burton
Jack Grinnage ...
...
The Secretary
Jeannie Bell ...
Rosetta (as Jeanie Bell)
C. Lindsay Workman ...
Dr. Fisk (as Lindsay Workman)
Regis Cordic ...
Dr. Peel
Byron Morrow ...
Dr. Cowan
Vince Howard ...
Policeman
Sandra Gould ...
Landlady
Al Checco ...
Nils
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Storyline

An arctic oil-drilling expedition unearths some strange organic matter, cells which begin to spontaneously multiply. When the cooling unit in their storage facility fails, the cells grow into a violent and deadly life-form, a murderous ape-man. Kolchak finds the feature story he's planning on writing about the murders blocked by the authorities at every turn, and it seems that pressure from the large corporation which sponsored the drilling is threatening to squelch the truth about the murders. Written by acidxian

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17 January 1975 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

One of the creature's victims is a truck driver called William Pratt - the real name of actor Boris Karloff, who also used to be a truck driver. See more »

Quotes

Ron Updyke: It seems some dangerous animals did escape, including two large apes, a pair of adult African gibbons, as well as a Malayan tiger, a civet cat, and a pie-cost.
Tony Vincenzo: What's a pie-cost?
Ron Updyke: 89 cents.
[chuckles]
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Stalking A Neanderthal
21 June 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

A missing link prowls the streets of Chicago with police and Kolchak in hot pursuit.

In "Primal Scream", frozen cells brought back from the Antarctic begin to multiply inside a cold storage facility. When these cells grow into a pair of hairy primates, they promptly break out of the facility leaving behind a dead employee- minus an arm. One of the creatures is eventually shot, but authorities refuse to allow the press to inspect the body. Later, Kolchak finds himself at the scene of an unsuccessful attempt by police to capture the second one. When Carl snaps off a few pictures of the thing before it escapes, his camera is destroyed by Captain Molnar who is determined to suppress any evidence of the man-like things' existence.

With the second creature still on the prowl for sustenance, Kolchak determines that the most likely hiding place for a flesh-eating primitive like this would be the cave-like tunnels under the site of the old Chicago stadium. As he searches through it's dark recesses the creature suddenly appears, but Carl manages to keep it at bay with a flare. When the police arrive on the scene, they shoot the humanoid with a tranquilizer gun before hauling it away to parts unknown.

The ape men are mostly shot from a distance and this was probably done to obscure the somewhat unimpressive makeup. Consequentally, we don't get a very good look at one until the end where it resembles an actor in a monkey suit with mutton chops on his face. Kolchak managing to get into the facility for a quick look at the cells developing in a cannister is troubling, too. After the initial incidents in the freezer, you'd think these cells would now be kept under constant observation by security, so the relative ease with which Carl sneaks in seems hard to swallow.

During the course of the episode, the missing links burst through doors and jump through windows in search of fresh meat and one even brazenly makes off with a nighttime stroller in the park. While these scenes are modestly jolting, all in all, the two über gorillas just aren't very frightening monsters. They also lack any kind of personality that might have distinguished them among Kolchak's more memorable quarries. The only effectively suspenseful part comes at the end when Kolchak enters yet another dark, foreboding environment and, tossing road flares into opaque blackness, makes for himself a path of light that eventually reveals a dead body...and then the Neanderthal.

Kolchak's attempt to assure the beast that he is not a danger to it by repeating "Friend! Friend!" seems a tad silly. Fortunately, their "chat" is cut short by the arrival of the police who put the creature in such a panic that it holds Kolchak in a rib-bending embrace. When Carl later awakens, he discovers the police and the missing link are gone. The last scene has Carl pondering what the future may hold in store for the creature, but it's a bit difficult for the viewer to share in his concern for the thing- what with it's having killed and eaten several people.

Pat Harrington of "One Day At A Time" appears as a public relations sleaze who tries to keep both Kolchak and the public's attention diverted from the drilling company that retrieved the cells. The best guest star performance comes from John Marley as Captian Molnar. Marley is known to film goers all over the world as the guy who wakes up next to the horse's head in "The Godfather". As the cop in charge of keeping a lid on the ape-man story, he is both believable and thoroughly unlikable, even going so far as to brazenly stomp on Carl's camera right in front of him. Later, when Carl leaves him a voucher for a new camera, Molnar simply drops the form into a waste basket and goes about his business. Of all the many stone-walling police officials Kolchak came up against during the run of the series, Marley's Capt. Molnar is probably the most formidable.

One other item of note: Kolchak's foil, the nerdy Ron Updyke, was always at the receiving end of Carl's verbal jibes. However, in this one he is finally allowed (for a moment) to get the better of Kolchak. Informing the reporter that the recent murders are actually due to a road accident in which several zoo animals escaped, Ron lists the missing animals as "two African gorillas, a Malaysian tiger and a pair of baby pie-costs." When asked "what's a pie-cost?", Ron replies with a smirk, "89 cents". It's an amusing surprise in an otherwise underwhelming episode.


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