|Index||4 reviews in total|
8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Stalking...Helen Of Troy???, 10 June 2006
Author: a_l_i_e_n from Canada
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Young people in the pink of health are dying due to sudden accelerated
Kolchak is intrigued by the case of a senior citizen who dropped dead while jogging- especially when it turns out the deceased was actually a young man whose body seemed to age decades over night.
As more young people in Chicago expire in the same mysterious manner, the only common link seems to be that each of them wore a particular ring, a gift from the computer dating service they were all registered with. After he gets one of these rings stuck on his own finger, Kolchak soon discovers what a pickle he's gotten himself into when the director of the dating service turns out to be the one and only Helen of Troy. Using these cursed rings to mark her victims for sacrifice, Helen is calling upon the Gods to drain her clients of their youth. As reward for these sacrifices, Helen's youth is restored to her..for a time.
When Kolchak enters her temple, he reveals to Helen that one of her clients had worn a glass eye, and since the Gods demand that the sacrifices made unto them be physically perfect, Helen is punished for this sacrilege by being turned to stone.
This is arguably the worst "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" episode. Even for a show devoted to plots with supernatural themes, the premise of this one sounds so ludicrous that it should have been dismissed outright (although, to be fair, "The Youth Killer" does have it's admirers among fans of the series).
Particularly disappointing: in an episode where effects are key to making the premise work, the low budget makeup work really lets this story down. For example, the first victim's rapid aging is poorly detailed in a series of dissolving shots of the actor in various stages of phony-looking old man makeup. Finally, to represent the last step in the character's accelerated aging, the guy playing the victim is suddenly and unconvincingly replaced by a much older actor.
Cathy Lee Crosby from the old "That's Incredible!" series brings the necessary physical attributes to the role of Helen of Troy, but as something to be dreaded she's neither frightening nor even interesting. Her character's true age is conveyed by gluing some phony-looking fleshy bags underneath her eyes. Also, at the scene of each death her character appears standing out in the open wearing an off-the-shoulder "Greek Goddess" gown and looking downright silly.
Kolchak getting the deadly ring stuck on his finger is a decent plot device, but the opportunities for creating some real suspense out of this situation are not effectively seized by the script, nor by the direction. Likewise, during the "thrilling" climax, the wrath of the Gods comes in the underwhelming form of some off-camera wind machines, a few claps of thunder and a lot of water from what may have been a fire sprinkler just above the camera raining down over poor Kathy Lee Crosby's head.
During his customary final word on each investigation, Kolchak would occasionally glance into the camera for a moment before the fadeout. In his summation for this one however, star Darren McGavin completely dismisses the "fourth wall" and looks directly into the lens for the entire monologue. This decision totally destroys any kind of feeling of reality that might have existed had they decided not to have been so casual in their approach to the scene. If "The Youth Killer" was meant to be purely comedic in content (and an out-and-out spoof episode might, indeed, have been interesting to see), then "The Youth Killer" is still a failure simply because it is not as funny as it needs to be in order to work.
The only saving grace comes in the form of the nice guest star work. John Feidler as mortician "Gordy The Ghoul", is very funny as he tries to shake Kolchak down for a new TV to brighten up the morgue; the likable George Savalas ("Stavros" from "Kojak") plays a taxi driver/expert on Greek mythology; and the woman who played the ruler-wielding nun in "Blues Brothers" is on hand as a matchmaker who's anxious to try and fix Carl up with a girl. In fact, finding Kolchak a girlfriend would have been a far more interesting story than the goofy one in this poorly conceived, badly executed episode.
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lackluster episode, 17 February 2010
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This surprisingly tepid show rates as my least favorite episode. Okay, a sizable number of episodes had pretty silly stories, but this one wins the grand booby prize for dumbest ever premise: None other than evil demi-goddess Helen of Troy (a game performance by Cathy Lee Crosby, who does her best in a ridiculous role) runs an elite dating agency so she can select prime candidates to drain the life out of in order to stay young, healthy, and beautiful forever. Once again it's up to Carl Kolchak (the always excellent and animated Darren McGavin) to stop her. Although Rudolph Borchert's dippy, but fairly entertaining script offers a few interesting insights about America's obsession with youth and beauty, this particular outing suffers from pedestrian direction by Don McDougall, poor make-up, a total lack of suspense, the aforementioned dopey plot, and a flat conclusion. Fortunately, the series' customary sharp sardonic humor is still present and accounted for. Moreover, the sound acting by a tip-top cast helps matters to a moderate degree: Simon Oakland is in fine huffy form as the perpetually irascible Tony Vincenzo, Dwayne Hickman contributes an engaging turn as the friendly Sergeant Orkin, Kathleen Freeman is a hoot as cheery and zealous dating service proprietor Bella Sarkof, George Savalas makes a strong and winning impression as helpful cab driver Kaz, and John Fiedler has a funny bit as merry coroner Gordy. While this episode is still watchable, it nonetheless falls short of the program's usual high standards.
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Running on Empty, 25 July 2008
Author: wes-connors from Earth
This, the penultimate episode of the series, may be the weakest.
Curvaceous blonde Cathy Lee Cosby (as Helen Surtees) runs a dating
service that serves as a front for killing off young people, so she can
perpetuate her own youth. Ms. Cosby is really the ancient Greek
mythological woman known as "Helen of Troy". Soon, Kolchak (Darren
McGavin) is hot on her trail. The "ghoul-of-the-week" format's death
knoll has risen. The writers, Mr. McGavin, and the "Kolchak" series are
clearly out of gas and money; however, the supporting and guest cast
hold up well.
** The Youth Killer (3/14/75) Don McDougall ~ Darren McGavin, Cathy Lee Cosby, John Fiedler
Vanity, thy name is...Helen., 14 October 2012
Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The penultimate episode of the 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker' series is just about the furthest thing from scary or creepy; not that the story still isn't entertaining to some degree, but the threat this time is not that threatening. Kolchak finds that healthy young people are turning elderly in a heartbeat and then expiring. It turns out they'd joined a dating service run by a woman named Helen Surtees (Cathy Lee Crosby), who is making regular sacrifices of youth and beauty to her god Hecate so that she may retain her own appearance. With the help of a well meaning Greek American cabbie Kaz (George Savalas, brother of and co-star to Telly S. on 'Kojak'), he learns what he has to do and what can help him. It's hard to be completely dissatisfied with any 'Kolchak' episode, as the humour usually keeps things moving along quite nicely. And 'The Youth Killer' does have its moments. In the first place, Kolchak tries to dodge a dating service proprietress, Bella (Kathleen Freeman) who's determined to find him a girlfriend. Next, when Kolchak learns that the ring he's tried on will *need* to be taken off, Kaz tries to help by smearing mayonnaise all over his hand. And in one appreciable touch, the Gordy the Ghoul character (John Fiedler) is brought back. He's just not so ghoulish anymore, and complains to Kolchak that the reporter better start putting in money for a colour television set (Gordy and co-workers need something to alleviate their boredom) if Gordy is going to continue supplying information. The guest stars also feature Dwayne Hickman as Sergeant Orkin, the first police detective who Kolchak thinks is going to be his friend until Orkin sees for himself why his peers dislike Kolchak, as well as Eddie Firestone, James Murtaugh, and Reb Brown. Firestone's conventioneer character only serves to make a particular exposition scene awkward with his complaining. All things considered, when looking at this episode, one can see that the series was starting to run out of steam and how it may have ended prematurely. A shame, really, as certainly more decent ideas could have been concocted, but it just wasn't to be. 'The Youth Killer' is relevant enough in the way that it touches upon the obsession some people have with youth and beauty, but it represents one of the lower points during Kolchaks' brief run. Six out of 10.
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