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The Night Stalker (1972)
SPOILER: Do not read until you've SEEN this film!
TECHNICAL: there were a few blatant flubs like when the intern gets thrown from the window you can see in the bottom right corner the airbag he lands on. I saw a few crew members shadows in the office scenes. Hospital walls were obviously flimsy set pieces as the wabbled whenever someone was thrown against them... though the fights were very well choreographed. I did spot repeat uses of footage in the driving scenes like when he passes the ARCO gas station. Most of these were not too distracting but I was thrown by the repeat use of one scene. Janus's eyes are seen in the rear view mirror right before stepping out to kill the girl in the parking lot (after killing her dog). After approaching the helpless woman (RUN, girl!) right as he goes to kill her, they show his face again, but it is the SAME CLIP of him in the rear view mirror. That just seemed out of sync and choppy like they forgot to film a shot of his face so had to reuse that one. Reference to his red eyes were made when in all previous shots they were black.
STORY: Plot issues bothered me like the girl tied up at the end. She was bit by Janus so how could they leave out the possibility of her continuing where Janus left when he died? Also, they did not arrest the reporter at the time he put the stake through Janus's heart. There was a scene of celebration with his soon to be wife... it seemed unrealistic to not bring him down to the station when they saw him on the crime scene. The police also were very wimpy when it came to the reporter.. I was thinking: "Since when were reporters allowed to interfere so much with police business" ESPECIALLY the scenes at the pool or the hospital getaway. Finally, the big plot hole for me was that the cops claimed in the end that Janus was just wanted for questioning and not for murder... Well, ignoring the mysterious murders for a moment, Janus DID kill two cops by the pool as they unloaded their guns into his head and back at close range. Even in 1972 police forces tend to frown upon such behavior. Back to the murdered women, they DID have all the blood jars as evidence and again, the tied up girl they just glossed over... a KEY witness and one of Janus's victims. EVEN IF the cops just tried to get the reporter blackmailed, he could have printed the story he wanted to and when put on trial he had the tied up woman as his saving grace. I think the reporter's wife should have had her character developed more. She only interacted with her husband (ironing clothes, etc.) and if she wasn't to be killed by the reporter, then they should have had a final scene where she and the reporter could have a touching goodbye or painful scene. I did not like the way of "Let's get married" and then "She had to skip town" the very next scene. The whole film's end seemed rushed as if they just had to fit it in the time slot allowed for TV.
At the pool, Janus singles out the reporter with a steady glare before hopping over the wall to escape. Why? This was wasted, as nothing else in the film linked up to that. Janus never went after his wife, nor him so why did he single out the reporter amongst the cops? Even in the end, Janus would have defended himself against ANYONE trespassing in his house, so there was no link to the use of that shot. It seemed odd in the final struggle that Janus had such a tough fight against the middle aged reporter when several trained police officers armed couldn't handle him, nor could the fit young hospital twenty-somethings.
SUSPENSE: The shot of his eyes in the rear mirror was creepy as was the music they used. The BEST part was in the final scenes in the house where it was dead silent. SILENCE is the best method to raise the heart level. There were so many places for Janus to pop out from so the uses of darkness and silence were very effective.
I give it a 6/10