8.5/10
3,734
81 user 24 critic

Kolchak: The Night Stalker 

Trailer
1:05 | Trailer

Watch Now

on Prime Video

ON DISC
A newspaper reporter investigates strange supernatural occurrences in Chicago.
Reviews
Popularity
3,136 ( 40)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1975   1974  
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Night Stalker (TV Movie 1972)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An abrasive Las Vegas newspaper reporter investigates a series of murders committed by a vampire.

Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Stars: Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland
The Night Strangler (TV Movie 1973)
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A reporter hunts down a 144-year old alchemist who is killing women for their blood.

Director: Dan Curtis
Stars: Darren McGavin, Jo Ann Pflug, Simon Oakland
Night Stalker (TV Series 2005)
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Investigative reporter Carl Kolchak, who's after his wife's killer, teams up with Perri Reed, Jain McManus, and their boss Tony Vincenzo to investigate strange crimes in Los Angeles that may contain dark supernatural elements.

Stars: Stuart Townsend, Gabrielle Union, Eric Jungmann
Night Gallery (1969–1973)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Rod Serling presents tales of horror illustrated in various paintings.

Stars: Rod Serling, Larry Watson, Joanna Pettet
The Outer Limits (1963–1965)
Fantasy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An anthology series of insightful science fiction tales.

Stars: Bob Johnson, Ben Wright, William Douglas
Dead of Night (TV Movie 1977)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This anthology tells three stories: one of time travel, one of vampires, and one of a mother wishing her drowned son back to life.

Director: Dan Curtis
Stars: Ed Begley Jr., E.J. André, Ann Doran
The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The cases of an easy going ex-convict turned private investigator.

Stars: James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos
The Wild Wild West (1965–1969)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two Secret Service Agents, equipped with a wide array of gizmos, work for the government in the Old West.

Stars: Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, Dick Cangey
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a severely injured test pilot is rebuilt with nuclear-powered bionic limbs and implants, he serves as an intelligence agent.

Stars: Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks
The Norliss Tapes (TV Movie 1973)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An investigative reporter stumbles onto an artist that has made a pact to come back after his death to sculpt a statue of a demon using human blood and clay. Once the demon is awakened he will be granted immortality.

Director: Dan Curtis
Stars: Roy Thinnes, Don Porter, Angie Dickinson
Mission: Impossible (1966–1973)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An elite covert operations unit carries out highly sensitive missions subject to official denial in the event of failure, death or capture.

Stars: Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, Greg Morris
Fantasy Island (1977–1984)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Accounts of visitors to a unique resort island in the Pacific Ocean that can fulfill literally any fantasy requested, but rarely turn out as expected.

Stars: Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
Darren McGavin ...  Carl Kolchak 20 episodes, 1974-1975
Simon Oakland ...  Tony Vincenzo 20 episodes, 1974-1975
Jack Grinnage ...  Ron Updyke 18 episodes, 1974-1975
Ruth McDevitt ...  Emily Cowles / ... 12 episodes, 1974-1975
Edit

Storyline

Carl Kolchak was a reporter for Chicago's Independent News Service, and a trouble magnet for situations involving the supernatural. Kolchak turned his investigative skills to vampires, werewolves, zombies and all manner of legendary creatures, but in the end he always failed to convince his skeptical editor, Tony Vincenzo, that the stories weren't products of Kolchak's own overworked imagination. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man's quest to uncover the truth, See more »


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 September 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kolchak: The Night Stalker See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(20 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Universal" studios had previously produced two horror themed shows: "Thriller" and "Night Gallery." See more »

Goofs

Many of the stories take place in the winter months, but there is never any snow, and even if there was no snow, it is highly unlikely one would be driving a convertible with the top down during the winter months in Chicago. See more »

Quotes

Carl Kolchak: Captain Leo Winwood and I had a relationship that was long and bloody, like the Crusades, only without the chivalry.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Vedro: Explosion of the Modern Architecture (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Remains one of my all-time favorite TV shows
2 June 2004 | by TheOutsidersSee all my reviews

Almost 30 years after its debut, "The Night Stalker" is warmly remembered by folks who likely saw the show as youngsters, during its original run on CBS, and who are willing to overlook its faults to simply swim in the experience.

Also key to that loyalty is the undeniable charm of Darren McGavin – one of this generation's most interesting character actors – and Simon Oakland, as Kolchak's long-suffering managing editor, Tony Vincenzo.

The majority of the series' 20 episodes owe more to comedy and camp than the matter-of-fact style of its two highly regarded made-for-TV movie predecessors. In my opinion, there are six episodes that truly stand out – weaving suspense, horror, a bit of gore and a healthy dose of comedy to create taut stories that are a helluva lot of fun.

No. 6 is "The Ripper" (original air date: 9-13-74). Penned by veteran television writer Rudolph Borchert, the series' debut is built around the premise the *real* Jack the Ripper – super-human in ways that go completely unexplained – is wreaking havoc in modern-day Chicago. There are some delicious moments and terrific performances by McGavin, Oakland, Ken Lynch, (as gruff police chief L.M. Warren) and Beatrice Colen (as reporter Jane Plumm). The conclusion is one of the few in the series that takes the necessary time to play out and creates remarkable tension as it draws to a spectacular finish.

No. 5 is "The Vampire" (10-4-74). Although it's never actually stated, the antagonist from this installment seems to have been a victim of Janos Skorzeny, the vampire from the 1972 "Night Stalker" TV movie. "The Vampire" is also one of only two Kolchaks that take place away from Carl's home base of Chicago, and the trip he finagles to Los Angeles, to surreptitiously follow a tip from an old Vegas friend, Jim "Swede" Brytowski (Larry Storch), is fraught with lively encounters, including with prickly L.A. police lieutenant, Jack Matteo (played by William Daniels). As with "The Ripper," the closing sequence is spectacular and visually satisfying. It's interesting to note that "Sopranos" executive producer David Chase wrote this and seven other "Stalker" episodes.

No. 4 is "Chopper" (1-31-75). In some of their earliest work in Hollywood, Robert Zemeckis (Oscar-winning director of "Forrest Gump") and Bob Gale (who penned the "Back to the Future" trilogy) combined to write "Chopper," and it flourishes despite some painfully weak visual effects. The story is just plain fun: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" meets "The Wild One." After the grave of 1950s biker "Swordman" Baker is unwittingly disturbed, he returns – riding a vintage motorcycle – to seek vengeance on those who separated him from his noggin 19 years before. Following a creepy build-up, the pay-off is a bit of a letdown - but, overall, "Chopper" is spooky and entertaining. Jim Backus chips in with a marvelous stand-alone scene as WW II Navy pilot-turned motorcycle salesman, still dealing with the emotional complexities of hawking Japanese bikes. (Watch closely during the final scene, in which Kolchak weaves through stacks of tarpaulin-covered caskets stored in a warehouse, searching for the canister containing Baker's severed head. As Carl raises his flashlight to read the list of names on a tarp – to identify the remains in each group of coffins – "BACKUS" is clearly visible. An apparent wicked nod toward the great comedic actor.)

No. 3 is "Horror In The Heights" (12-20-74), a compelling story by veteran horror writer Jimmy Sangster of a flesh-eating Hindu demon – the Rakshasa – able to search the minds of its victims to disguise itself as the person he or she trusts most. It's one of the few shows that give McGavin a chance to get on the IL' soapbox, since the murders occur in neighborhood inhabited by poor and elderly. In a refreshingly understated performance, Phil Silvers plays Harry Starman, who Kolchak – usually a creature of necessity when it comes to cultivating relationships – befriends. Although the cops are stumped about a series of grisly murders (natch!), Kolchak eventually determines the swastikas seen everywhere in the neighborhood and an ancient Pakistani restaurateur play crucial roles. McGavin is marvelous in the final scene, in which he's confronted by who *he* trusts most.

No. 2 is "The Spanish Moss Murders." What sets this one apart is the originality of the story, created by Chase and Alvin Friedman: the dreams of a young, vagabond Southerner, taking part in a sleep research program, unintentionally summon a horrifying monster from his childhood. Add to it a series of priceless moments – including Keenan Wynn's hilarious performance as captain "Mad Dog" Siska; Carl's growing paranoia and some very eerie scenes in the sewers of Chicago – and this one is almost guaranteed to be a universal fan favorite. One of my favorite moments has almost nothing to do with the story: when Bruno, a janitor at the newspaper offices, asks Carl if he's "gettin' any." How'd that make it by the censors?

My best of the best is "The Zombie" (9-20-74). It could be I'm partial to it beyond the story itself, which involves a simmering race war between rival underworld organizations, incited by someone who – or something that – won't stay buried. I remember watching it the night it aired, scared out of my wits by the menacing zombie, Francois Edmonds (played by former San Diego Charger all-Pro, Earl Faison). I've only recently come to appreciate the performance of Charles Aidman, as the only "crooked" cop (the rest being either anal retentive or incompetent) Kolchak encountered, Leo Winwood. Written by Chase and Zekial Marko, "The Zombie" features a slew of familiar character actors: Antonio Fargas, Joseph Sirola, Scatman Crothers, Val Bisoglio, J. Pat O'Malley and John Fiedler, in the first of three memorable appearances as Gordy "The Ghoul" Spangler. The final scene is tremendous: Carl, in a "place of the dead," perched uncomfortably next to the zombie he believes is dormant, readying a needle to sew its mouth shut. The tension is absolutely exhilarating.


28 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 81 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed