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Kolchak: The Night Stalker (3DVD)
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Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the uniquely eerie mystery series that paved the way for The X-Files, comes to DVD for the first time with all 20 original one-hour episodes of the 1974-1975 series. Emmy nominee Darren McGavin stars as Carl Kolchak, a headstrong investigative reporter on the trail of the paranormal: zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, succubi and even aliens. No matter how unnatural or unbelievable, Kolchak is there to uncover the truth…one supernatural threat at a time. Join the hunt in the dark alleys and creepy hidden lairs of Chicago with such sensational guest stars as Scatman Crothers, Antonio Fargas, Sharon Farrell, Dick Van Patten, Jamie Farr, Larry Linville, Jim Backus and more. Kolchak: The Night Stalker is finally on DVD, digitally restored to capture every shiver every scream, and every bump in the night.
The acknowledged inspiration for The X-Files, and the basis for an updated 2005 network version, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was a short-lived 1974 series spun off from a pair of extremely popular made-for-TV movies about the supernatural adventures of dogged newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin). Though plagued by low ratings and critical brickbats, the show has cultivated a huge cult following over the past three decades, which has given rise to this three-disc set, which compiles all 20 episodes of the show. Though none of the episodic stories matches the suspense and writing strength of the Night Stalker or Night Strangler movies, TV horror fans will appreciate the parade of interesting and inventive monsters encountered by Kolchak (including a witches' coven in "The Trevi Collection"; an Aztec cult in "Legacy of Terror"; a Hindu Demon in "Horror in the Heights," which was penned by Hammer Films scribe Jimmy Sangster; and a headless biker in "Chopper," an episode deemed in extreme poor taste by Stephen King and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and Sopranos creator David Chase). McGavin is of course topnotch as Kolchak, and he's well-matched by Simon Oakland as his hot-tempered boss; guest stars include Scatman Crothers, James Gregory, Phil Silvers, Eric Braeden, Tom Skerritt, and Richard Kiel as the monster in two back-to-back episodes. Sadly, no extras accompany this fun collection of Kolchak's creepiest cases. --Paul Gaita
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Top Customer Reviews
My only other gripe is that the two Kolchak movies should have been included in the set as well, to complete the entire series. This is the original Night Stalker and it definitely shouldn't be passed up at any price. Rumors about reviving this show have once again emerged, but like all classics they're often imitated and seldom duplicated.
Thanks to Universal Studios, the complete Kolchak "The Night Stalker" television series has finally been released on DVD. The video transfer is really decent and the 2.0 sound is pretty consistent and definitely better than I expected. All 20 episodes of this classic 70's TV series are spread out over 3 double sided discs and that's my only major complaint with this set.
Universal Studios should abandon the double sided discs and go with single sided discs even if it means adding a few more dollars to the price of the set. In a few of the episodes, some of the night scenes are very dark and sometimes it's hard to make out the images. I give this classic show five stars all the way for pure entertainment value. Darren McGavin in my opinion was the perfect choice to play the Kolchak character and he played it to perfection.
DVD Features Include:
Aspect Ratio: 1.Read more ›
In the mid-1970s, after a pair of hit TV movies called "The Night Stalker" and "The Night Strangler, "Kolchak - The Night Stalker" debuted. It reintroduced us to Carl Kolchak, a threadbare reporter who is working in Chicago. He also has a tendency to bump into ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night.
In this series, Kolchak encounters a harrowing series of problems: Kolchak battles bizarre aliens and "missing link" primates; a series killer may be Jack the Ripper; a call girl returns from the dead; a malevolent doppelganger is causing people to burn to death; and voodoo zombies, haunted armor, succubi, werewolves, demons, killer robots, ghosts and gods.
The supernatural is everyday on TV now, with several series (past and present) focusing on everything from A (animals) to Z (zombies). But "Kolchak - The Night Stalker" has the advantage of being the grandaddy of them all, with a fresh outlook and plots that owe nothing to anyone.
While the horror parts can be a bit campy, the originality of its plotlines can't be denied. Sure, it mines everything from Aztec gods to voodoo. But it also comes up with plots that no legend could come up with, such as the idea of Helen of Troy still alive and beautiful, and sucking the youth from modern young men. It's brilliant.
It also has what few supernatural series have: a sense of humour.Read more ›
When I got the package, I found that one of the DVD's came off it's mount and got scratched up but it played okay. This in not the best transfer I've seen and at times I had to replay parts that my player had skipped over but when I played it again it seemed to work fine. Hmmm.
That being said, I had a lot of fun going back in time watching these 1970's episodes which revealed just how far we've come 'culturally' with respect to multi-cultural sensitivity and strength of story. The story lines are simple about werewolves, vampires, aliens, voodoo, etcetera taken from classic horror stories of the past and all were told in a cheesy, tongue in cheek way which made my colleague and I laugh out loud when we saw them again 40 years later. It's kinda like watching the movie Rock Horror Picture Show... if you're looking for a straightforward 'scary' story... this it not it. But, if you want to take a trip back in time where all the current social taboos were not even considered when these episodes were written then you should enjoy it as a 'tv time capsule' item.
Darin McGavin's (Carl Kolchack) and Simon Oakland's (Tony Vincenzo) interactions as a press writer with his editor is fantastic and really keeps the fun alive in between the story lines and the rest of the cast also adds quite a bit to the enjoyment of this series as a whole.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Exactly as I remembered as a kid. Only wished it had bluray version.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
My son bought me these for my birthday (waited 2 months for it to come in) then when it arrived
most of the movies would not play. Read more
Great series just not enough of it - Darren McGavin one of the most under rating actor ever - never seen anything that he wasn't great in and I watch most of his pictures.Published 11 months ago by Eric Careswell
I remember watching this growing up. There was something about Darren McGavin's narrative voice, that sent the chills up the spine. Read morePublished 17 months ago by B. H.
Love this show growing up. Order this and got it before the estimated delivery date. Just disappointed that this DVD is in PAL format and not made for Region 1. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Foodog
My sons watched this series and kids and loved it then and they love it now at 47 and 49 and their kids love it tooPublished 22 months ago by J. Lundy
Excellent version. I really missed this show (it was my favourite as a kid).
McGavin is one-of-a-kind and Carl Kolchak is an Everyman's hero.
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