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Kolchak: The Night Stalker - The Complete Series (1974 - 1975) - Blu-ray Review

Kolchak: The Night Stalker - The Complete Series

The man with the straw hat is back!  And so are his ghoulish finds in the windy city of Chicago.  Watergate era television doesn’t get much better than with Kolchak: The Night Stalker.  And that, my friends, is a certified fact.

It begins in a dingy motel room.  A cassette player is on.  A disheveled looking man, worn out but determined, is listening to his own recording.  That voice speaks honestly.  He is determined to get his story published.  It is important.  No matter how ridiculous it sounds – a vampire in Las Vegas – the truth must be heard.  As it ends, he begins to smile.  And then sighs, with the cracked smile not fading from his lips, he laughs.  No one will believe this.

"Kino Lorber has done a stellar job with this Blu-ray set as it comes with interesting extras"


This is how the immortal Carl Kolchak, portrayed by the immortal Darren McGaven, is introduced to audiences.  It was 1972.  The television world was changing.  Not quickly enough for The Night Stalker, though.  This movie was a product outside of time itself.  A bloodsucking immortal loose in Las Vegas?! Another film followed and then, in 1974, a brand-new 20-episode series which saw, in its premiere episode, Kolchak electrocuting a resurrected Jack the Ripper in a lake!  While pulled from the network after 20-episodes (including a follow-up to the original movie), Kolchak has not forgotten by a legion of fans.

Because the story of this investigative reporter lived on, registering with people for years to come and now, thanks to a BRAND-NEW HD RESTORATION IN 2K FROM KINO LORBER, the ENTIRE series that added to the bedrock of the Kolchak phenomenon is back!

Thanks to Kino Lorber Studio Classics, the beginnings of an ORDINARY MAN digging at the truth that the powerful keep tucked away look thunderously good in 1080p.  Fans, like myself, might just stand and applaud as their hero first takes to the streets in Las Vegas in the hunt for a vampire and, in the second movie, faces down immortality in Seattle. With the series, though, we see the beloved figure whistling away the wind in Chicago and all the haunts which follow.  All the while risking his own reputation and life!Kolchak: The Night Stalker - The Complete Series

Along for the ride through the darker side of the newspaper business is the great Simon Oakland as Tony Vincenzo, the working editor Kolchak loves to harass with the truth.  No matter how uncomfortable it is for Vincenzo to print, Kolchak follows the story and usually stumbles his way through the underground, annoying both the police and the mayor officials with paranormal tales of 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!  

Leave it to Kolchak then to search out and report the truth in these hour-long mysteries!

This is the television series that would later inspire Chris Carter (The X-Files, Millennium), Vince Gilligan (The X-Files, The Lone Gunmen, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul), James Wong (American Horror Story), Darrin Morgan (The X-Files), the late Kim Manners (Supernatural), and Frank Spotnitz (The Man in the High Castle) to tell their own stories through television might be humble indeed, but the lasting results of the stellar production are far from it.

Kino Lorber has done a stellar job with this Blu-ray set as it comes with interesting extras, including commentaries on every episode, interviews with David Chase and comedian Dana Gould, TV spots, and a booklet essay by Mark Dawidziak, author of The Night Stalker Companion.

5/5 beers

Kolchak: The Night Stalker - The Complete Series

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- October 12, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; four-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Kolchak: The Night Stalker, the uniquely eerie mystery series that paved the way for The X-Files, finally comes to Blu-ray with all 20 episodes digitally restored to capture every shiver, every scream and every bump in the night. Emmy nominee Darren McGavin reprises his role from the popular television movies The Night Stalker (1972) and The Night Strangler (1973) 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, Tom Skerritt, Dick Van Patten, Jamie Farr, Phil Silvers, Jim Backus, William Smith, Julie Adams, Cathy Lee Crosby, Carolyn Jones, Tom Bosley and many more. Kolchak: The Night Stalker co-starred Simon Oakland (Bullitt) and Ruth McDevitt (The Birds).

Video:

Kino Lorber presents The Night Stalker television series on 1080p with a fine remastering job for its HD debut. Using the original 35mm negatives for the restoration, the results are damn impressive for both titles. Colors are pumped up. Shadows are more defined than ever. Interior scenes have depth and warmth and the exterior shots feel alive and vibrant, which is cool considering the many nighttime action scenes in these two movies. There are textures in the clothes of the cast and, overall, a bit more vibrancy to what has previously been issued on 1080p. 

Audio:

The sound is presented in a thunderous DTS-HD Master Audio mono that adds a bit more thump to some of the action scenes. The aspect ratio of the release is the original 1.33:1.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for breakdown.

Special Features:

All 20 episodes are broken down below, along with their commentaries.  There are a ton of bonus features included in this release, including 20 commentaries, fourteen newly remastered TV spots, and an essay.

  • Booklet with essay by Mark Dawidziak, the author of The Night Stalker Companion and Kolchak Novel, Grave Secrets
  • Audio commentary for “The Ripper” by Mark Dawidziak, the author of The Night Stalker Companion and Kolchak Novel, Grave Secrets
  • Audio commentary for “The Zombie” by author/historian David J. Schow
  • Audio commentary for “They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be…” by novelist/critic Kim Newman and writer/journalist Barry Forshaw
  • Audio commentary for “The Vampire” by film historian Tim Lucas
  • Audio commentary for “The Werewolf” by film historian Constantine Nasr
  • Interview with David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos and co-writer of eight Kolchak: The Night Stalker episodes (1080p; 00:09:03)
  • Audio commentary for “Firefall” by author/historian David J. Schow
  • Audio commentary for “The Devil’s Platform” by film historian Constantine Nasr and screenwriter/producer Rodney Barnes
  • Audio commentary for “Bad Medicine” by film historian/screenwriter Steve Haberman
  • Audio commentary for “The Spanish Moss Murders” by filmmaker/historian Steve Mitchell and screenwriter/producer Cyrus Voris
  • Audio commentary for “The Energy Eater” by Mike White and Chris Stachiw of The Kolchak Tapes podcast
  • Interview with Dana Gould, the creator of Stan Against Evil (1080p; 00:11:13)
  • “The Devil’s Platform” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:35)
  • “Bad Medicine” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • “The Spanish Moss Murders” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • “The Energy Eater” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:32)
  • Audio commentary for “Horror in the Heights” by film historian/screenwriter Gary Gerani
  • Audio commentary for “Mr. R.I.N.G.” by filmmaker/historian Steve Mitchell and screenwriter/producer Cyrus Voris
  • Audio commentary for “Primal Scream” by filmmaker/historian Steve Mitchell and screenwriter/producer Cyrus Voris
  • Audio commentary for “The Trevi Collection” by film historian/author Amanda Reyes
  • Audio commentary for “Chopper” by novelist/critic Kim Newman and writer/journalist Barry Forshaw
  • “Horror in the Heights” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • R.I.N.G.” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • “Primal Scream” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • “The Trevi Collection” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • “Chopper” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • Audio commentary for “Demon in Lace” by novelist/critic Kim Newman and writer/journalist Barry Forshaw
  • Audio commentary for “Legacy of Terror” by film historian/author Amanda Reyes
  • Audio commentary for “The Knightly Murders” by filmmaker/historian Michael Schlesinger
  • Audio commentary for “The Youth Killer” by novelist/critic Kim Newman and writer/journalist Barry Forshaw
  • Audio commentary for “The Sentry” by film historian/screenwriter Gary Gerani
  • “Demon in Lace” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)
  • “Legacy of Terror” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:35)
  • “The Knightly Murders” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:33)
  • “The Youth Killer” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:33)
  • “The Sentry” TV Spot (1080p; 00:00:34)

DISC ONE:

“The Ripper” directed by Allen Baron, written by Rudolph Borchert, aired September 13, 1974, 51:29 Minutes.

“The Zombie” directed by Alex Grasshoff, written by David Chase and Zekial Marko, aired September 20, 1974, 51:10 Minutes.

“They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be….” directed by Allen Baron, written by Dennis Clark and Rudolph Borchert, aired September 27, 1974, 51:30 Minutes.

“The Vampire” directed by Don Weis, written by Bill Stratton and David Chase, aired October 4, 1974, 51:31 Minutes.

“The Werewolf” directed by Allen Baron, written by David Chase and Paul Playdon, aired November 1, 1974, 50:32 minutes.

 

DISC TWO:

“Firefall” directed by Don Weis, written by Bill S. Ballinger, aired November 8, 1974, 51:12 Minutes.

“The Devil’s Platform” directed by Allen Barron, written by Tim Maschler and Donn Mullally, aired November 15, 1974, 51:12 Minutes.

“Bad Medicine” directed by Alex Grasshoff, written by L. Ford Neale & John Huff, aired November 29, 1974, 51:32 minutes.

“The Spanish Moss Murders” directed by Gordon Hessler, written by David Chase and Al Friedman, aired December 6, 1974, 51:22 minutes.

“The Energy Eater” directed by Alex Grasshoff, written by Rudolph Bochert and Arthur Rowe, aired December 13, 1974, 51:32 Minutes.

 

DISC THREE:

“Horror in the Heights” directed by Michael T. Caffey, written by Jimmy Sangster, aired December 20, 1974, 51:05 minutes.

“Mr. R.I.N.G.” directed by Gene Levitt, written by L. Ford Neale & John Huff, aired January 10, 1975, 51:01 Minutes.

“Primal Scream” directed by Robert Scheerer, written by Bill S. Ballinger and David Chase, aired January 17, 1975, 50:09 Minutes.

“The Trevi Collection” directed by Don Weis, written by Rudolph Borchert, aired January 24, 1975, 50:11 Minutes.

“Chopper” directed by Bruce Kessler, written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale and Steve Fisher & David Chase, aired January 31, 1975, 50:14 Minutes.

 

DISC FOUR:

“Demon in Lace” directed by Don Weis, written by Michael Kozoll & David Chase & Stephen Lord, aired February 7, 1975, 50:28 minutes. Audio Commentary supplied by Novelist/Critic Kim Newman and Writer/Journalist Barry Forshaw.

“Legacy of Terror” directed by Don McDougall, written by Arthur Rowe, aired February 14, 1975, 50:11 minutes.

“The Knightly Murders” directed by Vincent McEveety, written by Paul Magistretti and Michael Kozoll and David Chase, aired March 7, 1975, 50:12 Minutes.

“The Youth Killer” directed by Don McDougall, written by Rudolph Borchert, aired March 14, 1975, 50:15 Minutes.

“The Sentry” directed by Seymour Robbie, written by L. Ford Neale & John Huff, aired March 28, 1975, 50:12 Minutes.

Scoop up this release!  Make no mistake about it, the truth is IN here!

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4.5/5 stars

 

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