31 Days of Halloween! #10. The Night Stalker

I’m counting down my favorite 31 Horror Movies of all time. Every day this month I’ll feature one movie from my list – starting on Oct 1st with #31 and ending  on the Oct 31st, Halloween, with my #1 favorite scary movie.

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THE TOP 31 HORROR MOVIES OF ALL TIME

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#10. The Night Stalker (1972)

Directed by: John Llewellyn Moxey

Starring: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Carol Lynley, Barry Atwater

Plot: Carl Kolchak is a newspaper reporter with an abrasive personality that has gotten him fired ten times from various big-city papers. Now he’s reduced to reporting for a relatively small-time paper in Las Vegas. It’s here he gets the story of his life. But will the local sheriff, or the D.A., or even his own boss, let him print it? He has an ally in the FBI agent brought in to investigate this strange case. It seems someone is biting the necks of young girls and draining their blood. Can this killer with supernormal powers really be a 70-year-old Rumanian millionaire? Can he really be a vampire? And can an aging reporter do anything to stop him?

My Thoughts

This has always been one of my all-time favorite vampire movies. It was made for TV back in 1972 and became the most watched movie in that year and held that honor for a few years after. The reason for the massive success of The Night Stalker is two-fold: one, the charisma of Darin McGavin as Carl Kolchak and two, the story which at the time was the first vampire movie to be “self aware” and modern day. Before Night Stalker vampire films mostly took place in Gothic castles and foggy moors. But this one took place in present day Las Vegas and instead of the Van Helsing vampire hunter character, we get a newspaper reporter that at first thinks he is chasing a lunatic that thinks he is Count Dracula – but soon he comes to find out that this dude may very well be the real deal. The character of Kolchak was so great that he got his own television series there for awhile and influenced future TV shows like the X-Files. While there are certain parts of The Night Stalker that are a bit dated and cheesy, but holy shit dudes, the ending inside the vampires creepy old house is one of the best vampire scenes to ever be filmed. For the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film it’s just Kolchak sneaking around the house taking snap shots of coffins and pints of blood and finding a tied up victim of the vampire. The whole time there is NO music – just creaky floor boards and bumps out of sight. Each time we are expecting the vampire to pop out! A great, great scene and gives me goosebumps every time. WATCH IT!

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