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February 19, 2017

The Kolchak Tapes: The Night Strangler (1973)

Reporter Carl Kolchak's second reported encounter with the supernatural, The Night Strangler, was broadcast on the night of January 16, 1973.

Chris Stachiw and Mike White discuss The Night Stalker and the character of Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin). Written by (and later adapted for a novel by Kolchak creator Jeff Rice), the made-for-TV movie was directed by Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows).

Special Guest: Amanda Reyes, editor of Are You In The House Alone?: A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999.

Listen/Download Now:

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Music by John Walker, Robert Cobert, Gil Milles


  1. I love this series, The Night Strangler is so much better than the original Night Stalker movie. As far as the cameo appearances of Margaret Hamilton, Al Lewis, etc., their additional scenes were cut out. I have been to Seattle on multiple occasions and my favorite thing to do is go on the underground tour. Why they haven’t done a horror movie there is beyond me. The Night Strangler underground sequences were filmed at the “Bradbury Building” the same location as Blade Runner .FYI

  2. Tough love, guys... Your assessment of STRANGLER is pretty much dead on, though it's still good to see McGavin and Oakland do their thing, and the supporting cast.

    One thing with 70's television - for the most part, comparing it to contemporary tv series is going to result in a lot of headache and disappointment. Most of it was completely geared around formula and grinding out 24 hours for a season, so there's not a lot of continuity in the storytelling. It is what it is.

    Never really bothered by the fact that Kolchak encounters a lot of monsters in Chicago (although two episodes, "The Werewolf" and "The Vampire" take place outside of Chicago)... it's the same conceit of events taking place in a major metropolitan city that the comics use... only instead of using New York or L.A., they used someplace that was relatively fresh, but still had that metropolitan feel. For me, I don't need an explanation why there are so many monsters and weird shit in Chicago... it's enough that it DOES exist, and out of the sight of most people. Like Kolchak's tagline says, "it couldn't happen HERE..."

    Surprised that Amanda didn't mention one recent example of a Lifetime tv movie that did feature the supernatural and homaged a tv-movie classic: the James Franco-produced remake of MOTHER, MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER?, featuring The Franco in full smarm and Lesbian Vampires!

    Great work as usual... looking forward to the NORLISS TAPES segment.