The Night Strangler (1973) torrent download

The Night Strangler

1973

Crime / Horror / Mystery / Thriller

7.5

Synopsis

Reporter Carl Kolchak is now in Seattle, Washington, trying to solve the mystery of several strangulations that recur every few years where the victims are drained of blood in this second made for TV pilot.

Director

Dan Curtis

Cast

Darren McGavin
as Carl Kolchak
Jo Ann Pflug
as Louise Harper
Simon Oakland
as Tony Vincenzo
Scott Brady
as Capt. Schubert
Wally Cox
as Mr. Berry
Margaret Hamilton
as Prof. Crabwell
John Carradine
as Llewellyn Crossbinder

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by a_l_i_e_n N/A

Down Another Dark Alley With Kolchak

The original network thriller "The Night Stalker" was such a mammoth ratings hit that the following year ABC broadcast this highly successful sequel that proved the character of Carl Kolchak had the potential for still more adventures.

The approach of "The Night Strangler" pretty much follows the formula of the original tale in which reporter Carl Kolchak searched for a killer who turned out to be a modern day vampire. In "The Night Strangler", while victims are being murdered by yet another mysterious killer, the variation here is that he doesn't bite their necks but rather crushes them in his grip. Only then does he remove a small amount of blood, but drawing it through a syringe rather than with the use of fangs.

Other basic conventions carried over from the original include an action-packed sequence in which police attempting to capture the strangler discover that, like the vampire, this killer is too powerful to subdue with the use of conventional methods. There's also the climactic encounter in which, once again, it's Kolchak who tracks the killer to his lair. Oh, and of course there's the tie-up at the end where Carl is once again prevented from reporting the facts of the case.

However, distinguishing "The Night Strangler" from the original and elevating it above a simple carbon copy is the interesting back story of the killer (supplied by the imagination of the brilliant Richard Matheson). We learn here that the "Strangler" is actually Dr. Richard Malcolm, a 19th century surgeon who'd been experimenting with a method of extending life beyond normal human length. He eventually develops an elixir made from, among other ingredients, human blood.

In a scene that's both riveting and amusing, Kolchak explains his theory to skeptical police officials that the bloody trail of murders can be traced from the then present day Seattle of the 1970's all the way back to the previous century.

Indeed, Dr. Malcolm is not a ravenous vampire in search of food, but rather a mad scientist in need donors. When they eventually meet, Dr. Malcolm reveals to Kolchak that he considers these murders a small price to pay compared to the benefits that his blood-based elixir will bring to mankind.

Seattle's underground city turns out to be an inspired setting that greatly enhances the eerie atmosphere of the conclusion when Kolchak descends into it's musty depths in search of the killer. Playing the murderous Doctor is actor Richard Anderson who alternates his performance between a cultured sophistication and an explosive menace. This is probably his best work as an actor.

One other thing that sets this sequel apart from the original is the script's somewhat greater emphasis on humour amid the spooky elements. Thankfully, this works quite well without diminishing the suspenseful aspects of the story. Particularly memorable are the scenes between Kolchak, the reckless, pit-bull of a character who refuses to give up on his story, and Tony Vincenzo, the harried newspaper editor more desperate to please his employers than in committing the professional suicide of backing his ace reporter. Their exchanges are extremely funny and actors Darren McGavin and Simon Oakland carry them off with great élan.

Of course it's debatable whether "The Night Strangler" is actually a superior film or more frightening than "The Night Stalker". Certain touches in the original (like the vampire's hungry, black eyes presented in spine tingling closeups) are perfect, indelible and hard to top.

There is a case to be made that silent characters just seem more mysterious and frightening than those who have a lot to say (like "The Night Strangler's" more loquacious villain). The vampire of the first film doesn't utter a single word, but instead hisses like some vicious beast and this makes him seem more alien in nature than the refined, well-spoken mad Doctor. At the same time, the Strangler crashing through a window to attack a young girl is a pretty startling moment, too, as is his degeneration at the end into a living corpse. Indeed both films contain some undeniably memorable chills courtesy of their titular characters.

It does seem the over-all tone of the "The Night Strangler" (with it's well balanced, dead-on ratio of humour to horror) is what the subsequent "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" series most seems to have been trying to emulate. If you're interested in that series, you can click on the a_l_i_e_n link for reviews of all 20 episodes.

Reviewed by The_Void 7 /10

Kolchak is back in a superior follow-up to The Night Stalker!

The Night Strangler is the follow up to the successful 1972 TV movie 'The Night Stalker'. Aside from featuring similar titles, the films also share similar plot lines, and it could be said that this is something of a remake of the first film with a slightly more in depth story. I won't profess to be a big fan of the first film in the series, although I found it to be a more than decent TV movie and I did enjoy it. This film isn't a big improvement over the first one, although I would say it's an improvement; with a longer running time and a more well thought-out plot, this one delves into it's subject matter more and feels more like a proper movie than a made for TV movie. Darren McGavin once again plays Kolchak; a maverick reporter who this time finds himself in Seattle after being ran out of Las Vegas (probably for annoying everyone with his constant persistence!). Coincidence strikes and pretty soon he's on the trail of yet another vampire! He discovers that every 21 years for over a hundred years, a group of people have been killed within a small time period and thinks the murders are connected.

The thing that stands out most about this film is most definitely the central performance from Darren McGavin. His portrayal of the stubborn reporter is great to watch and always ensures that the film is entertaining. A lot of the film consists of our unlikely hero trying to convince the relevant authorities that his suspicions are fact and them disbelieving them. These scenes are fairly clichéd, although they are fun to watch; and again it's mostly because of McGavin's excellent impersonation of the central character. Since the film is really about the detective on the trail of the vampire, there's not a great deal of actual bloodshed or bloodsucking in the film, although that isn't much of a hindrance because as a thriller it works very well and director Dan Curtis does manage to create several moments of suspense that kick the action up a level. It's always obvious where it's all going, and the ending doesn't come as a surprise; but it's a fun time getting there. This film and the first one were pilots for a TV series and obviously they did the trick because Kolchak was solving more mysteries in his own TV series a year after this film was released.

Reviewed by Sargebri N/A

As Good As the Original

This is the sequel to the hugely successful "Night Stalker" and unlike most sequels this one was just as frightening and just as funny as the original. The story has just the right mix of horror and humor to have made it as successful as it was. The fact that it never took itself seriously and Darrin McGavin's performance helped to make this a very memorable film. After this the critically acclaimed, but short lived series was released the next year and it like this film and its predecessor are still great to watch.

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