Before “The X-Files” became the defining genre show of the Nineties, there was “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” with Darren McGavin as an eccentric newspaper reporter crossing paths with the paranormal. Without that short-lived 1970’s TV series there never would have been a Mulder or Scully.
And before the ahead-of-its-time “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” came and went in one season, a pair of critically praised and highly rated made-for-TV movies introduced the world to an intrepid reporter named Carl Kolchak with a nose for getting in deep trouble with monsters, maniacs, and the macabre.
Kino Lorber has been quietly making waves in the niche blu-ray collector’s market of late. Later this year (date to be announced) they’ll do it again when they not only release those two “Kolchak” TV movies to blu-ray for the first time ever (and DVD, both features sold separately), they’re even going the extra mile to provide 4K remasters of these gems.
Kolchak first stalked the night in 1972’s The Night Stalker, which, for years, held the distinction of being the highest rated TV movie of all time:
After several high-profile newspapers fire him for his difficult attitude, investigative journalist Carl Kolchak finds a job following the police beat for a small Las Vegas publication. When Carl discovers a series of dead showgirls drained of blood with bite marks on their necks, the police hesitate to take the case any further, and his boss wants nothing to do with the story, leading Carl to believe there may be a real vampire prowling the city streets. Starring Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Ralph Meeker, and Claude Akins.
The rousing success of the first feature led to his return a year later in The Night Strangler:
Reporter Kolchak (Darren McGavin) searches Seattle for a killer who seems to be strangling his victims every 20 years and taking a little of their blood. Starring Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Scott Brady, Margaret Hamilton, and John Carradine.
Both films were produced by the legendary Dan Curtis (“Dark Shadows”, Trilogy of Terror, Burnt Offerings) and written by a guy by the name of Richard Matheson (“Twilight Zone”, I Am Legend); quite the pedigree for a pair of early Seventies telefilms.
These two eerie features paved the way for the eventual television series, which, hopefully, will be next to get a remastered Blu-ray.
No further details as to what Kino Lorber has for these two aside from both being 4K remasters. Probably shouldn’t expect too much given most of the principle players both in front and behind the camera have long departed us.