14 September 2000 | mr. sardonicus
One of the best made-for-TV movies ever
The 1970s produced a large volume of made-for-TV movies, and, unlike today, they did not have to be about relevant social topics or preach political correctness. Back then, TV movies could actually be made with no intent other than to entertain--what a decade!
The Night Stalker is one of the very best of these made-for-TV films. Be warned, the production values are not as good as a feature film, but the story, the writing, the acting, and the director's mastery of creepiness make up for any other faults. From McGavin on down the line, the acting is terrific! In fact, Carl Kolchak may be McGavin's finest role. Richard Matheson's writing is up to his usual standards of excellence. Barry Atwater is a great bit of casting as the vampire. If there is one fault, and it has to be laid at the feet of the director, it is the inept use of a stunt man as a substitute for Atwater during the action scenes. In some scenes it is painfully obvious that it is not Atwater; it's a wonder the scenes weren't clipped. But this is the price that is paid for a TV movie with a short shooting schedule. As a whole, The Night Stalker is one of the very best vampire movies ever made. Don't let a few faults deter you from an otherwise classic bit of horror film-making. Remember, this is a TV movie; if you want lots of gore, don't waste your time.