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  • First, to set things straight, the film's copyright date is 1986, year of release, but video release is 1987. If you are lucky enough to find a VHS copy, there was only one release, and not on DVD yet, and you can find it for just a few dollars, and you're a genre fan, get it. This was given the go ahead right after the Richard Ramirez murder spree as the Night Stalker in Los Angeles in the summer of 1985, to capitalize on that wave of fear that ran through the city, well-fed by a hysterical news media. It actually has a seemingly unstoppable serial killer preying on mostly street-walkers late at night, whereas Ramirez slipped into homes and killed those in their sleep, a much more frightening premise. The similarity with Ramirez is in name, location, satanic style influences, and that's about it. Otherwise, the film plays very much like an episode of the TV series, Kolchak, the Night Stalker, with it's supernatural elements, invincible killer, and TV-movie style of production, plus some cheesy lines, some over-acting, and several good character actors, but without the great Kolchak himself. Charles Napier is an adequate lead, and Robert Z'Dar is a spooky serial killer, check out his photo here on IMDb and you'll see why. For genre fans who are a little forgiving of the silly moments, it won't be a waste of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Chain-smoking, liquor-swilling homicide detective Sergeant JJ Striker(Charlies Napier)and his loyal street-wise tough partner Charlie Garrett(Robert Viharo)are after a massive, nearly unstoppable serial killer(Maniac Cop's Robert Z'Dar), whose Asian ritualistic practices(..chanting gibberish, snapping victims necks and painting the faces white, inscribing ancient symbols on their bodies with black ink)render his body impervious to bullets. This psycho, Chuck Sommers, is an unhinged ex-mercenary, forgoing proper psychiatric methods, opting for "self-healing" and it seems that when he kills, he gains a power over death! Striker's alcoholism is a major problem that continually plagues him throughout the film. After his partner is killed by Chuck when happening upon a fresh crime scene involving a recently murdered hooker he's checking on, a more sober, determined Striker pursues his adversary. Michelle Reese stars as Striker's long-suffering, ridiculously dependable lover, Rene(..once a call-girl gone straight)and the absolutely beautiful Katherine Kelly Lang(..a veteran soap opera actress)is her "surrogate daughter" Denise, who he will not, come hell or high water, let sink into the business of prostitution no matter what proposals sleazy pimp Julius(James Watkins)offers her way. Just guess who Chuck will eventually target? You bet, Rene and, especially, Denise. It'll be up to Striker and the police to somehow stop this killer or else his murder spree may never end as long as his power continues to progress.

    It was a thrill to see The Nape in the starring role, even if for a cop action drama with serial killer undertones. Many of the traits associated with cop actioners are in this film. The usual liquor store shoot-out spilling into an exciting chase throughout the streets of gritty Los Angeles. The lead cop's partner being killed. The lead cop seeking revenge, motivated to find justice for his fallen comrade. The film has the usual seedy elements of street prostitution and cop stake-outs looking for the killer. As often is the case in these thrillers, the killer often stays ahead of the police, with a help coming from another source, Chuck's former psychologist. You have the usual friction between Striker and his superiors. And, we see a great number of policemen blown to smithereens in the climactic shoot-out as Striker himself must stop Chuck, who captures Denise prisoner equipped with a machine gun having taken a cop car from the film's department ass, Vic(Gary Crosby)who remains a thorn in our hero's side throughout. But, I was so jazzed about The Nape, intense as ever, squaring off with the menacing Z'Dar that despite the film's very standard presentation, I couldn't help but embrace this thriller. Sometimes it was hard seeing Napier in such a drunken, pathetic state, but when he gets his act together, the film builds up to a action-packed close inside a warehouse. I found the plot, regarding Z'Dar's ability to withstand bullets a bit silly, but he cuts a very monstrous figure, silhouetted in darkness. And, his ferocious attacks on victims, hoisting them in the air, breaking their necks with such a vicious snap, certainly leaves an impression even if these murders aren't gory. But, this is The Nape's show all the way and there is a span of time when the killer isn't even present in the movie as director Max Kleven(..known more for his stunts, which isn't surprising due to the well-choreographed action sequences in this film)focuses in on Striker and his story. The film really seems to build around his relationship with Rene and Denise, his daily consumption with alcohol which hinders his duty as a cop, and the important friendship with partner Garrett(..Nape's camaraderie/chemistry with Viharo is an asset to this film, I felt). A useless sub-plot has Denise growing close with a young pup detective, Buddy Brown(Joseph Gian).
  • Charles Napier gives a good performance as boozing detective J.J.Stryker, pursuing a call girl killer. If you demand realism as part of your movie experience, then I suggest skipping "The Night Stalker", because the killer is practically immortal, and bullets do not even phase him. It is this killer that cannot die angle which requires complete suspension of disbelief by the viewer. What you wind up with is yet another "Dirty Harry" clone, with a psycho villain and a cop who finds trouble wherever he goes. Stryker stops for breakfast and gets hassled into a fistfight. Stryker stops for a beer and interrupts a robbery in progress. You get the picture. - MERK
  • In one sense, watching The Night Stalker, is kind of like watching Roots of Evil that kind of bares similarities. They're both sleazy, straight to video flicks, and that sleazy cop Vic, in this, whose mouth is like a gutter, reminded me of the killer in Roots Of Evil in looks and voice. But in this psycho thriller, where boozing cop Napier is thankfully the lead, we're battling an unstoppable evil, a maniac cop sort, where fired bullets don't work, but just put holes in this faceless being of incredible human strength. Is this guy human. Yes? It almost stretches the reality factor, kind of making us think, may'be this is possible, plausible. Napier makes a meal of his starring lead, carrying this film, out to catch this maniac, who's been disposing of a few prostitutes. J.J (Napier) is in love with such a woman, a pro, who of course, is losing a couple of her close pro friends/lovelies, even a younger Joan Chen, to this psychopath. They have, what you could say, is a love hate relationship. There are a lot of things to this film that are fun: 1- Napier fixing a dude and his mate who try to get smart at a hot dog stand, ruining his morning coffee. His partner watches on amused, saying to Napier, in aid of some help with one big guy, "Oh, you own him". 2) Napier blacking out on a rooftop where his partner almost thinks Napier's gone, then when he revives, he gives him a piece of his mind. 3) Vic giving a younger cop, Joey Gian (Death Before Dishonor) some rookie advice about falling for the younger sister of Napier's woman. Gian retaliates verbally, then storms out of the car, with Vic, saying "Sensitive little, ain't he". And 4) Vic then makes out with a woman who's not a woman, and he's caught with his pants down by Napier and co, such a figure of mortification. What was great about the film, though was the cool talking pimp, Julius, who wraps up his words in riddles. This black pimp is Napier's nemeses, and with such a cool and slick demeanor, I almost feel, Napier's gum chewing partner, envies Julius. He even smooth talks Gian's love interest, in joining his stable when he drops in on her sixteenth birthday, Napier, making sure this won't happen when telling the older sister straight, later at the party, the song "On The Edge Of Love" playing off, nearby at muffled volume. He then makes a joke about Julius, that is indeed, in bad taste. Julius and his mates even try to take on The Night Stalker. Guess how that works out. Whatever your fancy, to all you b grade lovers out there, this isn't a bad pick, and The Night Stalker isn't a dude who'll go down easily. Adequate flick, with somewhat of a uninviting cover, like the freak himself.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Gruff booze-sodden Sergeant J.J. Stryker (Charles Napier in top rough'n'tumble form) and his sarcastic partner Charlie Garrett (an excellent and engaging performance by Robert Viharo) go after a vicious crazed psycho (a supremely creepy portrayal by the hulking Robert Z'Dar of "Maniac Cop" fame) who's ritualistically murdering prostitutes in order to acquire great power and immortality. Director Max Kleven, working from a familiar, but still serviceable script by John Goff and Don Edmonds, relates the absorbing story at a snappy pace, maintains a tough gritty tone throughout, makes good use of grimy urban locations, and sprinkles in a little tasty female nudity for added sleaze value. The shoot-outs and fisticuffs are staged with skill and gusto, with the fierce climactic confrontation between the nutjob and the police in a warehouse rating as the definite exciting highlight. With his brawny physique, extraordinary feats of superhuman strength, and his constant spooky chanting, Z'Dar's lunatic cuts quite an imposing and menacing figure. Moreover, it's a real treat to see crusty character actor Napier scowl and growl his way through a rare juicy lead role. This movie further benefits from sound contributions from Michelle Reese as J.J.'s sassy ex-hooker girlfriend Rene, Gary Crosy as insensitive jerk Vic Gallagher, Katherine Kelly Long as the sweet Denise, James Watkins as mean pimp Julius, Joey Gian as nice guy Detective Buddy Brown, and Goff as the no-nonsense police captain. Popping up in neat bits are delectable redhead Lydie Denier as the killer's first victim and the ubiquitous George "Buck" Flower in one of his trademark seedy bum roles. The sharp cinematography by Don Burgess provides a cool glittery neon look. The pulsating score by David Kitay, Sam Winans, and Richard Kosinski hits the stirring spot. A fun little flick.
  • this movie was made in 1985. but the quality especially the DVD that i got from netflix is pretty bad. other than that charles napier character is really ever likable at all. Except maybe a little bit at the end. also the DVD still gallery is pathetic LOL.

    the true reason i got this movie is for Robert Z'dar this is I believe his first starring role in a movie. He plays the serial killer and you never see his face until the end just like maniac cop. he breaks peoples neck like maniac cop. and throws people really far like maniac cop. in the interview in the spec edition of maniac cop DVD z'dar states that he instantly got the role for maniac cop because of this movie. Now I'm pretty sure why from the reasons I stated above.

    the best part is the ending far superior than any other part of the film. also i enjoy the part when Z'dar says SAY OODA when he kills all the black pimps in the warehouse. there is lightning when he says it.

    also there is a great part when z'dar is killing animals.

    overall, if you like Z'dar or maniac cop you might want to watch and fast forward as well. this movie isn't really that entertaining at all except for that Z'dar is in it.
  • dgih8u17 November 2001
    This movie is junk, it isn't scary or even entertaining to watch.

    i actually paid seven dollars for this tape, in the hopes it would be a cool slasher flick, boy, was I wrong. In case your interested, this movie is about a serial killer who preys on woman, killing them so he can gain some sort of supernatural strength from their deaths, with each kill he grows stronger. Charles napier fresh off of RAMBO FIRST BLOOD 2, is the detective(JJ Striker) who is assigned the case to unravel the night stalker's identity, played by John Goff (THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY). This movie is noteworthy for the appearance of Ola Ray the girl who played Michael Jackson's girlfriend in the THRILLER music video, one of only 5 0r 6 movies that she has appeared in.