I’ve Seen More Dead Bodies Than You’ve Had TV Dinners

August 8, 2008

I recently noticed a channel on my TV called “Chiller”. Seems its been around for a year and I haven’t paid that much attention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiller_(TV_channel)). As usual I am off thinking about mundane things having to do with making a living, feeding my fat face, and getting enough sleep.

I found it by accident. I was setting up a DVR search to catch any episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Much to my surprise a bunch of hits showed up. I am in Stalker heaven.

It is rumored that X-Files creator Chris Carter said one of his major influences was watching Kolchak: The Night Stalker as a child. There are similar threads from the Night Stalker in the X-Files. Still, X-Files has taken the ideas much further, and added many new ones as well but in my mind, the Night Stalker still reins supreme.

For those of you that haven’t seen the Night Stalker, the series was based on a TV movie The Night Stalker, and its sequel, The Night Strangler. There was a total of 20 episodes, running from September 1974, until April 1975 and still has a substantial cult following.

The concept of The Night Stalker series was of reporter, Carl Kolchak, working for the Independent News Service in Chicago, encounters the unnatural. Each week he dealt with a supernatural (mystical, scientific, alien or whatever) threat. Each week brought us a series of grisly related murders, involving blood draining, marrow loss, old age, spine snapping, or use of medieval weaponry. Inevitably, the lame local authorities are intent on ignoring or covering up the true nature of the murders, while Kolchak’s boss refuses to believe his employee. In the end, Karl seems to figure it out but never gets the full story printed.

The Night Stalker as a series was probably doomed to a single season. There aren’t enough unique ideas to do varied stories within the shows chosen format. Towards the end, episodes of The Night Stalker (like The Sentry and The Youth Killer) were dredging the bottom of the barrel. But I still find myself watching with a stupid grin on my face. It is just so mind numbingly entertaining and just enough campy that I can’t help myself. Even the “over-the-top” melodramatic style of Darren McGavin hasn’t caused me to quit watching. I would love to see a mash-up of Night Stalker and Christmas Story. Ralphy could be hacked to death by those fantasy outlaws and his foul-mouthed father/reporter could solve it. I would watch!!

And if you are wondering about the title of this post, it is my favorite quote from the series.

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2 Responses to “I’ve Seen More Dead Bodies Than You’ve Had TV Dinners”

  1. bmoviehero said

    Sounds really interesting – I’ll try and hunt it out!

  2. WebPulp said

    I’ve been hoping for hulu.com to run The Night Stalker. Now that I know Chiller runs it, I’ll have to check there. We get Chiller on-demand but don’t have a regular channel. They are also online, so episodes might be there too.

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