Kolchak Review

Kolchak: The Night Stalker was an American television series. It was created by Jeff Rice during the 70s.  The series had a combination of science fiction, supernatural, horror and thriller elements.   This TV series came after two TV movies, The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler in 1971 and 1975, respectively. The Kolchak TV series was then cancelled after one season because of its average ratings.  Originally, the show had 26 episodes, but only completed 20 episodes.  The unexceptional ratings of the show made its star unhappy and so it was cancelled.

The novel “The Kolchak Papers” by Jeff Rice was the inspiration to the two TV movies and the series.  It was opted to have a title “The Kolchak Chronicles”.  Alternatively, the said novel was really intended to be shown on screen, so it was not published until the two movies were shown on TV.  The original novel was then published by Pocket Books as a popular paperback with the title “The Night Stalker”, with Darren McGavin’s photo on its cover.  The second movie was also novelized, written also by Jeff Rice and was based on the original script of Richard Matheson.  The said novel was republished as an anthology edition in 2007 by Moonstone, entitled “The Kolchak Papers”.

Kolchak The Night Stalker

The Night Stalker was then made into a script by Richard Matheson.  It was directed by a theatrical and TV movie veteran, John Llewllyn Moxey and produced by Dan Curtis.  The said movie became the highest rated original movie of ABC.  It was the first ever TV movie that had 54 shares and 33.2 ratings.  The said movie gave Matheson an Edgar Award for Best TV Feature or Miniseries Teleplay in 1973.

The Night Stalker was broadcasted on January 11 1972.  It is a story about an investigative journalist.  A series of murders made Carl Kolchak (the investigative journalist) believe that a serial killer is lurking around The Strip of Las Vegas.  He wrote a story about his suspected serial killings, but the authorities held it back.  Kolchak suspected that the killer was a vampire.  Precisely, his suspicions were real when he saw with his own eyes evidences of a real vampire.  In this movie, he took down the vampire killer by himself. Yet, he lost his job and his girlfriend (who was earning a living as a dancer and was later on blackmailed by the police).

The second movie was aired on January 19, 1973. The second movie was entitled “The Night Strangler”.  In this movie, Carl Kolchak moved in to Seattle since he had no reason to be in Las Vegas. Kolchak was then hired by his old editor, Tony Vincenzo who assigned him to take on a story of another series of killings.  All the victims of the killings were exotic dancers, whose necks were crushed because of strangulation and as well as a few ounces of blood drained from their bodies.

Kolchak together with the help of a researcher named Titus Barry discovered that the murders recur every 21 years.  The killer is an elixir of life and a surgeon in Westside Mercy Hospital during the Civil War, named Dr. Richard Malcolm.  Kolchak found a painting of the doctor who was the living image of a Dr. Malcom Richards, the founder of the clinic where Kolchak went to hoping to find old hospital records. Kolchak was then set to chase the killer before he completes his elixir and disappear again. Due to limitations on time, some scenes on the second movie was cut.

In September 29 2005, the Night Stalker series was aired again on ABC but was cancelled on November 14 2005 because of low ratings.  The series was available in DVD on that same year.  Also, Kolchak’s character was acknowledged in the show by The X-Files creator, Chris Carter.  He mentioned on an interview that 30% of his show was indeed inspired by the Kolchak series.  In order to pay tribute to Kolchak, Carter named a character “Richard Matheson” appeared in several episodes of X-files.  However, McGavin appeared in several episodes of Carter’s series as a retired FBI agent named Arthur Dales as the “father of the X-files”.

Brundlefly Review

The Fly (1958)Brundlefly is a fictional character in a movie of a scientist who accidentally altered his DNA into a housefly of his own teleportation experiment.  The original short story of George Langelaan was produced into a film in the year 1958 entitle “The Fly” which was then remade in the 80’s, with the same title and theme but with a more gradual transformation of the “Brundlefly” character.

Kip Ohman, co-producer of 80s film “The Fly” suggested screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue to rewrite Langelaan’s short story.  Pogue was interested of doing the project after he had read and watched the original film.  He then convinced Stuart Cornfeld to help set up the movie’s production.

Cornfeld and Pogue talked to 20th Century Fox executives to help produce the “The Fly” remake and immediately got positive response.  Pogue wrote the first draft of the screenplay after receiving money from the film corporation.  Pogue and Cornfeld both agreed that the movie would have a better outcome if they focused on the slow metamorphosis of the character “Brundlefly”.

Yet the executives of the film corporation were not impressed of Pogue’s script.  Cornfeld, on the other hand closed a deal with 20th Century Fox to still distribute the film provided he would find another financier for the said movie.  So, Cornfeld convinced Mel Brooks of Brooksfilms to finance for them, however, Brooks believed that they should get a different writer.

Though Pogue was replaced by Walon Green, but brought back by Cornfeld to try again and polish the script.  Also, Cornfeld and Brooks are looking for the perfect director for the movie.  David Cronenberg was their first choice, who was then working on another project so was unable to do the remake.  Cornfeld then hired Robert Bierman, a young British director.

But due to some family issues, Bierman was then replaced by Cronenberg as director.  Cronenberg accepted Cornfeld’s offer provided that he will rewrite and pitch in his ideas for the script.  Yet, even with the major changes on Pogue’s script, Cronenberg still insisted that Pogue should share the credit with him for the movie’s screenplay.  This is because he thinks that his adaptation will not be realized if not for Pogue’s script.

After the long preparation, the casting for the movie was put together.  Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis were finally chosen for the lead roles.  Chris Walas was hired to supervise the extensive special effects of the film.  He was also the designer of the creatures in the movie “Gremlins”.  He won an Academy Award for the Best Makeup for this movie.

This 80s remake movie is about the story of a strange but brilliant scientist named Seth Brundle who met a journalist named Veronica Quiafe of Particle magazine at a press conference held by Bartok Science Industries, a company funding the scientist’s experiments.  The scientist invited Veronica to go to his laboratory which also is his home and show her his project that will change the world.

Seth’s project is a set of “Telepods” that instantly teleports an object from one pod to the other pod.  After seeing Seth’s project, Veronica finally agreed to document the scientist’s work.  In the beginning, Seth’s “Telepod” can perfectly transport non-living objects, but still needs reprogramming in order to transport living objects.

The two had a romantic relationship which inspired Seth to improve the “Telepod”.  Seth was very excited to share his success with Veronica, who left immediately before the two even started the celebration.  Veronica’s actions made Seth worried and frustrated. Seth thought that Veronica wanted to revive her old flame with Stathis Borans, Veronica’s editor and ex-lover.  Veronica’s actions led Seth to transport himself using his “Telepod”, oblivious of the fly that was with him in the pod.  After the process, Seth came out of the pod just the same.  He also felt an increase in his stamina, strength and sexual potency in which he thought were advantageous results of the teleportation he went through.

Seth, unaware that he already had a housefly’s genes mixed up in his genetic makeup, slowly began to encounter strange changes to his physical and mental health.  Veronica on the other hand learned that she was pregnant, yet was not sure if she got pregnant before or after the teleportation.  Veronica together with Borans tried to convince a doctor to abort the baby.

Seth tried to stop the two and forced Veronica to transport her and the baby so they could become just like him.  In the end, Veronica shot and killed Seth.