• The Night Strangler (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots



    Studio: Kino Lorber

    Release Date: January 16th, 1973 (tv premiere) / October 2nd, 2018 (blu-ray)

    Run Time: 90 mins

    Region Code: A (locked)

    Picture: 1080p (1.33:1 aspect ratio)

    Sound: English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Slipcover: Yes

    Digital Copy: No

    Starring: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Scott Brady, Margaret Hamilton, John Carradine, Richard Anderson

    Written by Richard Matheson

    Directed by Dan Curtis

    Rating: Not Rated


    THE FILM

    After being run out of Las Vegas, Kolchak heads for Seattle and another reporting job with the local paper. It's not long before he is on the trail of another string of bizarre murders. It seems that every 21 years, for the past century, a killer kills a certain number of people, drains them of their blood and then disappears into the night, that is until the next 21 years passes. Kolchak is on his trail, but the question is, can he stop him before he disappears again?

    What a wonderful time it was in the 70s, 80s, and 90s to have made for tv films. Many of these were advertised as “Movie of the Week” and would air on Sunday nights when the owners of the tv stations knew that people would be at home, eating dinner with their families in the front of the television. These films, like: Someone’s Watching Me, Snowbeast, and Dark Night of the Scarecrow just name a few, were mostly hits due to them being free and easy to watch.

    The Night Strangler is a sequel of sorts in that it contains the same main character as a film from the previous year, The Night Stalker. The tie between the two films, outside of the same behind the scenes people as the previous film, is Darrin McGavin. You will remember McGavin as the father in A Christmas Story. He was great in that film and he is great here. In fact, he is the best thing about the film. His performance here is there from the first scene in the film (well, not the first scene as there is a killing before that, but you get where I am coming from on this.) and he is in almost every scene. I don’t really know how to describe this performance other than a mix between a man excited about getting the story with a used car salesman, but not the sleazy kind of salesman, but the one that really needs that sale in order to keep the lights on. He is actually very nice to the people around, for the most part, which was something nice because after all of these films where reporters or P.I.’s we have today who always have to be wisecracking assholes.


    The plot of the film isn’t that great, but I do think that it played better when it aired as audiences hadn’t become the jaded pricks we are today. The film moves pretty well through this plot, never growing stale. There are also a few scares that will get many audience members with these scares never feel cheap or unearned.

    I really wish that I had been able to see this when it aired as it would have been a real treat. They don’t really make films like this anymore. Sure, we get made for tv movies, but these films can’t even hold a candle to what we used to get 30 or 40 years ago. What used to be used to be films like Duel, Devil Dog, and Trilogy of Terror now consists of Sharknado sequels and Disney Channel remakes or sequel to classic films (they remade Zapped, a raunchy comedy from the 80’s, as well as Freaky Friday, because we REALLY needed a second remake of that film.). The art of the TV movie has been lost a long time ago and that is a shame.

    The Night Strangler is a fun film that has aged fairly well. It isn’t as scary as it was back then, but that is fine because the film is still good. The nice thing here is that you don’t have to have seen The Night Stalker in order to get into this film so if you have a chance to watch this I would say take it. It is worth the watch.


    THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND

    Presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and sporting a brand new 4K restoration, The Night Strangler looks amazing. The thing that I noticed first was the colors. Boy do they pop. Red and green are just two of the colors that stand out the most. There is also an incredible amount of detail. Hairs on a coat, tassels on a belly dancer, and the pores on characters’ faces all look great. Film grain is thin, but still there as is a surprising amount of depth. All in all, I really love this transfer and more tv movies need to get this kind of treatment.

    The sound, in the form of a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track, really sounds great. Dialogue is great, but it is the score that stood out to me, making me want to listen to it separately. English subtitles are there for those who need or want them.

    THE PACKAGING


     Kino has really put together a nice package here. There is a nice slipcover featuring some very nice hand drawn artwork.


    The case artwork is the same which is fine with me. It really is some nice artwork.


     Also included is an 8 page booklet featuring a nice write up on the film by Simon Abrams.


    The disc art is the usual Kino Lorber disc art and is REGION A (locked)


    THE FEATURES

    Audio Commentary by film historian Tim Lucas


    A Little Night Music with Bob Cobert (10m 1s, HD) A nice interview with the 94-year-old composer. He talks about how he wanted to start the film without any music, something that the studio didn’t want. He also talks about his technique and how the music just comes to him, even in ways and at times he never expects it.


    Directing “The Night Strangler” (7m 29s, SD) Here we have a vintage interview with director Dan Curtis. While he does tell a few good stories, this featurette is terribly short with a lot of pomp and circumstance surrounding the very short interview.

    Burnt Offerings Trailer (2m 29s, SD)


    OVERALL

    The Night Strangler is a film that more people need to see. Many will overlook it due to it being a made for tv film, but that is their loss. The film is fun and a nice time capsule look at the quality of what a made for tv film used to be. Kino Lorber has done an excellent job with this release. The picture quality is just amazing and the special features are a nice addition. I really can’t recommend this release enough. Seek it out. You will not regret it.





    MORE SCREENSHOTS

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