©2019 by Classic Horrors. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Classic Horrors Club

TV Terror Guide: Kolchak the Night Stalker (The Trevi Collection)


Air Date: Jan. 24, 1975

Written by: Rudolph Borchert

Directed by: Don Weis

.

Monster of the Week: Witch

.

Kolchak is supposed to be writing about extortion in the garment industry.

.

Kolchak suspects the supernatural when a driverless car tries to run him down.

.

Kolchak’s theory is that Madame Trevi is using witchcraft to kill people snooping into her business.

.

He stops the threat by breaking mirrors and publicly accusing the real villain of being a witch.

.

Quotes:

Did you know Mickey Patchek? (Kolchak) I never met him. I wish I could say the same about you. (Madame Trevi)
How do you recognize a witch, besides the broomstick and cackle?
This [elevator] going down to the morgue? I’ll walk.

Postscript:

.

Kolchak is able to break the story about extortion in the garment industry. A conviction of murder could never be lodged against the witch, but along with her powers went her mind.

Comments:

.

Oh, man, I didn’t anticipate liking this episode, then when I realized Lara Parker was a guest star, I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t. Parts of it are uncomfortably bad. Ironically, that’s mostly due to Parker, who, although beautiful, does not demonstrate the subtle skill of acting.

.

Spoiler alert!

.

After the big red herring of the story is dispatched and Parker’s character, a model named Madelaine, is revealed to be the witch, Parker’s performance goes over the top. Actors have a lot of leeway when portraying raving lunatics, but even with the extra space, Parker goes too far.

.

In a way, I suppose her performance could be interpreted as a spoof of her Dark Shadows character, Angelique. As quietly scary as she was, Madelaine is outrageously maniacal. Her methods are creepy (who isn’t frightened by mannequins that come to life?) but her own actions are absurd.

.

The Trevi Collection also has an odd inconsistency with the series and its previous 13 episodes. Of all the creatures he’s encountered, Kolchak is skeptical of a witch, a threat that seems more plausible to me than most of the supernatural beings he tries to convince people exist.

.

The episode is also very reminiscent of The Devil’s Platform when the politician that made a deal with the devil promises Kolchak his heart’s desire if he joins him instead of fights him. Madelaine attempts to strike a similar bargain with him here. She claims she could make him “so important.”

.

While I’ll blame the story issues on the writer, Rudolph Borchert (who, by the way, has written my other least favorite episodes so far), but give credit to the director, Don Weis, for some creative camerawork that maximizes the effect of moving mannequins (even though they’re sometimes obviously humans.)

.

Finally, I don’t know much about witches, I guess. I find it hard to believe, though, that their Kryptonite is a little mojo bag that Kolchak waves in front of her face. Still, there’s something somewhat fun about Parker, face dripping with blue dye, chasing Kolchak outside so that he can accuse her in public of being a witch.

.

Nina Foch fares better as Madame Trevi than Parker does as Madelaine, adding some classic horror credibility to the episode. Early in her 171-credits resume, she starred in The Return of the Vampire (1943) and Cry of the Werewolf (1944). As the suspect turned victim, her character is better written and more realistically executed.

Click here to see consolidated, real-time listings

for classic horror movies and television shows airing this week.