Kolchak was born in a novel, then came to TV in a pair of telemovies with scripts by Richard Matheson. These were then spun out into a monster of the week mystery show. By the time I was old enough to watch it, or even really find out about it, it was gone, and it took me years to track it down. By the time I’d caught up with it, so had mainstream TV and I’d already seen echoes all over the place – most notably in The X-Files.
But The Night Stalker feels like an original, and it is fresh in ways that its successors often are not. And it has, most importantly, the central character of Carl Kolchak, the newspaper man who won’t stop in his pursuit of vampires, werewolves, and other impossible things, even when nobody believes him, and when his attempts to get the word out there come to just about nothing.
He is, really, the very model of the crusading journalist, and Darren McGavin nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. When I remember the show now, it’s him I remember, not the monsters, so much.
The next incarnation of Kolchak, it seems, will be in a big-budget Disney movie which the studio have just appointed Edgar Wright to direct. Johnny Depp is producing, and Deadline say that the intent is for Depp to star.
Times have moved on since Kolchak first came to the screen, and there’s really nothing in the original show that wouldn’t be permitted in a PG-13 movie these days so, if it’s what Wright and Depp are going for, this could be a seriously creepy film.
So, at the moment, details are thin on the ground, and we have just the pairing of Wright and Depp to go on. The film could certainly be more of a departure for its director than for its star – well, assuming they stay faithful to the tone of the originals, which they may not. Still, there’s nothing here that Depp couldn’t handle easily.
There’s no writer named as yet, so the film could be some way off. Wright still has The World’s End, Ant Man and Baby Driver coming down the pipe, and hopefully we’ll get to see them all, sooner or later.
Right. Now let’s see what this news does for sales on the Night Stalker DVDs. I remember going into a comic shop the day Rich first reported Wright’s involvement with Scott Pilgrim to find the staff quite bemused as to why all of their copies of the comic had flown off of the shelves in an afternoon.