On Friday, September 13th, 1974, the ABC network aired a show that was a precursor to the “X-Files.” “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” ran for only 20 episodes before it was cancelled, but it had a lasting impact and through time and reruns has gathered a large fan base. Starring Darren McGavin (“A Christmas Story”) as Chicago’s Independent News Service reporter Carl Kolchak, the show delved into investigating cases with supernatural or scientific origins. Kolchak lead a one man crusade to get to the root of these stories. In the process, Kolchak always had the misfortune of combating any sinister creature or alien at great personal risk and becoming the sole survivor to tell the tale, which always made his editor Tony Vincenzo (Simon Oakland) frantic and doubt Carl’s sanity and writing sensibilities.
Now Disney is interested in launching a feature film starring Johnny Depp, and has already signed the director Edgar Wright (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) before even hiring a writer. Depp and his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski will produce. Both Depp and Dembrowski recall having fond memories of the show and will be involved from the ground up.
During the series, Kolchak fought a multitude of villainous creatures. Each needed to be vanquished in their own unique way. Here is a list of entities Kolchak was pitted against: vampires, an old man who killed to create an elixir to extend his life, Jack the Ripper, a zombie, invisible aliens, a werewolf, a doppleganger, a Politician from Perdition, a diablero, the bogey man (Peremalfáit,) the invisible bear-god Matchemonedo, the evil flesh-eating spirit Rakshasa, a misunderstood homicidal robot, an early human, a witch, a headless motorcycle rider, a succubus, a mummy, the Black Cross Knight, the immortal beauty Helen of Troy, and a large bipedal reptile.
In each episode of the original series, there were a multitude of people being killed in some gruesome or bloody fashion. How far will Disney executives be willing to go in order to keep the film at a PG-13 rating and hold onto the spirit of the original show?
“The Night Stalker” will find its way into theaters in 2014, and stars Johnny Depp. David Kennedy will executive produce, while Edgar Wright directs.
Sources: whatsitsgalore, deadline.com, IMDb