The third Movie-of-the Week Night Stalker script was titled “The Night Killers.” Writing credit was given to Richard Matheson and William F. Nolan. The script,
dated Jan. 15, 1974 (under the Dan Curtis Productions banner), proves one thing,
if nothing else: after two previous movies, the third was little more than
a rehash of the first two, changing the setting but not the “formula.”
There is scant originality in this movie and if it had been filmed, it’s
doubtful a series would have followed.
The plot and dialogue are as follows:
Hawaiian lieutenant-governor Hawaan is in route to a high-level meeting at the Ridgeway Atomic Power Plant when disaster strikes:
An unforeseen accident that ripped the top right off a Pandora’s Box of secrets, cover-ups and murders unlike anything the Aloha State had ever seen.
Ambulance drivers take the government official to the hospital,
where he is rushed into surgery. Before Dr. Petree can arrive to stop the
operation, an explosion occurs, destroying the O.R. Shortly thereafter,
Our Hero is summoned to cover the story:
INT. NEW YORK BAR – SHOOTING OUT WINDOW PAST BARTENDER – NIGHT
Snow pelts against the outside window as CAMERA PULLS BACK and we SEE the
BARTENDER regarding an O.S. argument.
I came into it a few days later. I was in New York City at the time, having a friendly discussion WITH A FELLOW MEMBER OF THE FOURTH ESTATE.
CLOSE ON GLASS
as Kolchak slams it down on the table.
CAMERA STARTS TO PULL BACK, REVEALING KOLCHAK (in his usual
“summer” suit) raving at HAYWORTH, an amused reporter.
What the hell do you know? Were you there in Vegas — there is Seattle? In a pig’s eye you were!
You were here in Gotham, covering garbage strikes!
(leans forward, pointing)
Well, listen, pal — I’m telling you I saw those things, took photos of ’em, had a by-line on the stories. A vampire in Las Vegas… and a killer in Seattle who kept himself alive for more than a hundred years with —
He breaks off, looking around, as a hand taps him on the shoulder. The Bartender.
Who knows I’m here?
Kolchak stands up, glaring at Hayworth.
ANGLE AT WALL PHONE – CLOSE ON KOLCHAK
as he picks up the receiver.
Is this Carl
Who wants to
Who is this?
mean, Tony who, you fathead!
Vincenzo! How are ya?
Fed up from callin’ half the bars in New York tryin’ to get hold of you.
POV SHOT THROUGH JET WINDOW – DAY
The panorama of Honolulu, dominated by Diamond Head.
What was up was me — flying one-way to Hawaii to work for Tony on the Daily
INT. CABIN OF JETLINER – CLOSE ON FRONT PAGE OF “HONOLULU
SHOWING its name, then PULLING BACK to REVEAL the lead story: “Lieutenant
Governor Eulogized as Hawaii’s “Guiding Light”. Kolchak
glances through the remainder of the paper; a small headline catches his eye:
“Flying Saucer Disappears”. As he reacts, CAMERA MOVES IN FAST
on the story, sub-titled: “No Trace Found of UFO Reported in Area
It didn’t take me long to figure out which story I’d been hired to cover.
INT. CAR – CLOSE ON VINCENZO
tanned and prosperous looking. CAMERA WIDENS TO REVEAL him
driving, Kolchak beside him.
VINCENZO Flying saucer? Carl, come on. You don’t think
Old Crossbinder had me bring you all the way from —
You’re working for him again?
He fired you
And re-hired me in Hawaii for more money.
If I’d known it was his paper…
It is, and it isn’t.
His kid started it here in Honolulu about a year ago on his old man’s money. Ever
hear of Elbert?
King of the playboys?
That’s him. Blondes, booze and Ferraris.
He made a lousy newspaperman… the paper was going down the tube until old man Crossbinder came out to take over. Reluctantly, I might
add. Instead of moving to Hawaii to retire, he is here working to protect his investment. Believe me, he’s not happy about it. And when the old man’s
not happy, nobody’s happy!
(staring at Vincenzo)
Speaking of elephants… what have you been eating?
Food, Carl, food. My stomach’s had a field day away from you.
Kolchak eyes his stomach.
I can see that.
You wanna talk about your job or my digestion?
Don’t they go together?
The old man wants you here to build up circulation
— but on the basis of sanity, Carl.
(cutting off Kolchak)
Like, for instance, no flying saucers!
Kolchak slumps back unhappily into the seat.
(to himself, dully)
Welcome to Hawaii, Mr. Kolchak.
INT. CROSSBINDER’S OFFICE – CLOSE ON LLEWELLYN CROSSBINDER – DAY
Regarding the O.S. Kolchak with detached amusement.
Welcome to Hawaii, Mr. Kolchak.
CAMERA WITHDRAWS TO INCLUDE Kolchak and Vincenzo opposite the
old man’s desk.
At last, you’ve reached a locale where that suit of yours is in vogue.
(as Kolchak grins)
In beach bum circles.
(cutting off Kolchak)
You’re a unique man, Mr. Kolchak. One of a dying breed. I can use your help.
(cutting Kolchak off again)
So long as you restrain yourself. You understand.
Now, wait a sec —
Vincenzo stands up to cut him off.
(taking Kolchak up with him and aiming him toward the door)
Carl’s a new man, Mr. Crossbinder — I guarantee it.
I shall hold you to that guarantee, Mr. Vincenzo.
Here we go again.
When the only survivor of the O.R. explosion dies suddenly,
Kolchak investigates, first at the hospital, then with the two ambulance drivers
who transported the lieutenant-governor to the hospital. In the course of
his unproductive investigation, Kolchak meets the obligatory TV movie female
co-starring character, in the guise of Kathy O’Kileyani, a real estage
agent. She reappears throughout the script when convenient.
Predictably, Tony doesn’t like Carl’s suspicion that the deaths
of people associated with the explosion ate linked to the lieutenant-governor’s
death. They argue; Tony has stomach spasms; Carl leaves. Basic Movie
1 & 2 formula.
Kolchak almost witnesses the murder of a nurse, then gets jailed
for some unstated reason. Tony springs him, then both are threatened by
Carl continues investigating, almost gets killed by the driver
of a red truck (who was also at the scene of the nurse’s murder), gets yelled at
by Tony (again), then goes off to investigate Ridgeway Atomic Power Plant.
Learning nothing, he gets yelled at (again) by Crossbinder for drawing spurious
conclusions about who was and who was not murdered.
Being removed from the story, Carl is re-assigned to investigate
the UFO sighting.
Taking his “girl realtor” as a guide, Kolchak
interviews Mr. and Mrs. Groat, eyewitnesses to a “doughnut”
flying saucer landing near Hickam Field. Rather than investigate the
sighting himself, Carl interviews Col. Shaw, learning that: 1) he
drinks Black Irish whisky and 2) he doesn’t believe in UFO’s. After
establishing this Very Necessary Character, our reporter attempts to check out
the landing sight. He is foiled, however, by discovering the entire area
is fenced off by Spencer Construction Co.
In a thrilling twist, the Spencer Construction Co. employee
Kolchak goes to interview in a gay bar is just leaving with his boyfriend.
Carl makes an appointment to meet him later. Unfortunately, this potential
witness is murdered before Carl can extract any intimate details from him.
After witnessing the familiar red truck (again), Carl links the UFO story to
that of the lieutenant-governor’s death.
Interrupting Tony at his golf game (!), Kolchak tries to
convince his editor he’s onto the story of his life. Being in Hawaii seems
to have affected Carl’s enunciation, for he regresses into an uneducated
Hoosier, or reverts into a past lifetime as a cowboy with the following dialogue:
I been lookin’ for ya everywhere!
Get that thing off the green, you idiot!
(backing the golf cart up)
Okay! What are you gettin’ so excited about?
(glaring at Kolchak;
Do you know what you just did?
Yeah, drove out to find you with the biggest story this side of —
You cost me fifty bucks!
Tony, if you can’t afford the game… don’t play.
Vincenzo cannot talk he’s so angry. He rips out his wallet, pays off a rival as his partner follows suit with the other rival player. Vincenzo then moves away.
MOVING – VINCENZO AND KOLCHAK
as Vincenzo walks rapidly away from the green, Kolchak sprinting in pursuit.
Hey, wait up!
Kolchak, get lost!
If old publishers and past lifetimes weren’t enough, we get MR.
LIFFY, who is NOTHING LIKE the Wally Cox characterization of Titus Berry from
“The Night Strangler.” This entirely original character is
introduced on page 10, in the following manner: He (Kolchak) recoils as
Mr. Liffy stands up, wincing, from behind a table, a heavy, dusty scrapbook in
his arms. Mr. Liffy is a small, cherubic looking man wearing square-lensed
granny glasses and a green eye shade.” (In case you’re never seen
“The Night Strangler,” the granny glasses are the original part.)
Mr. Liffy makes all the connections for our hero, explaining
that: 1) The wives of all the dead men had either died or
disappeared 2) the Spencer Construction Co., which owns the land the
flying saucer landed on, had put through the land deal with the influence of the
now deceased lieutenant-governor. Carl’s contribution to the Story Thus
Far is “Bingo!”
To check out the landing site, Kolchak rents a helicopter (some
expense account!), piloted by Kathy, the real estate agent. (Don’t ALL
real estate agents know how to pilot helicopters?)
Continuing to look and sound like he had been dropped into a
modern-day adventure flick from a Grade B Oater, Kolchak applauds the
whirlybird’s dysfunction with stirring lines like, “It’ll run okay again
once we’re outta range,” and “Did I tell ya?” When he then
directs Kathy to land so he can take photographs, she questions:
“What if the place is crawling with little green men?” His
answer? You guessed it, pardner: “I’ll step on ’em.”
Our intrepid sagebrusher makes a judgment of STAR TREK
proportions in the following scene. When he and Kathy see moving figures
walking around the UFO, Kathy asks if the men are from “space.”
Carl replies, “Must be.” Mr. Spock could not have put it more
After Kolchak and Kathy are discovered and nearly run over by
the man in the now legendary red truck, we discover the driver is neither man
nor Uncle Martin. “Holy Hanna,” Carl exclaims. “He’s
a –” robot.
After getting himself arrested (again), Carl attempts to warn
Crossbinder, Vincenzo and Col. Shaw that a crisis exists.
Suppose a space vehicle came to earth carrying, say, half a dozen aliens intent on establishing a base here on Hawaii. They land neat Waimea Bay, making the landing site their initial base of operations.
Suppose, in order to achieve their goal, they start replacing people with androids —
(For tips on playing this scene, Mr. McGavin would have done
well to call Kevin McCarthy, who played it so brilliantly in “Invasion of
the Body Snatchers.”)
Realizing (without Mr. Liffy’s help, for cripe’s sake) that all
the important men in Hawaii were gathering at the Ridgeway Atomic Plant, Carl
pleads with the gathering to stop the meeting. Instead he gets himself
— SURPRISE — fired!
When the police chief (in reality an android), tries to kill
Cark (again), Carl discovers he’s a robot when he suddenly starts snmoking then
blows up. There goes the neighborhood.
Breaking into the Atomic Power Plant, Carl attempst to inform
the governor and military leaders meeting there, that they have been summoned to
the high-powered meeting so they can be killed and replaced by robots. For
his trouble, he is almost killed (again), learning the men have indeed, been
exchanged. (Production note: six seed pods needed for scene.)
Racing away, then eluding capture, Carl grabs a machine gun and
shoots the androids. They explode, proving his point with a bang!
Kolchak’s story is quashed by Col. Shaw and the script ends with
the following dialogue:
So that’s the way it happened. Shaw had clamped down on the story. Couldn’t risk mass panic; delicate political situation; necessary censorship.
One of our competitors printed the story about he Groats seeing the UFO take off. Sure, sure! You bet!
What worries me though is: what’s to prevent those aliens from landing somewhere else; starting in again — replacing prominent men; taking over?
CAMERA MOVES IN CLOSE on him. He looks directly at us.
How do we know it isn’t happening at this very moment?
Good question. We’ll ask Dr. Miles Binnell when we see him.
ABC contracted the Night Stalker series for 26 scripts; only twenty were actually produced. If you think that is a sin, read the following excerpts from several unproduced Night Stalker scripts and see if you don’t have second thoughts.
NIGHT STALKER – Unproduced Script #1
“Eve of Terror” Written
by: Stephen Lord (Draft of March 7th also listed Michael Kozoll
as an author.) Night Stalker Production #
What follows are two drafts of scripts, dated March 3 and March 7, 1975
“What if I told you that a deranged feminist murdered a Casanova lab
technician, a sex goddess, and her purveyor?” Carl Kolchak asks a character
in this script. His question pretty much sums up the plot of this degrading,
embarrassing attempt at “handling” the Women’s Liberation question
of the mid 1970’s.
Dr. Myra Deckbar is accidentally exposed to sonic stimulation and her
Jeckle-Hyde/”alter-ego” monster goes on a rampage, killing her
assistant. Kolchak investigates until taken off the case and ordered to cover
the arrival of “America’s Number One Sex Kitten.” Fortunately for
the plot, she, too, is killed and there just happens to be a connection! Carl,
seeing a female form escape from the scene, comments, “Whoever it was wore
high heel pumps. Maybe it’s some freak in drag.” The answer, of course,
is that it’s the Mad Almost-A-Feminist, Myra Deckbar, who eventually ends up
dead after falling off an apartment building.
These are substantial differences between the two drafts of this script, the
most obvious (and tell-tale?) being that the name “Carl” – as in
CARL KOLCHAK – was consistently misspelled as “Karl” in the
March 3rd draft. His dialogue was also listed under the character
name KOJAK for one scene. Pretty sad when a studio script has the name of
the main character wrong.
The other outstanding (?) aspect of this script is the striking similarity
between the character of the police lieutenant, named Hurlow, and that of the
character played by Keenan Wynn (Captain Siska), from “The Spanish Moss
Murders” (written by Al Friedman and David Chase). Compare some of this
Hold it, Kolchak.
Kolchak halts, braces himself for Hurlow’s onslaught but surprisingly, the
cop retains his cool, speaks politely.
Karl…ever since I got that ulcer six months ago, I promised myself faithfully I’d let nothing or nobody bug me again.
KOJAK – (NOTE – THIS IS NOT A TYPO)
Smart, Lieutenant, smart.
One can sense the immense struggle within Hurlow as he battles to control his
HURLOW (still politely)
Now Karl…keep your ear…your nose… and your big asset out
of this one. (almost sweetly) Please?
You sure make it hard for a guy to turn you down, Lieutenant.
I appreciate it.
Kolchak starts to go then turns.
Say, Lieutenant, got any ideas about those teeth marks found on the victim?
HURLOW (about to explode)
How did you –!!
KOLCHAK (backing away)
You promised yourself faithfully, Lieutenant…remember?
Then Kolchak spins around and hurries out.
March 3rd Draft – page 2
Myra studies her notes; as she instructs Wayne top set the various instruments he complies:
Random spectrum, 10 to 10,000 hertz… overall dB level of 98… superimpose
sinusoidal frequency of 5,276 hertz at 99dB.
That ought to scramble their little brains.
See? Even we have behavioral patterns. The more tired you get, the more pessimistic. How about a cup of coffee to sweeten your outlook?
WAYNE (returns smile)
Two sugars this time.
Myra goes out.
March 7th Draft – pages 1-2
INT. LAB – NIGHT
Nice and quiet as Myra studies the video monitor. Then:
Okay, shut it down, Wayne. Reset for the next frequency.
(catches herself; smiles)
No need to patronize.
Myra, still smiling, notices Wayne’s expression… a wry grin. They’ve
had this conversation before.
Who’s patronizing? It’s just polite to say please, isn’t it?
WAYNE (resetting controls; smiles)
Who knows anymore? The whole world is cockeyed. Amy Vanderbilt is gone. People have turned against the automobile. And guys like me are taking orders from women.
Can the end be far off? (beat) To show you my heart’s in the right place, I’ll get you a cup of coffee.
Myra smiles, shaking her head as she goes. Wayne appreciatively watches her
legs and her walk as she goes, smiling to himself.
Make mine sweet. (adds) Please.
March 3rd Draft – pages 12-14
INS. OFFICE – DAY
Open on Vincenzo then widen to include Kolchak.
Karl, you’re trying to catch butterflies with a tin net!
But, Tony —
What happened was some electronic kook got caught copping that… spectro-gizmo and killed the technician, now that’s it, period!
Question mark:! Why didn’t the killer use something simple like a knife or a gun, even a blunt instrument? The victim was slammed around like a bean-bag and bitten! What about that?
The teeth marks?!
So maybe those eggheads at the research center have been working with gorillas and one got out of hand.
But Kimberly says they don’t use any animal larger than a rabbit! Now how vicious can a bunny get?
One of those cuddly Peter Cottentails nearly tore my thumb off when I was a kid. A pretty blue one at that!
A blue rabbit?
I dyed him for Easter. (starts toward office)
Look, Tony, let me button down this Dr. Deckbar and —
Negative, Karl. I’ve already put Updyke on that story.
Updyke? On a murder case?! (hits him) Charlie Hurlow! That’s it! You and the lieutenant are old drinking buddies!
Not anymore. Not since that ulcer popped up.
He called you! Told you to take me off the story!
VINCENZO (topping him)
He’s a nice guy who’s walking around with an earthquake brewing in his gut and you’re a8.6 on the Richter Scale!!
But, Tony —
Besides, I want you to cover Veronica Mason’s arrival at the Hotel Walton.
Big deal! Veronica Mason! Who needs it?
You must have a hormone deficiency. That broad triggers hot flashes from every male over the age of puberty.
I skipped puberty. Listen, Tony, this brutal murder thing —
No, Karl, this Veronica Mason thing! Now get over to the hotel and do your blood pressure a favor!
Kolchak is about to try a final protest but:
Reluctantly, Kolchak starts to go.
And try to bring back a different angle than the usual cheesecake jazz!!
March 7th Draft – pages 15-17
INT. VINCENZO’S OFFICE – KOLCHAK – DAY
Carl is pensive, unsettled as he stares through the blind slats.
What’s weird about it Tony is I checked out Wayne Franks as well as I could.
don’t see him as a mob or loan shark hit.
He was a straightarrow.
Widen to include Vincenzo at his desk, sleepy, disgruntled, his hand on his
elbow…almost dozing, hardly listening.
And as far as him interfering with the theft of the spectrometer… when guys are
committing a robbery, they may shoot somebody, stab somebody…but hang
around pounding on somebody? Wasting time ? Making noise?
VINCENZO (yawns; cranky)
There’s a first time for everything. It’s a simple robbery-homicide. I like what you wrote and… well, if there’s any mopping up to do on the story, Ron’l l handle it.
Ron? On a murder case? My murder case?
There’s nothing more in it. You can go on to bigger and better things.
What bigger and better things? What’s got into you? (studies him) Your
friend Charlie Hurlow called didn’t he? Asked you to take me off it?
I’ve known Charlie a long time. But you know how we got so close lately?
Turns out we both go to the same gastrointestinal specialist. For ulcers. (beat) Charlie’s got all my sympathy. He’s walking around with an earthquake brewing in his gut. And you’re an 8.6 on the Richter Scale.
The fault is always mine, isn’t it?
VINCENZO (with finality)
I don’t want any more argument about it, Carl. I want you down at the Walton Hotel at four, covering the arrival of Veronica Mason.
Come on…that’s not my kind of story.
Remember your logical silogisms, Carl? All stories on sexy women sell. All stories that sell make Vincenzo happy. (beat) Ergo, we have only two possible deductions: A:: The Veronica Mason arrival is your kind of story. Or B, you don’t have a job.
Your logic’s as bad as your news sense.(notices Vincenzo yawn again and grumbles testily) >What’s the matter with you today, anyhow?
That maniac neighbor kid and his lousy Nakajima.
I thought you were going to talk to his old man about
The old man told me to take a wade in Lake Michigan. Can you believe the gall? He says there’s no law against noisy motorcycles if they have mufflers on them… (runs his eyes) Now, the kid has a job at Top O’ The Mornin’ Bakeries. Every night at four a.m. I get blown out of bed by that bike.
You should have some recourse.
There’s no recourse against noise pollution. tell you, Carl, we don’t He’s drowned out as the El goes roaring by, jarring everything.
VINCENZO (yelling above it)
See what I mean? We’re defenseless! bombarded by noise! Noise of all kinds! The El is gone but he’s still yelling. He lowers his voice.
…noise of all kinds….
You may have a point, Tony. Who really knows what the total effect of that is on us?
I know what the effect is on me! I’m going ga-ga!
Think there’s a story in noise and modern life?
There’s a story in sexy girls. Quit stalling and get down to the Walton Hotel. Try for an interview. There’s a lot of work to be done.
That doesn’t start till four. I’ve got two hours.
VINCENZO (gets up; crosses to couch)
But you’re in my office. And I want to take a nap.
I’ll come in when it’s time for your three o’clock
March 3rd Draft – page 28
Both bodies were busted up like match sticks! Both had teeth marks! Now I
figure either some female Kung Fu nut or a weirdo in drag —
Carl, why don’t you get an unlisted mouth? (starts away)
Come on, Tony, back me up.
Over a cliff maybe! (turns) You know what your problem is, Carl? You need something to soak up your nervous energy. Why don’t you get yourself a girl?
Hey, man, I’ve got chicks all over town pulling their hair out over me… (grins) but who cares about those bald-headed broads?
Hysterical. You’re a barrel of laughs, Carl. But get yourself busted again and before I make your bail they’ll be giving away free dishes at gas stations!
Vincenzo slams into his office.
March 7th Draft – pages 48-49
What if I told you that a deranged feminist murdered a Casanova lab technician, a sex goddess, and her purveyor?
The Veronica Mason thing?
Right. Say…just say there’s a lunatic fringe, a misguided feminist faction…a splinter group….
Pamela is shaking her head.
…Who believes they are furthering the cause… No, huh?
It wouldn’t be a woman’s organization or fringe. We recognize violence as the most primitive manifestation of male irrationality. Violence flourishes where reason fails.
But that doesn’t preclude a woman from having done it.
True. I can’t speak for individuals, male or female. People do go wrong… and when ‘wrong’ means ‘violence,’ it usually comes from repressing one’s feelings doesn’t it? (beat) But what makes you so sure it was a woman? Are you repressing hostility? Is it your wife, your girlfriend…?
Kolchak eyes the door, measuring for quick escape.
I’m manifesting my male rationality. The theory makes sense.
Does it? Tell me, do you feel threatened by the women in your life awakening to their true potentials?
Kolchak edges off his chair.
Come on, man. Open the tubes. Blast those hostilities into the sunshine. Clean house….
Kolchak hurries across the room, smiles and eases out the door.
PAMELA (realizing what she’s said)
…as it were.
Ending narration, March 3rd draft:
INT. INS OFFICE – NIGHT
Angling on Kolchak as he concludes recording, the curvaceous pair of legs
still crossed at the edge of his desk (belonging to the character of Gwenneth, a
neighbor of Myra Deckbar, who also happened to be man-crazy).
What had fallen off the roof of that building was the body of Myra Deckbar – so the murders remained unsolved. But I turned over my story together with the Deckbar tapes to the Research Center…and today in that same acoustics lab another behavioral scientist is conducting top secret research
into sonic stimulation… maybe trying to discover what vibes turn him on – and hopefully…off. As for
Angle widens to include Gwynneth sitting on the desk in her revealing mini
I know what rings my bell.
He rises and takes her hand and they start out as we:
March 7th Draft of the ending:
INT. INS OFFICE – NIGHT
Angling on Kolchak as he concludes recording.
What toppled onto that pavement was clearly not the body of a vicious
superhuman killer –
so the murders remain unsolved. However, I was forced to turn over my story together with the Deckbar tapes to the Research Center…and
today in that same acoustics lab another behavioral scientist is conducting top
secret research into sonic stimulation…maybe trying to discover what vibes turn him on – and hopefully…off. As for me, I’ve begun to think
Kolchak winces fatalistically against the shattering roar of a passing El.
“The Get of Belial”
Production # 41823 January 3, 1975 (F.R.)
PRODUCER: Cy Chermak Written by: Donn Mullally
This is another sterling example of why there were benefits to being behind
schedule and thus unable to film the full complement of twenty-six scripts. It
also provides another example of how weak, ineffectual writing and uninspired
plots destroyed the series.
The script has our hero, Carl Kolchak, in the mountains of West Virginia,
covering a coal miners strike. (Presumably the local INS office reporters had
all been in a car accident, a la “”The Vampire,” although in this
script, no explanation is attempted.)
EXT. WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAIN COUNTRY – DAY – FULL SHOT – STOCK
Green mountains thrust up through the haze. They are scarred by mines and
company shanty towns…great mounds of tailings around the mines.
EXT. ASSOCIATED ANTHRACITE BUILDING – DAY – FULL SHOT
It has to be the most impressive building on this dreary Main Street of
saloons, small shops, eating places. But it, too, is grimy with the dust from
the mines, streaked. It is identified as the headquarters of a mining company by
a sign over the entrance. A line of pickets march listlessly on the sidewalk in
front of the building. A black and white police car is parked down the street…obviously
keeping tabs on the pickets, who carry the usual signs: UNFAIR, ON STRIKE, etc.
Carl Kolchak is seen walking along with one of the Pickets, taping.
As Kolchak draws the man out of the picket line, recording these deathless
You wanna know what we’re striking for? (Kolchak nods) Money. That’s the ball game. Money!
You look for the strike to go on much longer?
No way. Mine owners are caving in all over the state – except for this mother.
He uses his picket sign to indicate the building.
With the pressure he’s gotta be getting from the other owners, how long can he hold out?
You’re talking about Glenn Maynard …President of Associated?
PICKET (returning to line)
(Mysterious murders, where the victim is horribly mauled to death, begin to
happen soon after an “American Gothic” (read: hillbilly) family
arrives in town. Finding the death of a mine executive more interesting than
covering the labor dispute, Carl discovers the Blackshear family has a terrible
secret: they’re keeping an idiot son/brother hidden in the basement of an
abandoned schoolhouse. Every time the “monster” escapes, another
When he finally confronts the Blackshear family, the following dialogue
explains the plot:)
Carl is bashed in the head by the monster several times, the local
authorities don’t believe him and he debriefs the details, over the phone, to
Ron Updyke, commenting, “Write anything you want to, Uptight…just don’t
make it sound like it belongs on the financial page.”
INT. MINE – NIGHT – MED. ANGLE
This is the first tier or level…a room carved out of coal and rock,
supported by rotting timbers. Several tunnels fan out from its back wall. The
rest of the Blackshear family (except for the creature) are there. They’ve set
up housekeeping. The room is lighted by the Coleman lamp. Henry and Richard are waiting at the shaft as Kolchak climbs into view. As he steps off the ladder
into the room:
It’s that reporter guy, Pa!
What’re you doing here?
I was looking for the Blackshear family.
You found us.
KOLCHAK (looks around)
But you’re not all present. Where’s the one you usually keep in a cage?
The Blackshears exchange looks.
There’s no cage here. What are you talking about?
The cage I saw at the schoolhouse. What or who do you keep in it?
SARAH (a sigh)
Sonny…our youngest boy.
Shut up, Sarah!
No. You said we hit him long enough.
There is a silent tug-of-war of wills.
You did say you kept a son in that cage?
I don’t care what anybody thinks… we done the best we could.
But the cage couldn’t hold him… Nothing could. And he killed people when he got
Because of me…my call to do the Lord’s work.
It was Belial’s way of tempting me.
Henry has given up…slumps against the mine wall, as:
Yes…Sonny was a beautiful child. Then the changes began… (beat) I was healing the sick, as my God commanded.
Those changes…how do you know it was the Devil?
Old Belial offered Ma a deal. We all heard it…the voice out of nowhere.
Scared the hell out of us!
What was the deal?
Ma could have Sonny back the way he used to be…if Ma’d just get off the
Kolchak studies the Blackshears…has to believe what he has heard. Their
steady gaze. He nods.
KOLCHAK (to Sarah)
And you couldn’t buy it?
SARAH (shakes her head)
Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. I had to believe that God was stronger than the Devil.
(With cops closing in on them, the family tries to escape through the
mineshaft. Carl attempts to follow, falls through some rotting boards, falls
into a pit and is attacked – again – by the creature. As they struggle, the
creature falls down another shaft, turning into the corpse of a beautiful young
man as he dies. Of course, there goes Carl’s story about Belial and the
As Carl is climbing out of the mine pit, the labor strike is settled and
every wire service in the country scoops INS.)
Another happy ending, as in, “all’s well that ends well.”
By: Max Hodge
(No Production Number; no date)
The best of the three unproduced Night Stalker scripts, “The Executioners” needed more than a little editing to make it acceptable.
The script deals with murders, which always occur in threes: one by hanging,
a second by poisoning and a third by beheading. Finding himself off the
spectacular investigation because Tony wanted to cover the story himself (Carl
jealously smelling “the faint aroma of a Pulitzer Prize in the air”),
he is given his choice of assignments: Obits, art or ballet.
Carl chooses art, and as luck would have it, he just happens to discover a
painting at the Arty Museum depicting three executioners – a hangman, an ax
executioner and a monk-like individual with a large vial of poison. Fortunately,
he has brought along an “art expert” to explain the background of the
“unknown.” and make a guess as to the painting’s origins.
INT. POP ART INSTITUTE – DAY
A FEMALE NUDE MODEL with a noose around her neck is posing in a stretched
position as though she were being hanged. A DOZEN ARE STUDENTS are sketching as the INSTRUCTOR moves along them, criticizing their work.
KOLCHAK Enters, pauses to glance appreciatively at the model, then makes his way to the young, attractive BEATRICE MAE JESSEE who eyes her painting, compares it with the model, then makes a few strokes with her paint brush. Kolchak watches this silently for a moment, Beatrice seemingly unaware of his presence in her preoccupation with the painting. Finally:
Honest opinion, Kolchak…?
KOLCHAK (studying painting)
Lie a little… (as Kolchak hesitates)
INSERT: PAINTING OF HANGING NUDE
Non-realistic – angular – and bad.
BACK TO SCENE
Shows promise…? That’s safe. Hell – you can lie that much, Kolchak.
What’s the scene? Why a hanging nude?
Professor Swanson said to paint something relevant to the times – and what’s more relevant? (indicating painting) Can’t you see I’m trying to get my intermost (sic) fears and anxieties concerning recent atrocities on canvas. Does it give you a horrible feeling?
Horrible – yes… (as Beatrice gives him a withering look) I see how you feel. (pointing to painting) Frightened! Afraid you might be the next victim. It says it all there!
It does? (a critical eye – pleased) It does…! (beat)
What it doesn’t tell me is – what the hell’re you doing here? In broad daylight – If you’ll pardon my male chauvinistic expression.
I – ah – need an expert’s opinion. (indicating painting) Obviously – I’ve found the expert.
She gives him a skeptical look. He smiles reassuringly. She shrugs – smiles
– starts cleaning her brushes as he again glances appreciatively towards the
(Subsequent investigation – and any number of deaths later – Carl
pinpoints the cause of the trouble to the Art Museum director, who just happened
to be the owner of the executioner painting. The painting had been in his family
for generations; whenever displayed, a series of murders always took place. Carl
suspects the director is actually the murderer, but when he is poisoned, the
real truth is revealed: the executioners in the painting come to life, commit
their murders, then return to the safety of their oil-and-canvas home. Carl
destroys the painting after nearly becoming a hanging victim himself.)
EXT. INS BUILDING – DAY
BEATRICE MAE JESSEE carrying a wrapped painting, enters.
Things are back to normal once more. The woman who almost got hacked up by the ax executioner now things it may have been a nightmare – that it wasn’t real at all.
INT. INS OFFICE – DAY
BEATRICE enters the office and goes to Kolchak’s desk where Kolchak is typing. She starts unwrapping the painting.
I didn’t dispute her theory. How could I prove it actually happened. Who’d believe a painting could come to life?
Beatrice holds up the painting for Kolchak’s inspection. It’s the NUDE BASEBALL PLAYER. Kolchak shakes his head.
You can hang him over your bed.
I don’t want him over my bed! Suppose – in the middle of the night – he’d decide to crack me with his bat?
That is stupid, Carl Kolchak. Stupid, stupid, stupid…!
I know, but just to be on the safe side – how about trading the ball player for your NUDE in the NOOSE broad? Her I wouldn’t mind if she climbed out of her frame….
Beatrice shakes her head, starts rewrapping the painting. Kolchak grins, shrugs…..