Kolchak: The Night Stalker is one of the most influential failed TV shows of all time. The series ran 20 episodes in the 1974/75 season and featured the iconic Darren McGavin as a Chicago reporter who keeps butting up against the supernatural in stories he's covering. The show began as two movies of the week written by Richard Matheson, both of which featured vampiric serial killers. A third film - to be about androids! - got scrapped when ABC decided they wanted to make the high-rated movies a series. The show had invisible aliens, Satanic pacts, Indian bear spirits, witches and even a murderous Helen of Troy.
The show set the standard for pretty much every other supernatural procedural that came after, most especially The X-Files. In fact Chris Carter tried to get McGavin to play Kolchak on the show, but he declined. Instead the actor played an FBI agent known as the 'father of the X-Files.' The series was briefly revived in 2005.
Now it's coming back - to the big screen. Johnny Depp will star for Edgar Wright in a feature called The Night Stalker. I'm not sure if this film will be a remake of the original telepic or a new story set in the world of Carl Kolchak, and they don't even have a writer onboard (although Wright writes right, I'd say) so that may yet be up in the air. If it is a remake of the original telepic, we'll see Johnny Depp battling a vampire.
What's weird is that Dan Curtis, producer of the original Dark Shadows, produced the original The NIght Stalker TV movie. He also made Burnt Offerings, Trilogy of Terror and Winds of War - could Johnny Depp just be working his way through the Curtis canon? I'd like to see what Edgar Wright could do with Trilogy of Terror, to be honest.
I also want to see what Wright does with Depp. Wright's films are frenetic and stylized, but his characters are always very real, while Depp's characters have lately been moving well into cartoon territory. Could Edgar brings Johnny back to Earth? Also, does Johnny Depp starring as Carl Kolchak mean the classic frumped up McGavin look will be exchanged for something more suave?