What news is this?!
I see that Disney has hired Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright to helm a new Night Stalker movie? With Johnny Depp set to star and produce?
I’m still reeling on this one.
The Night Stalker was originally a 1972 movie that spawned a sequel and a short television run that was quite popular at the time. It starred Darren McGavin in the lead role of Carl Kolchak (if you don’t know your older tv stars, well, shame on you. He’s the dad on A Christmas Story. If you don’t know A Christmas Story, well.. Get off my lawn. Or I’ll shoot your eye out, kid). The original formula was quirky, using comedy and a lighthearted wit to present a reporter looking into some darker supernatural topics.
That said, ABC ran a remake in 2005 starring Irish actor Stuart Townsend. This version of the show took a much grittier spin on the show, replacing the original wit with a kind of brooding darkness that turned off many original fans instantly.
I might be, to date, the only person who respects the reboot–nay, who adores it. I think it was fucking brilliant. The show was elegant, with little musing monologues to book end the episodes to the haunting tunes of Philip Glass. The show was another X-Files spawn, but this time intensely thematic, twisting the ideas of evil from the supernatural to the natural, from serial killer types to the more ghostly, all the while questioning reality and the nature of inherent evil within the flawed antiheroic rebooted main character. It was doing some real intellectual work and I loved it. Then ABC cancelled it in the middle of a two part episode just before sweeps.
It didn’t work because the pilot episode was very, very slow, the show was under-marketed (a shame since it came out right about the same time as Supernatural and would have competed perfectly), and they dropped it in a time slot against the MLB playoffs, the Apprentice, and I possibly Grey’s, pitting it against the top shows on TV at the time, where the only people who knew about it were the fans of the old show, who saw the more serious twist as a butchery, and without giving it a chance, it shriveled up and died.
(Still it lives on anyway, at least for anyone who’s seen the inside of my car, who might take note of my homage that I hope one day some passing fan might notice and appreciate, and perhaps we’ll share a moment. And, well let’s be honest, if she’s hot and a Night Stalker reboot fan, I’ll probably just put a ring on it right then and there.)
The show still lives on over at Hulu.com, for free. I highly recommend it. I’ve embedded the fifth ep here:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
And so I find myself in a bit of a strange place. Now we’ve got this NEW remake in the pipes, but I can’t help but get excited. Depp in the lead seems like it might take some getting used to but if I think hard enough, (we’ve seen him with the white bermuda hat in Rum Diaries or the like, aye?) I can start to see this old Kolchak.
Further, Edgar Wright is one of my most favorite directors of all time; no one else utilizes filmography to the comedic extend that he does. I’m in my comedy happy place any time I watch one of his films. So much cleverness and dry humor. I can’t get enough.
So my call on this?
HELL YES. Make this happen. I mean, like, tomorrow, please. It might take some getting used to, especially for me, as I was never very sold on the original version. I already know the fans are a tough sell, but I think the formula is SET, and can stand to be a fantastic modern addition. (Rants about remakes aside).
But what do you think? Were you a fan of the original series? Did you watch the reboot when it was on ABC six years ago? Will this be a hit or should they just let a sleeping dog lie? Sound off down below.