The 10 most menacing monsters seen on 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker'

This cult 1974–75 show featured awesome creatures.

Image: The Everett Collection

It takes a brave man to face a zombie while wearing nothing but a seersucker suit and a straw hat. Carl Kolchak was one of the great characters of Seventies television, played with levity and charm by Darren McGavin, who brought many of the same characteristics to his role as the dad in A Christmas Story. After two hit made-for-TV movies, beginning with The Night Stalker, Kolchak finally got the green light to investigate eerie cases full-time on ABC. 

Kolchak: The Night Stalker may have been a "Monster of the Week" series, but, oh, what monsters they were! Lasting a mere 20 episodes, this cult 1974–75 show featured awesome creatures.

Seemingly, the show spent much of its money on makeup and effects. Each week, a sinister baddie would lurk in the shadows of Chicago until finally revealing itself in the final ten minutes. This formula would inspire other beloved shows about the paranormal, like The X-Files and Supernatural.

Here are our ten favorite monsters from the show. Which one keeps you up at night?

1. Père Malfait

"The Spanish Moss Murders"

The Creole bogeyman Père Malfait roughly translates as "the father of evil-doings." In other words, he's a devil figure, though here the creature is more of a mossy Swamp Thing. The mucky monster squeezes the life out of victims in the sewer. Gross. He was played by the towering Richard Kiel, better known as "Jaws" in the James Bond films. Kiel turns up later on this list, too…

2. The Rakshasa

"Horror In The Heights"

Maneaters of Hindu mythology, the Rakshasas have been striking fear in the hearts of men for centuries. Best way to take it down? A crossbow spitting arrows blessed by the god Brahma. Oh, and the help of a local restaurant owner.

3. The Zombie

"The Zombie"

On The Walking Dead, zombies are little more than skeletons with meat falling off the bone. This spine-crushing dude is the size of the Hulk. Good thing he sleeps in a scrapyard, so you can dump a bunch of salt in his mouth.

4. Mesopotamian succubus

"Demon in Lace"

This Sumerian demon assumes the form of recently deceased women and lures men into her deadly embrace.

5. Nanautzin Mummy

"Legacy of Terror"

Kolchak wisely gave the standard Universal movie monsters — mummies, vampires and werewolves — a twist. Here, several victims are found with their hearts sliced out, sacrifices to an Aztec mummy. He needs just one more blood-pumper to come back to life — and it's sitting inside a young Erik Estrada. Bad news: This mummy has a sword, too.

6. Diablero

"Bad Medicine"

A week before he turned up as the moss monster, Kiel appeared as this sinister shaman spirit. This fan-favorite behemoth is certainly rather dated today, but Kiel always makes for an imposing presence, as he tosses cops in a stairwell. His only weakness? A mirror!

7. Harold 'Swordsman' Baker

"Chopper"

That's some torso on the headless motorcyclist. Go figure. Not only does this update on the Ichabod Crane tale feature a motorcyle instead of a horse, the creature weilds a sword. Fun fact: This story was written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, who would go on to create Back to the Future.

8. The Werewolf

"The Werewolf"

Sure, it may look more like a Were–Shih Tzu or a Yuppie Wookie, but this werewolf makeup did not hold back on the fur. He's quick as a hyperactive terrier aboard a cruise ship.

9. The Reptile

"The Sentry"

Lighting works wonders. In the brief flashes of bright fire, this big lizard might strike you as a kind of alligator sculpture you'd find on a miniature golf course in Florida. But in the shadows, as it smashes light bulbs and swats at our hero, the thing is pretty creepy.

10. Mr. R.I.N.G.

"Mr. R.I.N.G."

This murderous android has no face. No face! That always unsettling. 

SEE MORE: 11 reasons 'Kolchak: The Night Stalker' is the coolest, creepiest show on 1970s television

This show was ahead of its time. It even had the Cubs in the World Series in 1974. Dig more into the fantastic Kolchak. READ MORE

Save with
Enjoy even more classic shows on-air! Find where to watch MeTV in Washington D.C.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

3 Comments

Post a comment
Click here to learn about MeTV's new commenting system!
PaulJWatts 18 days ago
As someone stated earlier, with just 20 episodes, picking a top 10 seems fairly pedestrian, however I disagree with almost half of what you selected. Just my opinion but here's why.
#5 "Legacy of Terror". I loved the Aztec mummy come to life, but it took too long getting there. Even Estrada's bare chest couldn't keep me interested.
Substitute "The Trevi Collection". Also ritual magic is a plot point but you get more intrigue. Witchcraft is one of those unseen villains that without the proper knowledge Kolchak is vulnerable at first. Major pluses for creepy manequins and a tour de force from Dark Shadows’ Angelique, Lara Parker, at her grimoire again.
#7 “Chopper”. It is really hard even back in the 70’s to get passed the clumsy headless effect. The stunt man had to ride the motorcycle looking through that awful costume and the manner in which he wielded the sword was not menacing at all. The viewer felt concerned for the safety of the monster.
Substitute “The Ripper”. The first episode ties the tele-movies to the series using elements from both in a structure reminiscent of the formula we were used to. We had a sword wielding monster and an interesting back story to match, stronger than a biker gang from the past.
#8 “The Werewolf” The Love Boat has a monster. This is a close call because the substitute would be “Vampire”. Both have really cool back stories, a wolf attack in the woods vs. the original Night Stalker’s overlooked victim. Innuendoes, great character actor deliveries and comedic situations but even though Eric Braeden does an excellent performance he’s not in the episode as much as Joe Joe the Dog Faced boy, and the flaming cross staking scene of Catherine Rawlins far outweighs the hide and go seek on the ship.
#9 “The Sentry”. No just no. Even Kolchak’s real life wife Kathie Brown couldn’t make this monster more menacing than a Land of the Lost Sleestak. If you need prehistoric monster “Primal Scream”, if you need slow lumbering menace “The Knightly Murders”.
#10 “Mr. R.I.N.G.” I really like the episode but it just doesn’t fit in my opinion. It doesn’t feel like a Kolchak story. For corrupt government and conspiracy go with “The Devil’s Platform” with Alien’s Tom Skerrit doing a great Omen/Rosemary’s Baby menace to Kolchak and a whole elevator of people. Also big black dogs were represented in several movies in the mid 70’s as being harbingers of Evil.
Charles 20 days ago
Why doesn't Spectrum carry Me-TV in the El Paso area? Could you at least put an app on Roku?
Mockschnel 20 days ago
The most important ten monsters in a show that only had twenty episodes . . so . . half of them . .

Yet another well thought out blog concept . .
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?