The Night Stalker: They Have Been They Are They Will Be (a.k.a. U.F.O.)

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The Night Stalker: They Have Been They Are They Will Be (a.k.a. U.F.O.)

Post  BoG on Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:37 am

Air Date: 9/27/74 What a Face written by Rudolph Borchert, from a story by Dennis Clark Arrow Directed by Allen Baron

stars Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, reporter extraordinaire; Simon Oakland as his editor/boss

Most of The Night Stalker episodes were supernatural in nature, but a few went the science fiction route. This was the one involving alien visitors or alien invaders from outer space; we're not sure which category these fall into and it's still not certain by the conclusion. At the start of the story, the victims are animals - such as large cats in the local zoo. This in itself was unusual, veering from the human fatalities of most episodes. Kolchak later finds out that the bone marrow of the animals was removed. An invisible force then invades an electronics warehouse, breaking through a brick wall and sending numerous policemen flying all over the place. A ton of lead ingots disappear right in front of the eyes of Kolchak and the police. Strange, black residue is found at various sites of such activity; Kolchak later gets wind of the theory that this force eats certain materials and then vomits them up as this residue. By the end, Kolchak is the sole witness to a small flying saucer-like ship readying to depart.
The slightly unusual aspect to this version of aliens among us is that we never see them; that's a surefire way of keeping costs down for a show about aliens from outer space. Instead, the presence of the aliens is accomplished via eerie, ominous music, a sort of background noise, an intense wind and a p.o.v. which is supposedly the aliens at times when a victim is about to die (the aliens do get to a human eventually). There is a major action setpiece early in the episode when all the cops are flying to the ground, but it's pretty slow overall and repetitive. This relied too much on suggestion of eerie, volatile alien forces with no real pay-off. The denouement, when we sort of find out from Kolchak what the alien presence was all about, is a cross between satire and the sublime. The police captain is played by James Gregory; he's less hostile towards Kolchak than is usual in the series. Dick van Patten has a one-scene role. BoG's Score: 6 out of 10
Star Trek TOS actor alert: James Gregory guest-starred in Dagger of the Mind;
John Fiedler also shows up in this Night Stalker episode in a small role; he was in the episode Wolf in the Fold.

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