DEMON AND THE MUMMY (1976)
Article 2504 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-11-2008
Posting Date: 6-20-2008
Directed by Don McDougall and Don Weis
Featuring Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Jack Grinnage
Carl Kolchak finds himself following the trails of two sets of murders; a group of young college men find themselves dying of heart attacks next to women who had died some hours earlier, and various other people are discovered with their hearts pulled out. He begins to suspect ancient horrors are at work in both of the cases.
One of my favorite series, “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” also suffered the same fate as “Planet of the Apes”, “The Starlost” and other series; several episodes were edited together into features for TV distribution. In this one, the episodes “Demon in Lace” and “Legacy of Terror”, about a succubus and a mummy (neither of which caught the series at its peak in my opinion), were mashed together to make a feature. This one gets a little ambitious in its editing; rather then telling one story and then the other, this one tries to intermix them; we get the first half of “Demon in Lace”, followed by “Legacy of Terror” in its entirety, followed by the second half of “Demon in Lace”. It takes advantage of the fact that much of the exposition in the series was handled by Darren McGavin’s voice-overs, and either McGavin himself or someone doing an imitation of him supplies new voice-overs in an attempt to tie the two stories together. This mostly consists of him referring to the events of the other episode, often with the comment of how he doesn’t feel the two sets of murders are related. No, it doesn’t work; it just makes the structure seem that much goofier. Still, since I enjoyed the series, I even enjoy it in this butchered format; I’ve always loved McGavin as Kolchak and Simon Oakland as Tony Vincenzo, enjoyed Jack Grinnage and Ruth McDevitt, and we get some familiar faces in the surrounding cast as well, such as Erik Estrada, Andrew Prine and Keenan Wynn. And is that Milton Parsons popping up at one point?
If I remember correctly, the four episodes that were edited into TV-Movies were then omitted from the lineup when the show did go into syndication. Fortunately, in the era of DVDs, we can enjoy the whole series without this problem.