Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 77: The Devil Bat

Another from the Essential Horror collection, this one is a Bela Lugosi-filled delight. In this tale, Lugosi stars as a town doctor who runs experiments on the side in enlarging bats using electricity. He then trains the bats to kill when they smell a specific odor that he has placed in a shaving lotion and given to his enemies. After a few murders, the town is on edge about the gigantic bat that flies around ripping people's necks out. A reporter and his photographer are allowed to actually assist in the police investigation for some reason.

Lugosi has this running gag of saying goodbye when others tell him goodnight if he is planning on their death. He is also easily goaded into confession, making him not that bright a villain. At any rate, despite the effects being kind of low rent, the movie pulls off a decent story.The giant bats are especially disheartening. They almost hang a lampshade on it by building a subplot where the photographer creates a fake Devil Bat that still has a "Made In Japan" sticker on it.

Lugosi is sufficiently creepy/concerned where needed. The square jawed hero is wise cracking enough to be endearing. There is an awkward moment where a young suitor to the female lead asks if they can announce their engagement that night and she says, "But I love you like a brother." Seems like it should have come up before. Oh well. If you want an old school creature feature on step away from MST3k, try this out.

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