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Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Devil Bat (1940) - Jean Yarbrough


Bela Lugosi was in many horror movies during this time. Still trying to shake his memorable role as Dracula. Bela Lugosi stars in this picture as a cosmetic chemist with a mean streak. He creates an after-shave lotion that attracts vicious, giant, bloodsucking bats all of which are his own creation. A couple of reporters stumble onto stories of these giant "devil" bats attacking people seemingly at random. However, they decide to follow up on all of these accusations. Someone is killing people and these stereotypical reporters are gonna get the scoop! 

Bela Lugosi is wonderful in just about everything he does. However, when I look at him all I see is Dracula. He always seemed to embrace that side of his career but at the same time hates being pigeon-holed. Unlike Karloff, Lugosi didn't really have that broad of a range while acting and kept mostly to horror/sci-fi pictures. Sad? Maybe. He has a full catalog but most of the work is all filler. 

The Devil Bat is funny and campy. It's fun to watch with friends and even better when you have a love for Lugosi's work. The movie has a far-fetched plot that seems to really go off  a deep-end. Also, the small budget didn't really give us the best effects. The bats flying around are hilarious. It's fun to listen to "Scientists" in the forties that are trying to explain things outside of their comprehension for their time. 


This movie is all-in-all pretty decent. Lugosi gives a chilling performance as a Mad Scientist and makes for a good villain. It just has a really thin plot that fades quickly. Some of the shots in the film are really interesting. The driving scene is good. I liked how raw it felt. The laboratory scenes are good. The bats aren't really scary but what do you want. Bats just are not that scary. 

Director: Jean Yarbrough
Country: USA

Did ya know...
This low-budget thriller, boosted by Bela Lugosi, was one of the biggest successes for the poverty row Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). After the war, the studio tried to recapture this success by producing an in-name-only sequel, Devil Bat's Daughter (1946), and a virtual shot-by-shot remake, The Flying Serpent (1946).

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