Newest Reviews
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
Lean on Pete
Carnival in Flanders
Newest Articles
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
  Devil Bat, The Going For The JugularBuy this film here.
Year: 1940
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Dave O'Brien, Suzanne Kaaren, Donald Kerr, Guy Usher, Yolande Donlan, Edmund Mortimer, Gene O'Donnell, Alan Baldwin, John Ellis, Arthur Q. Brian, Hal Price
Genre: Horror
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In the village of Heathville, Dr Paul Carruthers (Bela Lugosi) is experimenting with bats in his secret laboratory. Although well liked around the town, Carruthers is harbouring a massive grudge against the Heath cosmetics company which has had the benefit of his expertise, yet, in the doctor's eyes, have not paid him enough back. To get his revenge, he has utilised electricity to grow bats to a larger size, and has invented a special shaving lotion that they are attracted to. All he needs to do is persuade the members of the Morton and Heath families, who own the company, to try out his lotion and then set the giant bat on them...

Bela Lugosi was a long way from starring in Dracula when he made this chiller for P.R.C., a studio even cheaper than Monogram. Written by John T. Neville from George Bricker's story, The Devil Bat is a cheerfully ridiculous horror with a blasé attitude to having a plot that makes sense, but that's part of the charm, and it's too short to be boring. Carruthers is invited over to the Heath house the night he grows his killer bat, ostensibly to celebrate the engagement of young Mary Heath (Suzanne Kaaren), but actually to hand over a cheque to him for $5000 by way of thanks for all his efforts. This makes Carruthers look pretty petty, as we hear in his voiceover, he's not satisfied with that, and goes ahead with his murderous plan regardless.

Once the first two victims are disptatched, the newspaper sends over one of its reporters, Johnny Layton (Dave O'Brien), who doesn't sing "Johnny Remember Me", but is accompanied by photographer One Shot McGuire (Donald Kerr), and they naturally are better at figuring out the mystery before the local police do. But initially, Johnny and One Shot are as baffled as everyone else, and we're treated to an exposé of the duplicitous methods of the press, when they fake a photo using a stuffed bat to illustrate their story. The editor sacks them when this comes to light, and the two men have to solve the crime to get their jobs back.

The special effects, needless to say, are none too special, and the Devil Bat doesn't look any different, or any more convincing, than the stuffed impostor. Closeups of a real bat are used for that mark of authenticity, but to no avail. As for Bela, he's like a supporting player in his own movie, because O'Brien takes the limelight, mostly due to us knowing from the opening five minutes what Carruthers is up to, so we don't need much more exposition than that.

The action becomes repetitive, just one damn murder after another, but there are comedy interludes from the reporter and the photographer, as Johnny woos Mary and One Shot wins over her French maid (and looks as though he'll be taking saucy pictures of her, too). There are frequent montages of newspaper headlines to keep us certain of the plot details, complete with the shadow of a bat cast across them. One thing I do like is that Lugosi gets a catchphrase: "Goodbye!" which he says to his victims when they wish him goodnight. It all ends with Carruthers hoist with his own petard, and you should be entertained by the breezy atmosphere and general craziness.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3771 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White


Last Updated: