21 June 2024
The Devil Bat (1940)
68 min.
Directed by Jean Yarbrough.
With Bela Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, Dave O'Brien, Guy Usher, Yolande Donlan, Donald Kerr, Edmund Mortimer, Gene O'Donnell, Alan Baldwin, John Ellis.
This 1940 Poverty Row horror may be saddled with a most ludicrous plot, but it's entirely enjoyable midnight fare.

Lugosi is Dr. Paul Carruthers, a chemist who develops hygiene products for a company called Heath Cosmetics. But boy, is Carruthers one unhappy scientist! Seems Heath has cut him out of the profit sharing, and that just won't do.

So, the nutty doc concocts a devious plan of revenge. He begins to breed huge-sized bats, mammoth winged demons who become incensed by a strange shaving lotion that he's also prepared. (Yes, you read the previous sentence right.)

When Carruthers begins offering the execs at Heath Cosmetics free samples of his new lotion, they soon die grisly deaths at the hands of....a mysterious vampire Devil Bat!

Kooky, to be sure, but Lugosi gives it his all, and that's good enough for us.

Don't read us wrong, The Devil Bat is no classic, but like 1942's Bowery at Midnight, Lugosi lends the whole thing a certain...naive charm, the supporting cast is game, and the pacing runs along at an appropriate clip.

Also known as Killer Bats.

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