Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Devil Bat (1940)

Starring Bela Lugosi, Suzanne Kaaren, Dave O'Brien, Guy Usher, Yolande Mallott
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
(actor & director credits courtesy

After being deprived of a share in the wealth of the company he works for, a vengeful scientist grows a gigantic bat creature he uses to attack the family members of the company's owners.

One of the first of Lugosi's films for the "Poverty Row" studios that starred him in a series of such low-budget pictures, it's a pretty slight movie but not without a fun factor.  Grinning while subjecting his bats to electric rays from the requisite machines of his mad scientist's lab, and leaving his unknowing victims with only a serious, "Goodbye," Lugosi's presence sells the film.  Despite the meager budget on display here, the giant bat prop looks somewhat convincing, swooping down in dimly lit night scenes that mask whatever special effects were used.  The material's beneath the actor's talents, but I can't help but look back on the film fondly, as despite its shortcomings, it still showcases Lugosi's sinister appeal.

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