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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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Vampire Bat (1933)

Starring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, Maude Eburne, George E. Stone
Directed by Frank R. Strayer
(actor & director credits courtesy

Vampire-like killings in a European village are terrorizing the superstitious residents, but a no-nonsense investigator refuses to believe a supernatural creature is responsible. 

Low-budget Majestic Pictures released this horror film on the heels of Dracula and Frankenstein, and it was actually filmed on some of the same sets on the Universal lot.  Strayer is no Tod Browning or James Whale, nor can the photography possibly compare to the Universal horror classics, but the picture is blessed with a strong cast who make the film interesting to watch.  Atwill and Wray, teamed for the third time, after Doctor X and Mystery Of The Wax Museum, give rich performances as does Melvyn Douglas, destined for more prestigious fare, and Dwight Frye who gives us another memorable characterization as the simpleton who becomes a prime suspect in the killings.  Familiar character actors like Stone and Lionel Belmore also add to the fun.  It may not be a great movie, but with this cast and some still eerie chills, I found it more than entertaining enough.

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