THE DEVIL BAT (1940)
Article #31 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 4-16-2001
Posting date: 8-29-2001
In this movie, Bela Lugosi as Dr. Paul Carruthers develops a strain of giant killer bats that attack people who wear a specific after-shave lotion, also of his design. He uses it to eliminate those who made a profit off of his other creations. Fortunately, a reporter is investigating the murders, along with his photographer, “One-Shot” McGuire (a tribute to low-budget director William “One-Shot” Beaudine, maybe?).
This is one of PRC’s first horror movies, and it’s fairly entertaining, despite the obvious cheapness of the production. A little too much time is spent with the reporters, especially the sequences where they fake a photograph of the bat. Lugosi does a fine job, as usual, and watching how he gets his victims to use the after-shave lotion is part of the fun of the movie. I also find his motivation novel and interesting; rather than seeking revenge on those who scorned his scientific theories, he is a disgruntled employee who thinks he should have gotten a greater share of the profits.
This movie was more or less remade a few years later as THE FLYING SERPENT, with George Zucco.