The next scream you hear may be your own!
On a dark and stormy night, two women are trapped inside a mansion with a crazed killer, known only as The Bat. As the two women try to hide from The Bat, outside the police are looking for a million-dollar stash that was stolen from a nearby bank. Can the police find the money in time before it’s lost forever and can they rescue the women before The Bat kills them both? It’s easy to see that this movie is a great mystery thriller but I think it serves as a great slasher movie as well.
Watch the movie first or read the rest of the review below…
|MPEG-2 (DVD)||2.1 GB|
JAMHORNER WATCHES ‘THE BAT’
When it flies, someone dies!
Crane Wilbur‘s screenplay is actually based on a 1920 play written by Avery Hopwood and Mary Roberts Rinehart, which was later adapted into the 1926 film The Bat and again in 1930, this time called The Bat Whispers. As I stated before, I think this movie is more of a mystery since the The Bat character is unknown. He is said to have “no face” and goes around killing people while the police are trying to find the hidden stash of money. To me, this movie almost played out like a darker noirish Scooby-Doo episode. I know it’s completely different from a cartoon but there are just so many elements of the aforementioned animated series that can be seen in The Bat… and this movie was produced & released almost 11 years before the Scooby-Doo series was created. Black and white films, especially thriller or mystery films, are known for having very eerie and foreboding light direction. Before the The Bat even comes into the mansion, the lighting is very soft and generally all around, therefore the atmosphere is more relaxed. But when The Bat makes his appearance in the house the lighting takes a dramatic shift. You’ll notice that the main lights are only pointed on the main characters while blackness surrounds them. It fits the mood and tells the audience that they are being watched and surrounded by something that is profoundly evil… i.e. The Bat.
To me, the one thing that I enjoyed most was the fact that they made The Bat seem like a monster or some kind of animal. You never really saw what his body looks like, except if you count seeing it through a barely visible veil. Early on in the film you hear about him and you know he is a killer but they keep saying that he has no face, that he moves around so fluidly and kills without anybody noticing. When we finally do see him, it’s somewhat anticlimactic but you don’t expect him to look like a guy wearing a suite and hat. In the first half of the movie you are anticipating what he’ll look like and I think that’s what the film does quite nicely. You only see bits and pieces of the whole body but you never really see his full figure until later on.
I also want to mention the scares… There are very little scares but the few that are in here, were executed nicely. I think that this film has a sense of edge-of-your-seat suspense because The Bat keeps getting closer to the women before he actually does anything. He is messing around with them and as a viewer you are waiting for him to do something, but often it never happens. I think the scariest scene in the movie, for me at least, is when The Bat pokes his hand out from the opened door and lunges at one of the characters. To me that was pretty scary because all you see is the hand and nothing else, the body is covered but the hand is black and it has sharp nails on the ends of the fingers. Again, it’s assuring us that The Bat is a monster.
The pacing of the movie was pretty odd or maybe I just wasn’t catching onto something. But what struck me as a little weird was that the women were trapped yet Dr. Wells (played by Vincent Price) was able to walk in and out of the house and even converse with the two women. To me everything seemed a little out of order and jumbled. I guess I kind of wished that this movie was like a traditional haunted house movie or slasher film where the women are trapped and nobody can get in and the police are racing against the clock to find the stolen money.
The Bat does act as a great slasher flick as well, though, and I would go further to say that it’s probably one of the first slasher-esque films before Psycho. Think about it; the killer is masked and obviously psychotic and he has a select group of victims that he kills, most of them just end up being in his way. You don’t know what his intentions are and he always appears out of nowhere. The violence in the film is pretty graphic, considering the time this film was made. The Bat uses his sharp metal nails to slice open the throats of his victims and though you can’t see any blood, the idea of throat slitting is pretty grisly. This was a fun movie to watch and though I didn’t jump out of my seat or anything, I’ll admit that I did get freaked out a little at times. If you have a chance to watch this little classic, then go ahead… I don’t think you should rush out and see it but if it’s one of those cold, dark & stormy nights and you have nothing better to do then it’s the perfect movie to enjoy. Just remember, when someone screams… it will be you!