The Devil Bat

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The Devil Bat
Devilbatposter.jpg
Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Written by George Bricker
John T. Neville
Starring Béla Lugosi
Suzanne Kaaren
Dave O'Brien
Guy Usher
Distributed by Producers Releasing Corporation
Release date(s) December 13, 1940[1]
Running time 68 m
Language English

The Devil Bat (1940) is a black-and-white comedy-horror movie produced by Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) and directed by Jean Yarbrough. The film stars horror actor Bela Lugosi, along with Suzanne Kaaren, Guy Usher, Yolande Mallott, and the comic team of Dave O'Brien and Donald Kerr as the protagonists. The film later had a 1946 sequel titled Devil Bat's Daughter.

Plot[edit]

The story involves a small town cosmetic company chemist (Lugosi) who is upset at his wealthy employers, because he feels they have denied him his due share of company success. To get revenge, he breeds giant bats. He then conditions them to kill those wearing a special after-shave lotion he has concocted. He cleverly distributes the lotion to his enemies as a "test" product.

Once they have applied the lotion, the chemist then releases his Devil Bats in the night, which kill his two former partners and three members of their families. A hot shot big city reporter gets assigned by his editor to cover and help solve the murders. He (O'Brien) and his bumbling photographer (Kerr) begin to unwind the mystery with some comic sidelights. The mad chemist is, predictably, done in by his own shaving lotion, and by his own creation—the dreaded Devil Bat.

Cast[1][edit]

Lugosi in The Devil Bat
The "devil bat" in Dr. Carruthers's laboratory
  • Béla Lugosi as Dr. Paul Carruthers
  • Suzanne Kaaren as Mary Heath
  • Dave O'Brien as Johnny Layden
  • Guy Usher as Henry Morton
  • Yolande Donlan (credited as Yolande Mallott) as Maxine
  • Donald Kerr as "One-Shot" McGuire
  • Edward Mortimer as Martin Heath
  • Gene O'Donnell as Don Morton
  • Alan Baldwin as Tommy Heath
  • John Ellis as Roy Heath
  • Arthur Q. Bryan as Joe McGinty
  • Hal Price as Police Chief Wilkins
  • John Davidson as Prof. Percival Garland Raines
  • Wally Rairdon as Walter King

Production[edit]

PRC was a young studio when it planned to enter the horror film genre, which had been neglected by the major studios during 1937 and 1938. Lugosi was beginning a come-back when he signed a contract on October 19, 1940, with PRC's Sigmund Neufeld to star in the poverty row studio's first horror film.[2] The shooting of the film began a little more than one week later.[3] PRC was known for shooting its films quickly and cheaply, but for endowing them with a plentiful amount of horror,[4] and The Devil Bat established this modus operandi.[2]

Current status[edit]

Following its theatrical release, The Devil Bat fell into public domain and since the advent of home video, has been released in countless truncated, poorly edited video and DVD editions.

In 1990, the film was restored from original 35mm elements by Bob Furmanek and released on laserdisc by Lumivision.

In 2008, Furmanek supplied his original elements to Legend Films, who performed a new restoration and also created a computer-colorized version. Both the restored black-and-white and colorized versions were subsequently released on DVD.[5]

Reception[edit]

In the 1993 book Poverty Row Horrors!, Tom Weaver judges The Devil Bat as one of Lugosi's best films for the poverty row studios.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Weaver, Tom (1993). "The Devil Bat (PRC, 1940)" in Poverty Row Horrors! Monogram, PRC and Republic Horror Films of the Forties. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-89950-756-5. p. 14.
  2. ^ a b Weaver (1993). p. 15.
  3. ^ Weaver (1993). p. 17.
  4. ^ Weaver, Tom (1993). "Introduction" in Poverty Row Horrors! Monogram, PRC and Republic Horror Films of the Forties. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-89950-756-5. p. xiii-xiv.
  5. ^ Footnote, DVD Talk review
  6. ^ Weaver (1993). p. 19.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Weaver, Tom (1993). "The Devil Bat (PRC, 1940)" in Poverty Row Horrors! Monogram, PRC and Republic Horror Films of the Forties. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-89950-756-5. pp. 14–25.