Bela Lugosi's only outing for PRC has one of the most outrageous plots ever (at least in my view, & I've seen
Bela plays small-town physician Dr. Carruthers who plots revenge
against the bosses of a perfume-company who he thinks have tricked him
out of the profits they were making from a shaving lotion he once
developed. To achieve this goal he develops another shaving lotion that
turns the giant bat he grew himself in his laboratory into a blood
crazed, lethal monster. Of course, his evil schemes are uncovered at the
end & he falls victim to his own creation.
The necessary heroics are
handled by Dave O'Brien as one of these nosy newspaper reporters who
turn up ever so often in horror-B's from the 30's & 40's, the love
interest is provided by Suzanne Kaaren, Donald Kerr as Photographer does
the funny bits, Yolande Donlan is supposed to (erotically) spice up the
proceedings a bit as French Maid.
The film that results from that is not half as bad though as the plot might
make it sound, despite its low budget it comes off as a reasonably atmospheric
horror thriller that should satisfy any fan of vintage horror. The film's
effectiveness though has to be accredited in no small portion to its lead
villain Bela Lugosi.
Bela delivers such lines as "Rub it here, at the tender part of
your neck" (referring, of course, to the lethal lotion) with real
relish, & when he says a simple "Good-bye !" to future
bat-victims, it sounds just like a death-sentence, proving he rightfully
earned his status as one of horror's all-time greats ! The scene that
has Bela opening his car's trunk to set the Devil Bat loose looks a bit
silly though, & Bela could do little to save it.
& here's just a reminder of how economic little PRC really was:
Not only did Devil Bat get its deserved sequel The Devil Bat's
Daughter (no Lugosi in this one, Eddie Kane is the villain) in 1946,
The Devil Bat's plot was also remade as The Flying
George Zucco), also in '46. & as if all that wasn't enough, the
actual Devil Bat (the prop that is) made a guest appearance in Wild
Horse Phantom in 1944, which isn't actually a horror movie at all
(or is it) but a Western starring Buster Crabbe and Fuzzy Al St John.