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The Bat (1959) Review

by Yo Adrian on August 06th, 2019 | | ,

The Bat was directed by Crane Wilbur (who also directed The Patient In Room 18) and stars Vincent Price (from From A Whisper to A Scream, The Monsters Club), Agnes Moorehead (from Dear Dead Delilah, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte) and Gavin Gordon (from Bride of Frankenstein, Mystery of Wax Museum). It’s about a killer who dresses as a bat and a murder mystery writer who needs to unravel his motives and reveal his identity… before it’s too late! (Yes, that was cheesy. So is this movie).

When it flies… someone dies!

The Bat Review

The Bat is the 1959 remake of the original, a silent movie from back in 1926. This one stars the legendary Vincent Price and is much less of a comedy than the original. This classic reboot is a simple murder mystery. There’s suspense and some tension from time to time, but no more than you would find from an episode of Murder She Wrote. This was surely intentional since the original it’s based off was supposed to be goofy.

In true classic movie style, the first 10 minutes is all exposition. Two women discussing the killer nicknamed “The Bat” and how he targets women, before they both venture off to stay in a rental home, alone. Then you have two guys who very specifically lay out their role in the story and explain what to the audience what to expect. It’s ridiculous by modern standards, but I guess it worked back then.

Also in true classic movie style, this one relies very heavily on the use of strong shadows and a powerful score to create suspense. I love this aspect of classic horrors and wish it was still used as prominently in movies today. Nowadays, we get creative cinematography, practical effects and sometimes effective CGI, but there’s nothing like the power of strong lighting and expressive sinister facial expressions. Oh, and everyone is sharp-dressed. Formal suits, dresses, swanky hats. Even the killer walks around in his Sunday’s best. It really was another time back then.

Even though this movie didn’t commit to the horror genre, I really had fun watching it. It was part mystery, part haunted house and all style. Wish I could tell you more, but it just wouldn’t be cool to ruin any of the story for any of you Vincent Price fans who still have this on your watchlist.

Worth Watching?

I think so. It’s a fun murder mystery that drips style. It’s not likely to have anyone on the edge of their seats, but it’s a great blast from the past for fans of Vincent Price. You can watch the full movie here, right now.


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