The Devil Bat (1940)

Directed by: Jean Yarbrough

Written by: John T. Neville

Story by: George Bricker


Bela Lugosi ... Dr. Paul Carruthers
Suzanne Kaaren ... Mary Heath
Dave O'Brien ... Johnny Layton
Donald Kerr ... One Shot McGuire
Guy Usher ... Henry Morton
Arthur Q. Bryan .... Joe McGinty
Yolande Mallott ... Frenchy
Edward Mortimer ... Martin Heath
Gene O'Donnell ... Don Morton
John Davidson .... Prof. Percival Garland Raines
Alan Baldwin ... Tommy Heath

Release Date: Theatrical: December 13, 1940





When a brilliant scientist, Dr. Paul Carruthers (Bela Lugosi) develops an ingenious product and is cheated out of the profits by his greedy partners, Carruthers turns his labratory of science into one of doom by creating a giant race of deadly bats.
He sets them out to kill his enemies and others suspect that they're bats from hell and in papers they are called Devil Bats.
Now armed with killing machines, the good scientist gone bad has the power to kill at will.
But people track him down and try to put a stop to his evil doings before others get killed by his bats as they enter people's houses and towns.


Perfect moments with Dr. Paul Carruthers tests out his experiments in a room with electricity as the areas looked perfect for a mad scientist type of scheme as well as good close up shots on him testing the lotion towards his bat to see how this creature reacts to it all. Looks disturbing but at the same time kinda cute seeing this bat.
A nice moment with Paul offering some lotion towards one of his clients which is by the name of Tommy along with him trying it and showing the nice feel to it along with a good shot on Paul looking amused which is a nice drawing card to the story that he will be a perfect victim for his project of his bats.
Perfect daylight shot on the bat zooming in the air and then leaping down to attack Tommy but when we spot this figure landing on his face it looks like a kite which is pretty funny but mind you effects nowadays looks alot better than the time being. Still it was overly entertaining to watch all of this.
There's a moment with Joe McGinty discussing with Johnny Layton on his mission on a case of the attacks as this looked a little too hokey by how it was set out when it was meant to be serious.
Perfect uplifting situation with One Shot McGuire prepping up to help out Johnny on the attacks and then he spots the maid Frenchie in which he acts flirtatious and charming towards her as this fits in nicely into the story since we often need a near romantic moment in a horror flick. It was done in perfect taste.
Perfect situation with a cocky young man not believing the story of the bat terrorising the area after putting some lotion on which makes you noy wanting to like this idiot in which leaves a perfect target for him to be the next victim as this always works in a story such as this one. More great shots on the bat flying in the air and swooping down as well as good intense gun shots on Johnny firing away as this looked effective as well adding nice suspense into the film.
Perfect low downs with
Prof. Percival Garland Raines having a discussion with Paul and him not liking on what he hears and trying to get him to try on his lotion as their conversations were strongly drawn in to the scene here and you get a creepy feeling on what's going to happen afterwards.
Then we get the real lowdown with McGuire talking to Paul on what's happening as well as trying to force him to put on his own lotion as this makes you watch carefully on seeing what will unravel here as well as good struggling moments between the two of them as this looked perfectly intense to watch all of this adding nice action and suspense.
Bottom line is that this is a great flick that inspired many generations of other films too. It's not a mainstream film but that's okay as it was very adventureous looking and a perfect old fashioned horror flick nonetheless. Gothic shock rocker King Diamond used clips of this film for his rock video "Sleepless Nights" along with other old horror flicks. A scary film in it's time and good effects too. A definete classic!

The acting is good for it's time and of course Bela Lugosi (Dr. Paul Carruthers) always does well in his films since he was naturally a character actor and one of the original scream kings. His character in this film is quite disturbing as he plays a vengeful man in it. He does well with his wicked charm when trying to get someone to try on his cologne. Also shows off good intense energy when doing his experiments with his pet bats. Adds a nice mysterious feel when he acts deceivingly sympathetic or innocent on situations and showing good mysterious expressions too. He reacts very well to freaking out when his cologne is splashed on him as well as showing good physical energy towards someone else during a struggling moment.
Suzanne Kaaren (Mary Heath) seems very unique in her performance by how she speaks with a nice low tone in her voice as well as playing someone who seems to be smart and not one of those typical dramatic types of female characters that you often see in a horror flick such as this one. Shows a good calmness to what she does in this one.
Dave O'Brien (Johnny Layton) wasn't too shabby as one of those wise types of detectives in the film in which he adds a good strong performance when trying to figure out clues as well as adding a good witty type of personality to make things uplifting for others. He does well with his blocking too especially while firing a weapon.
Donald Kerr (One Shot McGuire) brought on the perfect wit and charm as his sidekick and photographer in which he does a good job acting flirtatious and romantic in a certain scene which looked very natural and memorable to anyone who saw him act like this. He for sure played a perfect likeable type of guy. Adds some nice charisma and spunk into what he did here and was the one who stood out the most in this flick.
Arthur Q. Bryan (Joe McGinty) had the right burly types of looks as the head chief but sometimes seemed a bit too campy when he discusses a murder in which this was meant to be serious but yet came across as likeable by what he had to do here adding a nice sense of humor. He was more of a comedic actor which explained why he played the voice over for Elmer Fudd and other cartoon characters during the rest of his acting career.
Yolande Mallott (Frenchy) had a nice supporting role as the maid in the flick in which she has a nice accent and shows off a good beautiful girl type of looks too as she comes across as one of the types the guys will go crazy over and does well with her uplifting behavior too.
John Davidson (Prof. Percival Garland Raines) seemed to know his craft well by trying to get information out of someone else in which he adds some nice wisdom and sharpness to his speaking as well as reacting well to situations too. Plus does a nice job being cuatious by what he does too. He was for sure an effective character actor.

The music was wonderfully composed with the good old fashioned orchestral music that was often used in these traditional horror flicks in which there's the odd peaceful sounds when necessary as well as the high intense sounds with trombone and trumpet playing as well as the drum rumbling sounds especially when the bat is flying in the air ready to attack adding perfect timing.

Henry Morton: You're a dreamer, Doc. Too much money is bad for dreamers.
Dr. Paul Carruthers: So you tried to pay me in flattery, telling me that I'm a dreamer. Well... I *do* dream - dreams that you would *never* guess.

Editor Joe McGinty: Say, have you ever had a date with a girl?
Reporter Johnny Layton: A girl? Oh, yes, a girl. I believe I did take a girl out once.

Dr. Paul Carruthers: Now, rub it on the tender part of your neck.

[after listening to a scientist's theory on the radio]
Dr. Paul Carruthers: [thick Hungarian accent] Imbecile! Bombastic Ignoramus!

Tommy: [trying the lotion] That feels great... very soothing.
Dr. Paul Carruthers: I don't think you'll ever use anything else.