The Devil Bat – Public Domain Horror!

If you’re a fan of BELA LUGOSI you’ll get a kick out of his sinister role here as a scientist who is bent on getting revenge because he never got his full share of the profits on his inventions.

Given the low-budget look and tacky special effects (a live bat appears in close-ups only), the modest little thriller entertains even though it doesn’t quite provide the shudders intended. Still, if you’re in a Halloween mood, you might want to sit through this at least once.

Interesting to note Dave O’Brien in the role of Johnny Layton. O’Brien is familiar to me because of all the Pete Smith Specialties he starred in during the ’40s and which TCM has been running frequently. Others will recall him in a bunch of westerns he made at poverty row studios. At any rate, he gives the only really professional performance in the film aside from Bela who seems to relish his role as the mad scientist. Most of the acting among supporting players is on the less than credible side.

Also interesting to note that O’Brien was a very versatile man who acted, directed and wrote throughout a prolific career that began in the 1930s–with over a hundred films to his credit. He was my main reason for enjoying THE DEVIL BAT.
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Fun Fact

This low-budget thriller, boosted by Bela Lugosi, was one of the biggest successes for the poverty row Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). After the war, the studio tried to recapture this success by producing an in-name-only sequel, Devil Bat’s Daughter (1946), and a virtual shot-by-shot remake, The Flying Serpent (1946).
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Plot Summary

A mad scientist develops an aftershave lotion that causes his gigantic bats to kill anyone who wears it.
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Cast

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

About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).