Another day, another review of an older film.
I’ve been on this kick of watching more older, pre 70s horror and thriller films and it never gets old in my opinion. There’s something about these films that I just really admire at the end of the day. Some of my favorites have been Cat People, The Haunting, Carnival of Souls, The Mummy, Night of the Demon and others. So this movie review will be no different except it stars a very familiar classic horror face in the form of Vincent Price during his prime.
Also starring along with him is Agnes Moorehead in this 1959 ABC International Pictures film, The Bat.
I did a mini review on Letterboxd so if you are interested in following or keeping up with films I will be watching throughout October, you can follow it here but here we go with spoilers, positives and negatives about this film.
So this film is called The Bat. Why is it called that? The film is about a serial killer who goes by the moniker The Bat because he is in all black, he leaves no fingerprints because he wears these gloves that look like claws and he attacks by going for the neck. And his markings are very similar to a real bat and victims either contracted rabies or saw a bat if they survived. As true as all this is, the film didn’t come off like that. I feel like the killer was almost an afterthought because the film revolves around a successful author (Agnes Moorehead) renting out a huge mansion by a man who eventually is killed after he stole 1 million dollars from a bank and the overall plot is really where did he hid the money?
Vincent Price plays Dr. Wells, who also specializes in bats but he also had a close relationship with the now dead man and Price plays this character well of charismatic, attentive, oddly convincing but he was a top suspect. He was also a red herring but he played the role of morally gray character in a whodunnit.
I enjoyed he and Moorehead’s acting throughout, I think they were the highlights of the film. I also liked it was a closed circle plot, everything taking place in the mansion, which felt very Agatha Christie. I also like parts of the script as well, like some of the later characters coming together to fight back or uncover the truth. I preferred that over just having these characters, mostly women, hiding in rooms, being scared. I liked that they took action more than the male characters.
What I did not like was the script felt all over the place. I was introduced to so many different characters that didn’t feel needed but I guess if it is a mystery thriller, we need many suspects. I wasn’t invested in a lot of the characters. And what I was focusing on really amounted to nothing in the film as well. I wanted to know more about some of these core relationships that seemed to be weaved throughout but there were no further connections.
And finally, the film reminded me so much of The Devil Bat, House on Haunted Hill and a little of The Haunting and I couldn’t get those out of my head. The film was not what I was expecting and I found myself figuring out who The Bat was pretty darn quickly.
The Bat, directed by Clane Wilbur, stars Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, Gavin Gordon, John Sutton, Lenita Lane and Darla Hood and I will give this film 3 out of 5 stars.
This film is now in public domain so if you want to check it out, it should be easy to find!
4 thoughts on “SoH Reviews: The Bat (1959)”
whats your favorite vincent price film?
Out of what I’ve seen of his so far? House on Haunted Hill followed by House of Wax. What is yours??
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House on Haunted Hill is one of my favorite movies ever honestly. i liked The Raven too but The Pit and The Pendulum was a knock out!
The Raven and Pit and the Pendulum are on my list of future watches! I think there’s something sinister about his role in House on Haunted Hill that really does work in his advantage.