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Case Number 26759: Small Claims Court

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The Bat (1959)

Film Chest // 1959 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 30th, 2013

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum takes on a ferocious killer with the help of Endora from Bewitched and Darla from The Little Rascals.

The Charge

"When it flies, someone dies!"

The Case

The Bat is a black-and-white 1959 thriller starring Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched) out to find a spooky killer who is creeping around her rented haunted mansion. She is joined by Vincent Price (House of Wax) and Darla Hood (The Little Rascals), who respectively play a mad scientist and cannon fodder for the gore mill. You see, The Bat is a murderer who has no face and sharp claws, and he likes to tear out the throats of young women. He looks like a 1959 version of Watchmen's Rorschach, with nice metal talons attached to black gloves to take people out.

The movie itself isn't high concept or even surprisingly plotted, but it's a gas to see Agnes Moorehead chew scenery next to Vincent Price. The whole thing plays out much better than it sounds, thanks to a cast spry enough to realize this is kitsch, and the director is smart enough to keep things moving at a nice clip. This is a fun ride that most old spooky movie fans will find fits the bill for black-and-white chills or at least some ham-fisted horror.

The DVD cover claims that this is the first time The Bat has been restored in high-definition from original 35mm elements. It does look great, and the black levels and contrast are spot on. The image has a nice depth, and the whole flick shows off a nice clarity coupled with definition. There is no aliasing, and the print looks quite clean. There is a mono soundtrack that is rendered without any hiss or pops. The only drawback here is there are no supplements at all; it's just a barebones release with no support. There's not even a trailer here.

The Bat is 80 minutes of black-and-white fun with Agnes Moorehead taking on Vincent Price and a faceless killer with only the help of Darla from The Little Rascals. It's a gem of an old creaky tale that has a cast rising above the mechanical plot and not-so-shocking revelations. This release sports a shiny new transfer that looks great without any extras. People who just want the flick should be happy enough. There's plenty to love here with a pre-Bewitched Agnes Moorehead and an in-his-prime Vincent Price. The only sad note is this was the last feature film for Darla Hood who gave up show business right after filming this one. At least she went out on a high-pitched scream as a faceless killer approached her with silver claws ready to tear her throat out.

The Verdict

A guilty pleasure from the vaults of old spook fests!

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Film Chest
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1959
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Classic
• Horror
• Mystery
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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