Long believed lost, the silent thriller-chiller The Bat finally resurfaced in the mid-1970s and proved well-worth the wait. Based on the play by Mary Roberts Rinehart, the plot is set in motion by a maniacal serial killer who dresses in a bat costume and flashes a batlike shadow on the wall just before he strikes. Most of the action takes place in the spooky old mansion of mystery writer Mrs. Cornelia Van Gorder (Emily Fitzroy), where a number of innocent bystanders, chiseling crooks, murder suspects and cowering bystanders converge. When the police show up, everything seems to be under control -- and then The Bat strikes again! The film's surprise ending was rather better handled in the 1930 talkie remake The Bat Whispers, but otherwise The Bat is a remarkable achievement, boasting superbly shuddery cinematography by Arthur Edeson and some absolutely eye-popping special effects, courtesy of production designer William Cameron Menzies. Some current prints of The Bat include an eerie musical score culled from episodes of TV's The Twilight Zone.
by Hal Erickson synopsis