The Vampire Bat (1933)

Genres - Horror, Mystery  |   Release Date - Jan 10, 1933 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 63 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Often cited as the cream of the crop among independently produced chillers of the 1930s, The Vampire Bat does indeed pack a wallop. Perhaps no longer able to frighten a modern, so-called more sophisticated audience, Frank Strayer's compact little horror treatise is nevertheless so well cast and produced with such élan as to consistently entertain. The physical trappings are entirely comparable to the Universal horror films of the era -- in fact, filmed on the studio lot, The Vampire Bat benefits from several of the famous standing sets -- and the cast is perhaps even better than what the larger studio would be willing to provide. Lionel Atwill adds yet another of his patented devilishly calculating Mad Doctors and Fay Wray is as comely as ever, even if she doesn't scream a single time. Add to that a young Melvyn Douglas as the male ingénue (a major improvement over Universal's tepid David Manners) and such grand genre perennials as Dwight Frye, Lionel Belmore, Robert Frazer, and Maude Eburne, and there is nary a dull moment. Eburne, incidentally, as Wray's hypochondriac aunt, becomes the subject of one of filmdom's funnier closing lines.