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Friday, August 13, 2010

The Vampire Bat (1933)

Is he the village idiot or a blood sucking vampire?  You decide!  The Vampire Bat starts out really strong but feels like it loses steam long the way.  The set up is good and the acting is very good but the movie feels like it needs a different ending.  For instance, a vampire we've never seen throughout the entire film suddenly shows up in the last few scenes of the movie.  There has been no evidence of this character's presence anywhere up until this point.  It's kind of random and feels out of place.
The cast includes Lionel Atwill [the infamous Inspector Krogh in Son of Frankenstein] who is excellent as Dr. Otto von Niemann.  Fay Wray is also very good as Ruth Berlin.  She is best known for her role as Ann Darrow in King Kong (1933).  My two favorite performances are from veteran character actors Dwight Frye and Maude Ebume.  Frye is delightful as the "village idiot" and is probably best known for his portrayals of Renfield in Dracula (1931) and Fritz in Frankenstein (1931).  He has a strong and commanding presence in every scene he's in.  Maude Ebume  brings the comic relief as hypochondriac Aunt Gussie.  She's a total gem in this film.
I would be tempted to give this a Very Good rating.  However, because the movie gets weaker as it goes along I decided to give it a Good rating.  This movie reaches for something really great but never quite gets there.  This one is available to download for free at Archive.org.
Download a copy of the film from Archive.org
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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