The Devil Bat

Production Year: 1940
Release Date: 917/2013
Studio: Kino
Collection Number: 1355

By the 1940's Bela Lugosi was practically royalty thanks to his work with Universal Studios.  It was a double edged sword for the actor however, as with fame also came typecasting.  His performance in Dracula (1931) was so renowned that it lead to a slew of roles, some grand (The Raven,) while others not so much (The Ape Man.)  In The Devil Bat Lugosi plays one Dr. Carruthers, a scientist bitter after his employers find success thanks to his hard work.

Carruthers uses his genius for evil, transforming an average bat to that of, well...."A devil bat."  He uses his monstrous creation to exact some much needed revenge.  Eventually reports of a winged creature dismantling people spreads and reporter Johnny Layton (Dave O'Brien) begins to suspect the acclaimed scientist.

I mentioned two examples of Bela's work, The Raven (the good,) and The Ape Man (the bad,) The Devil Bat is somewhere in between.  While not spectacular, it's still manages to pull you in.

Kino's transfer was taken directly from a 35mm negative.  While it's a bit rough around the edges it's still a more definitive release when compared to it's DVD brethren, a lot of which have transfers pulled from an inferior 16mm print.  The blacks are deep and natural and there's no signs of digital scrubbing or edge enhancement.  The audio, an uncompressed 2.0 mono track, is about level with the picture, a handful of age related issues such as a subtle hiss and the occasional pops occur throughout the film's duration.  While it's not perfect, it's always nice to see a company put effort into a royalty free property.  Speaking of which, hey Kino, when are you planning on releasing Night of the Living Dead!?

The Devil Bat includes an audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith (Video Watchdog,) along with an image gallery.  

It's hard not to root for Lugosi's character, wickedly teaching the monster bat to attack those based upon their perfume.  While it's not on par with flicks such as White Zombie, it's a must see for fans of the celebrated actor.

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