Monsters and Memories #1: The Bat Whisperer (1930) by Ed Davis

Greetings Groovy Ghoulies! My name is Ed Davis and I love horror and sci-fi movies. Good ones, bad ones. They are a great escapism. It’s hard to believe it has been nearly 80 years since Bela Lugosi first donned the cape in the screen adaption of the play Dracula. It changed the world and set the horror genre on fire.

I grew up in upstate New York on a steady diet of Creature Double Feature, The Movie Loft, comic books, KISS, and Alice Cooper.

I remember setting an old wind-up alarm clock to watch some horror movie that would going on at 2am. And either the clock wouldn’t work right, or I would make it through the credits. But every once in awhile, I would make it through a whole picture.

As I grew older and cable telvesion changed, we lost alot of those films to infomercials. But, thankful with the arrival of DVDs, we can now relieve so many of those films.

With this forum, I plan to start around 1930 and work my way through as many horror and sci-fi films I can get my hands on. From Abbott and Costello to all of those zombies, no movie will be left behind! If I can find it, you’ll hear about it. We’re going to start with 1930’s “The Bat Whispers” and go from there.

The 30s were a golden time for Universal. The main creatures were introduced then. Stars were made of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and so many more.

The theater going world were introudced to the 12 part science fiction serial and new things were tried. I hope you all enjoy the journey with me.

I had never seen “The Bat Whispers” before, and I was not disappointed. It was adapted from a 1920 stage play, and it is a great early talkie. The plot revolves around a criminal named The Bat trying to steal $500,000 hidden in a country mansion somewhere. We are introduced to a cast of colorful characters. And I thought themansion itself was an interesting character. A secret room, winding staircases…just a great atmospheric setting.

I was impressed with the early special effects used in the film. A great use of miniatures sweeping over city streets, train tracks, and the mansion itself. I think there might have been some early animation in the opening sequence. There is also a cool sequence involving a fire playing in the distance and it seems to dance off the side of the house, as if it was really there.

One scene that really stuck out to me involved the Bat and the daughter of the spinster who owns the mansion. The young woman looks up and sees the shadow of the bat on the wall and it seems to melt away in front of us to reveal the Bat himself. He starts to crawl towards the camera and right into your lap, my heart skipped a beat!

Watching this, I couldn’t help noticing how much the Bat reminded me of Batman and I wondered how much influence this had on Bob Kane’s creation. Doing some seaching around the net, I discovered “The Bat Whispers” did play a role in the development of the caped crusader.

 

Do yourself a favor, and hunt this one down. A nice mix of laughs and scares to get you through the night.

Speaking of Batman, I was trying to find some toy or something to tie into this movie as I hope to do with allof my reviews. And I found this awesome playset from Mego that I always wanted, The Wayne Foundation seen at this address: http://www.megomuseum.com/wgsh/playsets/waynefoundation.html

Isn’t that cool? It had a working elevator for your Megos and even the giant penny from the Batcave itself! Anyone out there still have one of these? Anyone still have their Megos?

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon with another review and more monster toys! Until then, remember to watch the skies!