Who—or what—is responsible for the rash of exsanguinations in "The Vampire Bat" (1933)? While some believe it's vampires and at least one villager claims to have narrowly escaped the attack of a giant bat, Detective Karl Brettschneider is looking for a very human killer. Suspicion falls on Herman Gleib, a local man who keeps pet bats and argues to any and all about their gentleness.
In its portrayal of bats, this horror film raises the issue of science fact versus fiction. Are Gleib's bats creepy killers or misunderstood innocents? Like the bats, Gleib himself becomes a handy scapegoat, thanks to the villagers' desperate desire to resolve the tormenting mystery and end the murders. Yet as the villagers concentrate their efforts on finding a runaway Gleib, they may have left the true horror free to kill again.
Directed by Frank R. Strayer, the film boasts a distinguished cast for its era. Brettschneider is played by Oscar-winner Melvyn Douglas, Fay Wray is Ruth Bertin, the detective's girlfriend; Maufe Eburne as Aunt Gussie; Dwight Frye plays Gleib and Lionel Atwill plays the village doctor.
Heidi HarrisHeidi Harris, Director of Utah Bat Rescue and Rehabilitation, discusses the titular species of the film “Vampire bat.”
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