The Bat People – USA, 1974 – overview and reviews

 
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The Bat People is a 1974 American horror feature film directed by Jerry Jameson from a screenplay written by producer Lou Shaw (Crypt of the Living Dead – US version). It was distributed by American International Pictures (AIP) and was reissued as It Lives By Night.

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The movie stars Stewart Moss (Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls), Marianne McAndrew, Michael Pataki (Zoltan… Hound of Dracula), Paul Carr (BenBlood: The Last Vampire) and Arthur Space (The Swarm; Mansion of the Doomed; Terror at Red Wolf Inn).

The Bat People was one of makeup artist Stan Winston’s earliest cinema assignments after TV movie Gargoyles.

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Plot:

Doctor John Beck, recently married, decides to take his wife, Cathy, on a tour guide of Carlsbad Cavern, New Mexico. While there, Doctor Beck, who specialises in bats, is bitten by a fruit bat. He is then, inexplicably, transformed into a vampire bat.

While he escapes and seeks help from another doctor, it is clear the treatments are not working. In fact, they are aggravating his condition. Doctor Beck unwittingly goes on a killing spree, catching the attention of Sergeant Ward…

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Buy with The Vampire + The Screaming Skull + The House That Screamed – Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The way-cool murder of the slimy sheriff in a small car by hundreds of bats is very bloody and fitting. More memorable, and totally hilarious, is the sex scene between Moss and McAndrew. In the throes of passion, she looks up to the squeaking, hideously hairy and ugly face of a bat. She screams and gets hysterical as Moss flees like a bat outta hell. How could you NOT love this movie?” And Then I Watched

“A grisly climax is the only payoff to producer Lou Shaw’s screenplay, set in a desert community. Sluggishly directed by Jerry Jameson.” John Stanley, Creature Features book

 

“The acting here is rather stiff, with the only likeable characters being killed off as quickly as they are introduced. John’s transformation into a Bat-like creature is slow and other than being able to roll his eyes WAY back into his forehead, Stewart Moss does little to portray the inner conflict and confusion of his transformation from man to man-bat.” DVD Drive-In

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” …marred by an overly leisurely pace, too many close-ups of bats (who apparently shriek like hawks) and of eyes. Some odd touches here and there do help a little, but not enough. The seventies-style ending is odd, inconclusive, and not really very satisfying.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

” … it’s stupid, cheap, and takes a while getting to the bat-action (though some would count that as a strength, leaving viewers to ponder whether John is actually transforming or just rabid and hallucinating). But as a fan of all things cheap and cheesy, I thought it was great. If you feel the same, Bat People is a fun time.” Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies

“A ridiculous film in every way possible (John is clearly bitten by a small fruit bat but somehow turns into a giant vampire bat), this is another one that never quite lives up to its potential. Like The Projected Man, it’s amusing enough to watch once and there are fleeting moments of brilliance here and there…” Rock! Shock! Pop!

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“What was interesting was that the now insane doctor came to accept his new form, in a way reminiscent of the contemporary Phase IV, and its revenge of nature theme so common to this decade’s shockers was developed into the lesser seen “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. The Spinning Image

“Director Jerry (Airport ’77) Jameson fails to inject much life into the scenes of the bickering couple, and the stuff involving the cop falls flat (although Pataki gives far and away the best performance in the film). The good news is, the stuff with Moss flipping out and turning batty (sorry, you knew it was coming) are sort of fun, even if the flick peters out at the end. ” The Video Vacuum

Home viewing releases:

On July 18, 2017, The Bat People was unleashed on Blu-ray by Scream Factory.

Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com

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Buy DVD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

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Bat People It Lives By Night

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Cast and characters:

  • Stewart Moss … Doctor John Beck
  • Marianne McAndrew … Cathy Beck
  • Michael Pataki … Sergeant Ward
  • Paul Carr … Doctor Kipling
  • Arthur Space … Tramp
  • Robert Berk … Motel Owner
  • Pat Delany … Ms Jax (as Pat Delaney)
  • George Paulsin … Boy in Pickup
  • Bonnie Van Dyke … Girl in Pickup
  • Jennifer Kulik … Nurse / Victim (as Jeni Kulik)
  • Laurie Brooks Jefferson … Nurse
  • Herb Pierce … Park Ranger (uncredited)

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