In my continuing quest to find cheesy horror movies to write about, I turned once again to Steven’s DVD boxes set of 50 Horror Classics, purchased for him by me out of a discount bin.
Spoiler Alert! Although I will try to avoid mentioning the big reveal. It is a big one. In fact, already I’ve said too much.
As I sit here writing this, I suddenly realize I am not 100 percent clear on what the title is. Something with a vampire. The Vampire Bat? Or was that the one I saw with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead? So many vampires, so little time. I know I can look up these things before I type this into the computer, but I thought it said a little something about the movie that I could not recall the title. Or about me. In either case, I found it of interest.
The vampire killings start before the first scene of the movie. We open on a meeting of important men of the village discussing the murders. It’s vampires, insists the burgermeister (and any time there is a burgermeister in one of these movies, how many flash onto Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Burgermeister Meisterburger? Raise your hands).
There are no vampires, insists the sheriff or marshal or whatever he is. He is dressed like a plainclothes detective and is apparently the only cop the place has. At least, I don’t remember seeing any other cops. Probably a low budget production.
Our hero states that he will seek out a human murderer and goes to visit his girlfriend, conveniently located in the next room. I wasn’t clear on the geography of this movie, but that’s what it looked like to me. Oh, and he has to go down some steps, which seems appropriate, because it looks like a mad scientist’s laboratory. It belongs to the village doctor. Fay Wray is his assistant.
My girl Fay does not get to crack wise, like she did in Mystery of the Wax Museum nor yet to scream her head off as she did in King Kong. I was naturally disappointed. Also on hand is Fay’s aunt, a hypochondriac who is constantly after the doctor to prescribe for her, using some impressive if malaproppriate medical terms (I just made up that word malapropriate: malapropism + appropriate). She was my favorite character, especially since they let Fay be so boring.
The other character of note is a half-wit who says bats are good, making him an object of suspicion to the villagers. You can tell he is a half-wit, because he speaks of himself in the third person. He likes to catch bats and pet them and put them in his pocket. Is anybody else reminded of Lenny in Of Mice and Men? Our half-wit does not fare a whole lot better.
Things get suspenseful, even given poor Fay’s lamentably underscripted character. I don’t really want to say too much, because I was intrigued and a little surprised by how things unfolded. A little confused, too, because Fay’s part was not the only thing underscripted.
On the whole, I enjoyed the movie. But now I want to view Mystery of the Wax Museum again. So I can watch Fay Wray crack wise.
Note: It is The Vampire Bat, 1933. The one with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead is The Bat, 1959. I wrote a blog post about it.