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Bindy Sue FrÝnkŁnschtein | under the rubble | 02/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In a small town in europe, people are dying. The blood is being drained from their bodies, and puncture wounds are found on the throat. The Burgermeister and his council are frantic. Is it the work of vampire bats flown in from south america? Or worse, could it be an actual vampire?? Lionel Atwill plays doctor Neiman, a seemingly benign scientist who just might have a dark side. Fay Wray (King Kong, Doctor X, The Most Dangerous Game) is his oblivious assistant. Dwight Frye (Frankenstein, Dracula) is Harold, the town crackpot and number one suspect. I love him in anything! THE VAMPIRE BAT is a lot of fun, and only about an hour long! Well worth owning..."
NON-UNIVERSAL, UNIVERSAL HORROR
Tim Janson | Michigan | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Vampire Bat from Little known Majestic Pictures does a great job of capturing the look and feel of classic Universal Horrors of the 1930's. First it had a great cast featuring Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, and Dwight Frye. Frye plays Herman, a simple-minded fellow who may even be crazier that the Renfield role he played in Dracula just two years earlier. Atwill, of course, was no stranger to Universal Horrors, having co-starred in The Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, to name just a few. Also in the cast is Lionel Belmore as the Burgomeister. Belmore played the exact role in the Original 1931 Frankenstein. This may almost be the same village as in Frankenstein as well.
Several residents of Klineschloss have been killed. Drained of their blood with two puncture wounds in their necks. They immediately attribute the killings to a vampire. The police inspecter Karl Brettschneider (Douglas) doesn't believe in vampires though. And soon he sets his eyes on Herman Gleib as a suspect due to his affinity for bats. Frye gives one of his great performances in this film...creeping and skulking about, eyes wide in a maniacal grin. He really makes the movie for me.
Atwill is the town doctor, Dr. Otto von Niemann and he is assisted by Ruth Bertin (played by a dark haired Fay Wray) who is also in love with Karl. When Herman is killed, and the murders continue, karl now has to set his sights on a new suspect...a very surprising suspect.
In some ways the Vampire Bat is a bit of a combination of Dracula with Frye and the apparent attacks, and Frankenstein, as Von Niemann is seeking to create his own form of life. The fog shrouded, misty little German hamlet is straight out of Universal's horrors and the atmostphere is superb. The only thing that really didn't work for me was the sappy love plot between Wray and Douglas. Thankfully that was kept to a minimum.
All in all, Vampire Bat was a wonderful horror, well in the tradition of Universals classics."
A Pleasant Surprise
One of many | somewhere in the blur | 07/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Vampire Bat (1933) is on one level a cheap way to pass the time. On another level, it's a classic in its own right, showcasing one of Dwight Frye's more intriguingly maniacal characters and a story that surpasses many for its time.
Set in a small village called Kleinschloss in Bavaria, the plot revolves around numerous murders that have been occurring. The unfortunate twist to these murders? Each victim is found blood-drained with the cliche bite marks on their neck. The superstitious town is petrified and insists that it is vampirism spreading this horror about. But investigator Karl Brettschneider (Melvyn Douglas) is skeptical. He would rather pursue the matter from a more scientific standpoint. Dr. Otto von Niemann (Lionel Atwill) is the town doctor, and is torn between the two sides, not sure what should be done. And then, of course, we have Herman Gleib (Dwight Frye). The unfortunate man who everyone's pointing their finger at. You see, the mentally handicapped Gleib has a fascination with bats. Couple that with his eccentric and at times creepy personality and the poor guy never had a chance. The townsfolk focus their fear on him -- eventually chasing down Herman, leading to his death. They drive a stake through his heart just to be sure. But wouldn't you know it, the killing continues. Faced with a mystery that threatens to go on and on if the true source of this depravity is not uncovered, the story then kicks into the next gear, ultimately winding down to its ending.
I bought The Vampire Bat DVD for really one reason: Dwight Frye. Most recognized for his portayal of Renfield in 1931's Dracula, he's been known by horror fans for his ability to bring insanity to the screen (even though in all actuality he was much more versatile in his acting ability). I was indeed impressed with his part in The Vampire Bat. Sure, his role could've been given a tiny bit more screen time, but for what it's worth, I'm left satisfied. Yet the real kicker was the surprise hit with the film in general. It's nowhere near a masterpiece, but it's definitely more than the average B flick to pop out of the 30s. I think anyone who enjoys that era of horror will certainly enjoy this.
The DVD, however, isn't anything to really write home about. The DVD edition I own (Studio: CiniVu, Production Company: Majestic Pictures Inc., DVD cover: orange movie title with Atwill's hypnotic face in gray) doesn't have very nice picture or sound, but one can only assume that because of the film's age just about every transfer will be this way. The menu is no more than the scene selection page and a "Play Feature" button. So I'd say when it comes to choosing which edition, just go for the cheapest. I've yet to hear of any DVD with extra features or a spectacular transfer. So, in other words, my four stars are for the film itself!"
Dwight Frye Is Great As Herman!!
One of many | 12/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good movie about a town who has experienced some suspicious deaths that make it look like the work of a vampire or is it something else? I liked this mystery movie and I really liked Dwight Frye as the mentally challanged Herman."
I Liked This Movie! Dwight Frye Is Great as Harold!
One of many | 12/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw the movie The Vampire Bat on Turner Classic Movies and I think it's a good horror/mystery movie. The whole cast is good but I especially like Dwight Frye as the mentally challanged Harold, he is great and I highly recommend this movie!"