Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Vampire Bat (1933)
The Vampire Bat is a 1933 horror movie starring Lionel Atwill,
Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas and Dwight Frye.
When the villagers of Kleinschloss start dying of blood loss,
the town fathers suspect a resurgence of vampirism. While
police inspector Karl remains skeptical, scientist Dr. von
Niemann cares for the vampire's victims one by one, and
suspicion falls on simple-minded Herman Gleib because of
his fondness for bats. A blood-thirsty mob hounds Gleib to
his death, but the vampire attacks don't stop.
-Lionel Atwill...Dr. Otto von Niemann
-Fay Wray...Ruth Bertin
-Melvyn Douglas... Karl Brettschneider
-Maude Eburne...Aunt Gussie Schnappmann
-George E. Stone...Kringen
-Dwight Frye...Herman Gleib
-Robert Frazer...Emil Borst
-Rita Carlyle... Martha Mueller (as Rita Carlisle)
-Lionel Belmore...Bürgermeister Gustave Schoen
-William V. Mong...Sauer
Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill had been in the successful film
DOCTOR X the previous year and had already wrapped up
work of the follow-up MYSTERY IN THE WAX MUSEUM for
Warner Bros. when small Majestic Pictures saw a unique
chance to jump on all the advance publicity MYSTERY IN
THE WAX MUSEUM was receiving. But it would be a legnthy
post production process for the larger film.
Seeing a chance to exploit all the advance press, skid row
studio Majestic Pictures Inc. snagged Fay Wray and Lionel
Atwill for a quickie Horror film of their own, rushing THE
VAMPIRE BAT (1933) into production.
As it turned out, Fay’s growing fanbase had to only wait about
four months after THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME for their next
date with Fay. THE VAMPIRE BAT was released January 21, 1933.
Majestic Pictures had a lot less overhead than the larger studios,
who were struggling at the time during the great depression.
Part of the reason that THE VAMPIRE BAT looked almost as good
as any Universal Pictures horror film is because Majestic was
easily able to lease James Whales castoffs, the beautiful “German
Village” backlot sets left over from FRANKENSTEIN (1931) and the
interior sets from his film THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932), plus
some location shooting at Bronson Caves. Topping the illusion
that this was a film from a much bigger “A” studio, Majestic hired
amazing character actor Dwight Frye (Renfield in the 1931 film
DRACULA and Carl the hunchback in the 1931 film FRANKENSTEIN)
to populate scenes with Wray and Atwill.
THE VAMPIRE BAT ruse worked well for Majestic, with them able to
rush the quickie film into theaters less than a month before Warner's
release of MYSTERY IN THE WAX MUSEUM.