Film (1940; vt Killer Bats). Producers Releasing Corporation. Produced by Jack Gallagher. Directed by Jean Yarbrough (as Jean Yarborough). Written by John T Neville from an original story by George Bricker. Cast includes Yolande Donlan (credited as Yolande Mallott), Suzanne Kaaren, Bela Lugosi, Edmund Mortimer (as Edward Mortimer) and Dave O'Brien. 68 minutes. Black and white.
Dr Paul Carruthers (Lugosi) is a Mad Scientist who feels he has been cheated out of his share of an aftershave lotion formula developed for a corporation owned by Martin Heath (Mortimer) and his wife Mary (Karen). He subsequently creates huge Mutant bats to kill off his former corporate employers and members of their families: this is achieved by supplying his intended victims with free "test" samples of a new lotion which attracts and maddens his flying killers. The bats despatch several of them before reporter Johnny Layton (O'Brien) deduces that Carruthers is responsible. In a climactic struggle, Carruthers is predictably doused with his own lotion and killed by a Monster bat, which is then destroyed before it can slay heroine Maxine (Mallott).
This was one of the very poor productions which badly damaged Lugosi's career from around 1940 onward. A closely similar storyline, with the titular Aztec monster in place of the bat, features in the risible quasi-remake The Flying Serpent (1946; vt Killer with Wings) directed by Sam Newfield. [GFi/DRL]
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