The Vampire Bat (1933) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Frank R. Strayer
Starring: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas
Rated: UR/Region A/1:33/1080p/Number of Discs 1 (BDr)
Available The Film Detective
When the villagers of Klineschloss 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.
Proving that just about anything from any year can find its way to Blu-ray as long as the source is good is 1933’s The Vampire Bat! It makes its way to Blu-ray from Film Detective and I admit it looks pretty darn good. I was a little worried about that after the lackluster looking Dementia 13 from the group, but this looks really good for what it is and doesn’t come with really many issues outside of age. As for the movie, it is a bit of a lighter affair but it still comes with some rather horrific moments for its time. Now, of course, I’m not talking about anything blood and guts or anything like that, but this movie certainly has a mood to it. That’s one thing about older black and white films, they clearly have that look and it can give them a boost on atmosphere. The Vampire Bat is one of those films. People end up dead and people think someone did it. Of course, you and I won’t have any trouble guessing that they have the wrong person but what comes next is a bit tricky.
I guessed it wasn’t who they want you think it was but I was a bit off on the movie’s big reveal. It was a fun watching getting to that point none the less and with a running time of just a little over an hour the movie never does hang around long enough to wear out its welcome. The movie is just fine for what it is and we all need more classic vampire movies in our lives, so I’m all for anyone giving this movie a chance that might want to. This one also comes with some nice extras as well that I’m listing below. As far as classic black and white vampire movies go this might not be Dracula but isn’t too bad at all either. Especially if you see the number the UCLA team did on it with the transfer on the disc.
– New Melvyn Douglas Featurette with his Son Gregory Hesselberg
– Audio Commentary by Films Historian Sam Sherman
Quality of Transfer: 85%