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The Devil Bat's Daughter

USA 1946
produced by
Frank Wisbar, Carl Pierson (associate) for PRC
directed by Frank Wisbar
starring Rosemary La Planche, Eddie Kane, John James, Michael Hale, Molly Lamont, Nolan Leary, Monica Mars, Ed Cassidy
screenplay by Griffin Jay, based on a story by Ernst Jäger, Leo J. McCarthy, music by Alexander Steinert

Devil Bat

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Following the events of The Devil Bat, the daughter of deceased Dr Carruthers of the first movie (he was then played by Bela Lugosi, but doesn't feature in this one, the daughter is here played by Rosemary La Planche, Miss America 1941, who also stars in director Wisbar's Strangler in the Swamp of the same year, also produced by PRC) returns to her father's home, only to learn he's been dead for some years, billed as the Devil Bat & even rumored to have been a blooddrinker. This is enough to retrigger a childhood trauma concerning vampirism in La Planche which puts her in care of village-psychiatrist Eddie Kane, but - this being a horror movie - the good doctor is not as good as he ought to be & instead of healing her he gives her the notion to be a blooddrinker herself.

But why would he do that ?!, you may ask. To have a cut-out culprit once he has murdered his wife of course, & everything seems to work quite fine, La Planche is even willing to take the blame, wouldn't there be the doctor's hated stepson John James, who has fallen in love with La Planche ... (you can figure out the rest I think).

 

This film was often dismissed all too easily for not being an accurate sequel to the first Devil Bat (often of course by the same people who quite willingly dismissed the first Devil Bat as well), because in a subplot Dr. Carruthers (Bela) is actually rehabilitated, making him an innocent victim of his own creation rather than a ruthless murderer.

In fact, this is completely besides the point when reviewing this movie, that plays more like a moody murder mystery than the monster movie its predecessor was. Seemingly to emphasize this, the Devil Bat (the actual prop, that is) doesn't even feature prominently apart from some dream sequences, & then it is only in distorted images that may very well have been lifted from the first movie, thus removing this one even further from the original,  rather reminding one of Jacques Tourneur's Cat People. & while The Devil Bat's Daughter might not actually play in the very same league as that movie (given restrictions posed by story, budget & production methods), it is still an enjoyable, intelligent & atmospheric psychological thriller with horror elements way above PRC's usual output (not that there would be necessarily be anything wrong with that at all).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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written by
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