A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)


thebat-final

“One of his victims who lived for a moment after she was found described the Bat as a man without a face.”

So every year I talk about how great Vincent Price is and how he has made truly amazing films in which he plays a terrifying, horrifying, and thrilling person.

VincentPrice

The past three years I just haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of his famous works (although I did review Laura last year.) So this year I decided it was time to finally review one of his horror-suspense films. So prepare yourself for:

sensationhorrorshock_VincentPrice

As I present to you The Bat!

So this is another film off the 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection, like The Screaming Skull, Night of the Living Dead, etc. This film is based on a play written by Mary Roberts Rineheart. Now I’m not a huge fan of this author, I find her boring, but if Vincent Price is in it, it must be good.

VincentPrice

So we  begin our story looking at a beautiful mansion, The Oaks.

rebeccamansionmanderley

Here mystery writer Cornelia van Gorder is staying while she works on her newest novel. But the events that occur here are more mysterious and terrible than anything Cornelia has ever written.

Cornelia van Gorder: As an author I write tales of mystery and murder, but the things that have happened in this house are far more fantastic than any book I’ve ever had published.

Right away we are sucked in. What happened?

Suspense have to know

So Cornelia is having a hard time keeping her servants. There was a killer called “The Bat”, who was murdering people. There is a rumor that he is back and on the prowl.

Cornelia van Gorder: Why? What does it say about the Bat?

Lizzie Allen: His specialty seems to be killing women, my goodness, two of them in one night, all his victims died the same way, like their throats had been ripped open with steel claws.

Cornelia van Gorder: That’s charming, I’ll have to try it some time. [Lizzie stares at her weird]  In a book.

I guess he’s the pre-Freddy Kruegar.

Freddy Kruger

To make things even worse, he has been releasing rabid bats into the community.

a7x_deathbat_animation_by_xxdarksoraxx-d3eogbz

Now Cornelia doesn’t care if the servants are too scared to work there as she thinks the whole thing is silly. If everyone leaves, she’ll just replace them. She and her assistant Lizzie leave to run some errands.

When they reach the bank they meet a very surprised Victor Bailey, vice president to the bank. John Fleming, the bank president and owner of The Oaks, said he would never let the place.

never-say-never-in-front-of-fantasy_1279

Cornelia tells them that Mark was the one who actually rented it to them. They then meet Victor’s wife, Dale, who used to be his secretary. Lt. Andy Anderson also comes in and is introduced to Cornelia. Lt. Andy is on the bank board. Interesting…I didn’t think cops that much money.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

So Cornelia and Lizzie go off to do what they came to do. Suddenly Victor comes back extremely upset and takes aside Lt. Andy and Dale. It turns out the bank been looted over $1 million worth of securities!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But who could do this? Only Victor and Mr. Flemming have the keys!

suspicious Hmm

Victor wants to call him, but can’t as he is on vacation with his best friend, Dr. Malcolm Wells, on a huting trip on the deep woods with no phone.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

So then we switch to another scene of two men in a cabin. They are John Flemming and Dr. Malcolm (Vincent  Price).

John asks the doctor:

John Fleming: Doctor.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Yes, John?

John Fleming: What would you do for half a million dollars?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Anything short of murder.

John Fleming: Why not murder?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Too messy.

John Fleming: Too great a risk?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: For half a million, yes.

John Fleming: I pinched a million from the bank.

JamaicaInnItwasYou

Yes John is the culprit. He embezzled $1 million dollars from the bank, framed Victor, and know is in the stage of how to disappear without anyone realizing he was the thief and hid all the money in his house. And that’s where the Doctor comes in.

John Flemming: I have a weak heart. What if you called and said I died, and then ship my body back. We don’t need an open casket.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Where do we get a body?

John Flemming: We’ll provide one. We could kill Sam our guide. He’s a hermit and no one would care.

Dr. Malcolm Flemming: The local undertaker would know.

John Flemming: Not if we mess up his face.

Dr. Malcolm Flemming: Why do all this if you set up Bailey?

John Flemming: The jury might acquit. I am a logical suspect, and could try to disappear, but it is safer if I am dead.

Dr. Malcolm isn’t really feeling it, but John threatens he will kill him if he says no. Better for him to say yes and get a part of the money. While the two are talking, the woods catch on fire. John goes to investigate and when he turns around he sees Dr. Malcolm with a gun.

John Flemming: Doctor, we need to get out the back way. 

[Turns around and sees Dr. Malcolm pointing a gun at him]

Dr. Malcolm Wells: We will, as soon as I provide that body we’ve been talking about.

So back at the Oaks, Cornelia is trying to play solitaire but the lights keep flickering.

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

Lizzie comes in with the newspaper. Victor Bailey arrested for embezzlement, John Fleming is  dead, and Dr. Malcolm brings the body back to put in tomb this Friday.

Meanwhile, creepy things have been going on at the Oaks.

Lizzie Allen: This is his house, and ever since he [John Flemming] died, some funny things have happened here.

Cornelia van Gorder: For instance?

Lizzie Allen: The housekeeper, the cook and the butler said that they heard strange noises at night, and the upstairs maid swore she met a man without a face coming up the back stairs.

Cornelia van Gorder: Oh so that’s why they quit and left me to run this place without a staff.

Lizzie Allen: They didn’t tell you, Miss Gordy, but the truth is they were scared to stay.

Cornelia van Gorder: Why? What does it say about the Bat?

Lizzie Allen: His specialty seems to be killing women, my goodness, two of them in one night, all his victims died the same way, like their throats had been ripped open with steel claws.

Creepy!

Creepy!

So the two ladies are the only ones at home. They have a chauffeur, but he is gone for the night. To make matters worse, it is super windy and in an old house everything seems to rustle, move, and go bump in the night.

Lizzie Allen: [The wind is banging a shutter against the house] That ain’t nothing, just something bumping against the house. [Wind blows a door open and closedThat’s just the wind banging the door, pay no attention to it. Listen to this, One of his victims who lived for a moment after she was found described the Bat as a man without a face’. Honestly, Miss Gordy, I think that woman was exaggerating. [A tapestry blows against an open windowThat’s just the taphestry at the top of the stairs.

Cornelia van Gorder: I know, I know, I’ve heard it before on a windy night [Tapestry clinks a shaking suit of armorThat sounds as if someone were on the stairs, I know there isn’t, at least there shouldn’t be.

Lizzie Allen: Them’s just the noises you hear in any old house on a windy night.

Even though it’s probably nothing:

Gilmore girls creep

So while the two go upstairs and continue talking, we see a man at the front door, opening it and sticking his clawed hand in.

I guess a backwards wolfman?

They see it, lock the door and run upstairs calling the police. They think they are safe, but little do they know the Bat has cut a hole in the glass on the door and has come inside.

Scream-Casey-Becker-drew-barrymore-31896958-2560-1088

The officers are on there way, but Cornelia and Lizzie take extra measure. They not only lock the doors, but push all the furniture against the door. They think they are safe, but the transom over the door has no lock, or way for them to keep it closed. Cornelia decides to put something in front of it, that way if someone tries to come through there, they will set off her booby trap.

The two women are scared and decide to share the room that night. Lizzie goes to get her night items, but doesn’t know that the Bat is creeping outside her door.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

Luckily lightening flashes and shows the shadow:

thebat1959shadowclaw

Causing Lizzie to run back inside the room.

The police finally call back, saying they see nothing outside her house. She tells them he is inside now and shouts that she has a gun and is not afraid to use (she doesn’t really. Just trying to scare the Bat.)

The police search everywhere, but find nothing.

Whattheheck

Where did he go?

They go on guard outside, and the women try to sleep, but are having an extremely hard time.

i'mscared

Meanwhile, the Bat has opened the transom and released a bat into the room. It lands on Lizzie biting her, and then flying into the closet.

Lizzie is freaked!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So just knows she is going to get rabies and die.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

They call Dr. Malcolm, but the answering service can’t get a hold of him. They promise to keep trying and if still can’t will send another doctor.

Meanwhile, Dr. Malcolm is home. He is in his lab working on some experiments. He is studying and testing bats.

thebat1959labsciencelair

But is he trying to study the bats to find a cure? Or is he trying to find a way to kill the women and get the million dollars John stole?

suspicious Hmm

Unbeknownst to the doctor, Lt. Andy is creeping around his house. He touches his car to see if it is hot from a recent drive, looks through the windows, etc.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

While he is watching him, the service finally gets through and reaches the doctor. He puts the bat away and heads out to help.

While he is gone the Detective breaks into office, and looks around. He opens the window shades sees a bat. Does this mean he is the Bat?

a7x_deathbat_animation_by_xxdarksoraxx-d3eogbz

So it looks like they are trying to say that Dr. Malcolm is the Bat, but I don’t think he is the one as it is too obvious.

So the doctor goes to the house and examines Lizzy, asking for the bat to examine and see if it is rabid.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: Pity you are in this house. I don’t want to alarm you, but so many unexplainable things happen here. It has an apprehension of disaster.

He looks at the bat, but it is not rabid. He places him in his doctor bag and makes plans to return the next day. He starts to leave but sees someone, who’s there?

thebat1959shadowclaw

But it is just Lt. Andy. Should we sigh in relief or be afraid? Could he be the Bat?

suspicious Hmm

Lt. Andy asks a lots of questions.

Lt. Andy Anderson: How did a Bat get in?

Dr. Malcolm Wells: There are lots of ways for bats to get in a house

Lt. Andy Anderson: Well you should know.

What is he implying? A Bat lover? Or The Bat?!!!

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

The Detective notices the cut glass on the door and figures that must be how the bat got in.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: I phoned twice, weren’t you there Andy?

Lt. Andy Anderson: No, but they called me. I have a man patrolling outside.

Dr. Malcolm Wells: No one inside, Andy?

Lt. Andy Anderson: Why should there be?

That is a weird answer. There is a crazy man who tried to get in the house twice!!! There should be more policeman, not less.

So I definitely think it is not Vincent Price, as it is too obvious. From what little I have read of Mary Roberts Rineheart is she tells you a mystery, giving you limited knowledge so she can do some big reveal at the end.

Really?

Really?

In my personal expertise in film watching, Vincent Price is far too perfect to be the Bat. My money is on Lt. Andy or the nephew we have heard so much about, but have yet to see.

Hmm...

Hmm…

So the Lt. is quite sure that the Bat is not in the house as he suspects it is Dr. Malcolm, but decides to put someone in the house anyway.

The next day the Lt. goes to see Mark Flemming, John’s nephew. He has just bought all new office furniture. Is he squandering his inheritance? Nope he hasn’t received it yet. The Lt. finds that strange as he left the whole fortune to Mark? But it turns out that the whole fortune is missing. What happened to it?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Lt. Andy needs to find the missing million dollars.  All his money was in the securities stolen, if he can’t find the money, he’s out everything. He suspects John Flemming, even though the only fingerprints on it was Victors Bailey’s. To the Lt., he knows John is wily enough to plant everything. Besides the secretary has some new evidence she will give at trial.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

At the Oaks the next day, there is quite a party. The secretary is there, getting a book from Cornelia. Dale Bailey is also there, hoping they might figure out a way to save him. The Dr. also comes to check on Lizzie.

batparty

Cornelia has her chauffeur back and has a new employee, John’s old housekeeper Mrs. Patterson.

They start discussing who took the money, and Cornelia believes it was John who did it. Judy agrees as she saw something that made her suspect him. Cornelia suspects that if John were the one to do it, he would hide all the money in the house. There must be some secret room or safe.

Hmm...

Hmm…

They need the blueprints to look it up. Dale decides to call Mark and ask if he has any blueprints. Mark was speaking with Lt. Andy, and when he hears Dale ask for the blueprints, he knows she is after the loot. Mark promises to come over that night and look for the blueprints in the house, also promising to call the Lt. if he does find them.

That night the women  are having dinner when Mark comes over and lets himself in.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Weird. He was invited to the house so why is he sneaking around like a criminal. That means, he doesn’t want the girls to know he is there. He doesn’t want to share the blueprints, he wants them all to himself. But as he heads straight to the secret wall/compartment that holds them, the Bat starts creeping behind him.

61MtDLRTAqL._SL1417_

Mark finds blueprint, but the Bat kills him before he can ever make a sound. The Bat has the blueprints, but hears the women coming, and moves the clock in front of the compartment. He then takes off before the women spot him.

The women go to the room, where they hear the clock working, even though it hasn’t in ten years. Dale looks at it and notices that there os a door behind the clock. They move the clock and open the door to find…

Victim #14 &15

They call police, the Lt. isn’t there. They call him in his car and he goes on his way. The Doctor also heads out there, and finds that the body has been dead for half an hour. The bell rings, and it is Warner the Chauffeur/Butler. He had to use the front door as he lost his keys.

The Lt. question all the staff  and doesn’t trust Warner, as they have met before. Where or when cannot remember, but will eventually.

So who knew Mark was coming  the Lt. Andy, Warner, Judy, Dale, Lizzie, & Dr. Malcolm Hmm…

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

So that night all the women go to their rooms. Lt Andy promises to stay and protect them. But what if he is the Bat?

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Lt. promises they will be safe with him. Yeah right! No one is safe from the Bat!!

batclawcomingafter

Warner is watching the police and doctor as they head to the door. Could it be because he is the Bat?

hmm...

hmm…

The Dr. leaves, with the Lt. staying until the windows and doors are good, then promising to return in the morning.

WHY???? WHY???? If he knows the Bat has been coming around, why would he do that.

That night the Bat goes into the house. He cuts all the wires for the phones, making sure no calls will be made. He goes into a room being used for storage, the women have all their suitcases and trunks in there. He starts banging on the walls, hammering them to find the opening.

Meanwhile, the women all hear the noises which freaks them out. Cornelia tries to call the police but the phone won’t work.

dangerous crossingphoneringsscared

Meanwhile, Dale has decided she is going to investigate what that noise is. Her roommate Judy is trying to stop her, but Dale wants to save her husband, so she goes upstairs to look.

She goes to the room and tries to look inside, the Bat hiding behind the door. He pulls and tosses her in, running downstairs were Judy is, knocking her out of the way and down the stairs. Cornelia tosses something at his head, beaning him on the way out.

Shadow of a doubt stairs creepy look

Judy is dead.

The Lt. comes back and heads straight for Judy.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

They ask him where he went as he was, and he said he was following someone out the back.

suspicious Hmm

They go looking for everyone, and can’t find Warner. He comes inside and says he was following the Lt. to help him, getting brained and knocked out. Was he?

suspicious Hmm

It turns out that the Lt. finally remembers where he saw him before. On a circular for wanted men. Warner claims he was tried and found innocent. Just as they are talking, the Dr. shows up.  All three suspects in one area. But which one?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

They ask the doctor what he is doing back here, and he tells them he was in a car accident, and his wheel fell off in the ditch. He came to get help, as his head is bleeding. Hmm…?

suspicious Hmm

We go back to Cornelia dictating the story. The next night she decided she was going to pursue this mystery alone. She saw the police downstairs asleep, and heads up to the room where the Bat was w0rking on the walls. All I can think is why didn’t they try open it up in the daytime?

While she goes up, we spot Warner walking around downstairs.

Meanwhile, The Bat is in the Doctor’s lab. He is leaving suicide note, planning on killing the Doc and lying all the blame on him. But just as he finishes, who should show up but the Doctor, who doesn’t take kindly to this plan. He threatens the Bat. It looks like the Doctor will be murdering him like he did John. The Bat races toward him and the two begin fighting. The Doctor is shot accidentally, Bat leaves having completed mission. I knew it wasn’t him.

Screen shot 2015-10-03 at 12.20.02 AM

Aw that’s sad, I liked the doctor, because I love Vincent Price. Too bad. 😦

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

That night, Lizzie wakes up looking for Corelia but can’t find her anywhere. She rushes downstairs and wakes the police officer up, looks like he’d been slipped a mickey tp be knocked out. She wakes up the housekeeper and asks her to fetch Warner.

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

So Cornelia is locked up in a secret room. The officer calls Lt. Andy but they are looking for him to investigate the murder of the Doctor. And it turns out that Warner is missing! Down to two! Who could it be???

They finally find Cornelia who is currently fainting from lack of air. When they get inside the Cop finds the control panel on wall and  a safe. But just then the garage catches on fire!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The detective wants to put it out, but Cornelia says to let it burn.

Cornelia van Gorder: Can’t you see that fire was set to get us out of the house?

Detective Davenport: Out of the hou… are you talking about the…

Cornelia van Gorder: Yes, yes, I’m talking about the Bat! Now that the lights are out, he’ll think his trick has worked, and we’ve gone, here’ll be here in a minute.

Detective Davenport: So will Lieutenant Anderson.

Cornelia van Gorder: I hope so but the Bat will be here first, and he’ll KILL AGAIN if we get in his way… we’ve got to be as clever as he is!

They wait in room, when the Bat comes creeping in door. The officer gets knocked out and the Bat is about to shoot the women, when he is shot in the back by someone…who?

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

It is Warner!!! He saved them!!! Yay, I liked him.

And we see the Bat was the Lt. after all. He did it so he could get his money back. The only question I have, was he the orginal murdering Bat? Or was that a persona he choose to throw suspicion off himself? I guess we won’t ever know.

TheEnd_Title_2

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Whoops! Almost forgot the banner/facebook cover/mini poster:

thebat1959

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

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For more on Vincent Price, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

For more on the 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

For more films based on plays, go to I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

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