THE VAMPIRE BAT: Father and Son Exploring Pre-Code Horror, Part I

My burgeoning horrorhound son, Cash, and I spent some time diving into Pre-Code horror films of the 1930s this weekend. We first dove head first into 1935 Peter Lorre vehicle Mad Love, in which he portrays a man driven crazy by his own emotions. Both Cash and I found the film slow and Cash didn’t think anything about it was very scary at all. It wasn’t bad, but neither or us took much away from it.

However, after a mere 5 minutes watching The Film Detective’s release of 1933’s The Vampire Bat, both of us, especially Cash, began to sing a different tune about Pre-Code horror.

This is scarier than I thought it would be.

Intrigued, I commented that what scared people in 1933 probably is vastly different that what we are scared of today. Yet, Cash found this film far more enthralling than Mad Love lead him to expect from an offering of a similar era. I also told him that I thought this film did a far better job with the mystery.

I think I really like mysteries, Dad.

He’s an avid fan of Scooby Doo and especially loves the Goosebumps stories that are rooted in the mystery genre. Thus, this shouldn’t be any surprise.

As we wrapped up the film, Cash interjected.

I really liked it. It was very, very, very much better than Mad Love. It’s hard to decide my favorite part, but I really liked that it was a mystery story.

Neither of us felt very satisfied by film’s ending, but sometimes that’s just how it is.


The film looked great on the Blu-ray from The Film Detective, which we compared to the streaming edition on Amazon. The streaming copy is a good place to start but fans should consider this a worthwhile buy. The special features aren’t plentiful but the new scan of the film is likely the best copy of the 30s horror film anyone will ever see.

Thanks to The Film Detective for a job well done on this Blu.

PS. Stay tuned for reviews of two other great little Film Detective releases, Blaine covering long-banned South African blaxploitation Joe Bullet and the first installment of a new blaxploitation column by yours truly, thepaintedman, where I’ll tackle The Black Dragon’s Revenge.

thepaintedman
Justin has been running websites since his first Geocities site in 1994, but only did he ever start covering anything of substance years later. After he stopped regularly running local concerts in Northern NJ and the greater Philly area, he knew he needed to step up his writing game if he expected to continue to get free music to listen to. He writes regularly here, a bit less regularly at Cinapse, on occasion at Cinepunx, and a few times a year on Rock On Philly. He previously wrote for several other sites, but he forgets some of them and others no longer exist. He likes music, film, the Philadelphia Eagles, talking about Criminal Justice, reading Intelligence Report, and his family... not in that order. His beautiful wife is far more talented than he is and his kids far more adorable... and crazy. He also likes to ramble... on... and... on... and...
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Cash Hendrix Harlan
Lover of Music / Resident Math Whiz
Cash is Justin's eldest son. He's smart (like way too smart for his own good, in fact) and extremely talented. As a mere 8 year old, he likes to fill notebooks with math equations, with the occasional sketch and short story thrown in. He loves music, with some his favorites being Play Date, Koo Koo Kangaroo, The Aquabats, and (of course) his namesake, Johnny Cash. He's mildly obsessed with LEGOs and loves Batman. He really loves his mom, his brother, his dad, and his doggies. You can typically catch him rocking out with his brother, playing his kindle, or sorting through his Pokemon decks.
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