The Bat (1959)

the bat poster 1959 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 4/10

The Bat design, Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price

Most of movie looks cheap

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Bat

Studio:  Allied Artists

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  August 9, 1959

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Don’t you like my sense of style?

John Fleming (Harvey Stephens) has committed a crime.  He’s robbed the local bank and framed one of the employees…while hiding the money within his own home.  Unfortunately, John picks Dr. Malcolm Wells (Vincent Price) to help him pull off the crime, and Wells turns on him.  Wells discovers that the money is hidden in Fleming’s home and that the home has been rented to a mystery writer named Cornelia Van Gorder (Agnes Moorehead).  Meanwhile, the town has been plagued by a killer known as the Bat who seems to have set his eyes on Fleming home as well…who is the Bat and is the Bat after the money as well?

Directed by Crane Wilbur, The Bat is a horror-mystery based on the play of the same name by Avery Hopwood and Mary Roberts Rinehart that was released in 1920.  The movie is in public domain and can often be found for cheap in multi-movie packs.


Endora, can’t you do some magic or something?

The Bat is an odd little film that does have its moments.  With a rather cool killer, a pretty obvious mystery, a fun heroine, and poor sets, the movie definitely has its ups-and-downs and probably unfortunately ends on the downside.

The plot has way too much going on.  You have the mystery of the Bat, the mystery of the hidden money, the framed employee, the murdered Fleming, a mysterious chauffer, and a cop who is in everyone’s business.  It is obvious from the beginning of the film that Price can’t possibly be the Bat since he was seen before Price returned to town.  That eliminates him as a suspect and there pretty much is only one other person that the Bat could be once you throw out the red herring…it isn’t the best planned mystery.


I’ll kill you for a better role!

Despite this, the movie does have a fun lead.  Vincent Price is kind of sidelined as a rather dull character but I always enjoy Price even in these lame roles.  The real star of the film is probably Agnes Moorehead who channels an early Jessica Fletcher in her own version of Murder, She Wrote.  The Bewitched star is fun here, and it is odd to see her in different roles.  The movie also features the last film appearance of Darla Hood of Little Rascals fame.  After this movie, Hood dropped off the radar other than the occasional TV special and died in 1979.


Freddy Kruegar’s got nothing on me!

The Bat is also a rather cool design.  He looks like an early Freddy Krueger.  With his big claws and fedora, the killer is fun but underused.  Unfortunately, the Bat inhabits a world of bad sets and boring cinematography.  I just wish the movie flowed better.

The Bat is unfortunate.  It has a lot of potential and some interesting storylines.  I think if the movie had been worked on a bit more, it could have been better and a “good” movie instead of an average one.  If you are a Price fan, check it out because it is short, but otherwise, the movie probably isn’t worth your time.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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