So exactly how horrifying are these four oldies…and how much influence have they had on everything that came after them? Let’s find out.
REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES (1936)
Amazing that this movie from almost 100 years ago features a plot that has been mimicked even in recent years during the zombie craze overkill.
It’s all very basic…turning men into zombies that can be used to do your bidding, like being your servant or fighting your battle in war! Although, in this film, the evil men just tend to make their servants into…servants.
An archaeological team is sent to Cambodia to find and destroy the secret to making zombies. What transpires is…a love triangle? Yes, the majority of this film focuses on two men competing for the love of one woman.
There are a couple of scenes in an eerie ancient structure and a trek through a dark swamp, but nothing scary goes on here. And wouldn’t you know, the zombie hocus pocus is used in an attempt to win over the girl! Oddly, Bela Lugosi’s eyes get credit for being in this film as archival footage.
INVISIBLE GHOST (1941)
Bela Lugosi can’t catch a break. Even when he’s not the ominous villain making scary faces…he’s the ominous villain making scary faces.
Here he plays a man whose wife ran away to be with another man. Little does he know she had a car accident and is being kept in hiding in the house by the gardener.
When Lugosi does finally catch sight of her, she fricking hypnotizes him into being a killer. He sneaks into bedrooms choking people out with his coat. There’s nothing scary here since there are no surprises. We know he’s the killer, we know why.
As a result, all we get is a bunch of talking and investigating by detectives until the truth is finally revealed at the end—and the conclusion just doesn’t seem fair!
THE VAMPIRE BAT (1933)
There could be nothing more satisfying than a movie from the early days of cinema that is riddled with talk about, demons, vampires, bats, blood, and more.
When dead bodies begin turning up drained of all blood, talk turns to the possibility that vampires are running rampant. But the detective on the case is skeptical.
However, there’s a loony tunes dude running around scaring people and talking about his love of bats. He is even hunted down by men with torches and hunting dogs. It’s sooooo classic horror. Not to mention, Fay Wray has a small role in the film.
The only disappointment is a conclusion that debunks the whole damn point of the plot!
THE DEVIL BAT (1940)
Many of these old horror movies seem to have two commonalities: a) the films are mostly mysteries with underlying horror themes, and b) we the viewers know all along who the bad guy is and his motivation. In other words, there are no surprises when watching the damn things.
But, hey, at least we get Bela Lugosi again, and he’s in familiar territory, playing with bats.
He is a scientist who goes through a hell of a lot of trouble to kill people from a company that made huge profits off his work. He a) creates giant bats in his lab b) creates an aftershave that makes the bats attack c) gets the aftershave into the hands and onto the bodies of his enemies, and d) unleashes his bats to go attack them.
Lugosi and the puppet bat attacks are all this silly film has going for it.