A Vincent Price Drive-In Double Feature: Shock (1946) / The Bat (1959) * Worst Hit *

Eek! Colourization IS terrifying!

Genre: Thriller

Starring: Vincent Price (The Fly (1958); Pit and the Pendulum), Lynn Bari

Directed By: Alfred L. Werker

Overview: A woman slips into catatonia after witnessing a murder. When her husband finds a doctor to help her get well, little does he realize the doctor is the murderer in question.

Not all movies are created equal. We know this. Yet some movies are almost intentionally made knowing they will never be considered 'good'. Straight to video seems to be the present day equivalent to the 60s drive-in and the 70s grindhouse double bills. Still we can often find comfort in this.

While some stories are multilayered, some go exactly where you expect them to. After twenty minutes of Shock starring Vincent Price we've seen the set up and the pitch, and know exactly what needs to happen to fill the other hour. In a story where a man kills his wife to be with another woman, the plot of 'man and mistress cover up their crime' has a twist merely in the witness being catatonic. From there our plot can go to very few places.

I didn't say I didn't like it. Luckily Vincent Price's character is developed and human enough to throw some emotional wrenches into the mix. I just think the set up should have been drawn out longer. Either way it's neat seeing Vincent without a 'stache.

This poster, sadly, is quite representative of Shock's inherent quality.

Overall Rating: 74% (Maybe Worth A Jolt Or Two)

Our second film of the evening is The Bat.

biggety bat

Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller

Starring: Vincent Price (The Masque of the Red Death; House Of Usher), Agnes Moorehead (Citizen Cane; "Bewitched")

Directed By: Crane Wilbur

Overview: A fortune is hidden in a mansion renowned for gory murders comitted by The Bat, a man with no face who claws open the throats of his victims.

That's right: "When it flies, someone dies." The tagline nails it right bang on... not the plot, but the sub-par quality to be expected from this production.

The Bat is a movie with so much ridiculous going on that as a second drive-in feature, this will merely inspire the kids to turn the volume off in favour of steaming up the windows. What is endearing about The Bat though, is two-fold.

First it's good to watch this kind of film from time to time, especially ones from a different era, because blockbusters and much-praised film doesn't necessarily let us into the mind of the generation as much as something like this, the standard fare of the movie-house. So reason number one is Sociological. It's fun sometimes to study 'bad'.

The second reason is learning what mistakes NOT to make when writing a script. If I were to describe this film in one word, it would be 'expository'. 'The obvious' is not your friend and at the same time the convenient 'obscure past' of a blatant red herring is not either.

In one scene we have the three suspects discussing details that would be rather interesting to watch, but sadly the obvious budget restraints prevented the talent from acting our their lines... or even being talented enough to deliver them properly. Vincent Price was the only thing worth watching, including that plastic bat on a string. From such obvious red herrings as 'the new guy who used to be a criminal', to outrageous dialogue (add to that the jolsting staccato deliveries) that for some reason needs to explain why something is frightening, this is not the film for serious cineastes.

Right behind you!

Still, what else should expect from a film where the villain wears a glove with steel claws on it, even though it clearly impedes his actions every time he wears it. It's not an effective goring weapon if you have to club people in the throat with a stick first, idiot.

I haven't seen enough old-school cheese to hate The Bat, and even this has laughable moments worthy of mocking, and that, my friends, is why it deserves to be a Hidden Phlegm.

Overall Rating: 42% (Deserves A Good Bludgeoning)

Thanks for comin' out kiddies!

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