The Bat

Agnes Moorehead, Lenita Lane, and the shadow of the mysterious "Bat" in The Bat (dir. Crane Wilbur, 1959).

Low-budget old-dark-house apple sauce concerning a shadowy killer with razor fingers (clearly an inspiration for Freddy Krueger) known as "The Bat." Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, and some game supporting players manage to stylize the silliness into something like a unique mood. Price blows away his hunting partner point-blank with a shotgun in the first few minutes, so you know it's going to be lively. There's one shot where The Bat's wicked claw curls suddenly through an open window and around a latch, like an animated tendril of ink: it's a small triumph of camerawork and composition in the frame, and genuinely scary to boot. Bonus element: Darla Hood of Our Gang as one of the victims.

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