April 24, 2021

Amazing Animal People #7: The Bat People

Amazing Animal People #7, The Bat People, 1974

On their honeymoon somewhere in the American southwest, Dr. John Beck (Stewart Moss) and his wife Cathy (Marianne McAndrew) decide to take a tour of some caverns before hitting the ski slopes. Cathy suggests that they ditch the tour group and find an out-of-the-way place for some impromptu lovemaking. As she looks for a good spot she promptly falls down a crevice. John scrambles down to rescue her, but climbing back out is a problem. Before help arrives, John is bitten on the forehead by a rogue bat.

Later, as they’re taking a gondola up to the ski run, John has an eye-rolling seizure. Cathy is worried, and even though the incubation period for rabies is a minimum of several weeks, she insists John get treated at once. At the hospital, John has an even more violent reaction to the rabies shot, and is kept at the hospital for overnight observation.

John is not only suffering from severe seizures, but he’s also having terrible nightmares of shrieking bats, and of stalking and attacking people in the dead of night. Sure enough, wherever he goes, he seems to leave a trail of bodies in his wake: first, a night nurse at the hospital whose throat is cut open, then an unfortunate girl living in a trailer park, and finally a homeless man living out in the desert.

Sleazy police sergeant Ward (Michael Pataki) is suspicious of Beck, having found his patient ID bracelet next to the nurse’s body, and begins shadowing the tortured doctor. But Ward seems as interested in hitting on Cathy as he is in solving the string of homicides.

Even as the evidence is stacking up against her husband, Cathy wants to believe that John is just having severe hallucinations as a result of the rabies treatment. Will her love be enough to prevent John from joining the ranks of The Bat People?

Funanimal fact: The Bat People was special effects wizard Stan Winston’s first makeup credit for a feature film (his very first credit was for the TV movie Gargoyles, 1972). He would later go on to do creature effects and makeup for such sci-fi classics as The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), Predator (1987), Jurassic Park (1993), Galaxy Quest (1999) and Iron Man (2008). Along the way, he won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup. He is just the second special effects person to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Stars.

Winston is quoted as saying, “I don’t do special effects. I do characters. I do creatures.”

Publicity photo - Stan Winston with some of his creations
Stan Winston (1946 - 2008)

Lobby card - It Lives by Night aka The Bat People, 1974
"Go back to sleep dear, it was only a bat dream."

Animal Crack-up (click on the text to see the punchline):

Bat silhouette
Don't miss these other Amazing Animal People:
Lota from Island of Lost Souls | Paula Dupree, Captive Wild Woman | The Mole People | Leonora the Cat Girl | The Alligator People | The Vulture

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