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Public Domain Horror: Watch ‘The Bat’ (1926) NOW!

Over 30,000 of you guys read Rebel Phoenix’s incredible list of 10 of the most influential horror movies you’ve never heard of (…let alone seen). I personally wanted to watch a few of them, and found it extremely diffucult to find on DVD. Thankfully a few are now public domain. The one that caught my eye were Roland West’s The Bat (1926) and The Bat Whispers (1930), two films that inspired Bob Kane’s “Batman”. After a little digging online, we’ve found The Bat in its entirety for you guys to watch right here on Bloody Disgusting. If you enjoy it, we also added 6 minutes of clips from The Bat Whispers, along with the full-lenth version of The Man Who Laughs (1926) with Conrad Veidt whom inspired The Joker as well!

A Silent film based upon the Broadway play by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, this Silent Gem was directed by Roland West in 1926, later being Remade as the Bat Whispers in 1930 (by Roland West) and again in 1958 in the Bat starring Vincent Price, also available at the Archive. Oh, and when I say silent, I mean silent – this was transferred from a 16mm print and was probably meant to be played with live musical accompaniment.

SYNOPSIS: The Bat, a masked criminal, terrorises a mansion filled with the guests of a mystery writer, a mansion in which a robber has hidden $20,000 of Stolen money. The House guests along with a detective search for Clues – them being the location of the money and the identity of the Bat.

N.B – As many Batfans will know, this film is where Bob Kane got the Inspiration for the comic book superhero “Batman” – if you look, you’ll notice the Bat-signal, here used to frighten the guests before the Bat attacks.

NOTE: There is no sound, so pick the band of your choice and kick-start some tunes before hitting “play.”

“The Man Who Laughs” is an American silent film directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name and stars Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine and Mary Philbin as the blind Dea. The film is known for the grim Carnival freak-like grin on the character Gwynplaine’s face which often leads the film to be credited to the horror film genre. Film critic Roger Ebert stated “The Man Who Laughs is a melodrama, at times even a swashbuckler, but so steeped in Expressionist gloom that it plays like a horror film.



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