September 2nd, 2014

IT LIVES BY NIGHT (1974) **

It Lives By Night is a pedestrian, yet curiously watchable horror flick. It basically just takes the age-old werewolf movie formula and tweaks it by having its main character get bitten by a bat. This isn’t exactly enough to make it work, but it’s almost silly enough to be worthwhile.

While on his honeymoon, a bat expert (Stewart Moss) puts off consummating his marriage by hanging around caves and looking for bats. He gets bitten by a bat and at night begins to transform into a half-human bat monster that preys on local females. When a crotchety policeman (Michael Pataki) starts snooping around asking questions, Moss’ clueless wife (Marianne McAndrew) slowly starts to suspect something is wrong.

Despite the fact that this was a theatrical production, It Lives By Night has the look and feel of a ‘70s TV Movie of the Week. Director Jerry (Airport ’77) Jameson fails to inject much life into the scenes of the bickering couple, and the stuff involving the cop falls flat (although Pataki gives far and away the best performance in the film). The good news is, the stuff with Moss flipping out and turning batty (sorry, you knew it was coming) are sort of fun, even if the flick peters out at the end. The man-bat make-up by first-timer Stan Winston may be pretty cheesy (he got much better), but I kinda dug it.

AKA: The Bat People. AKA: It’s Alive.