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Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Colour Out of Time

The Vampire Bat (Frank R. Strayer, 1933) is an early mad scientist film disguised as a vampire movie, but other than that interesting conceit, there isn't much to distinguish this film from other horror efforts of the decade--other than a short sequence, captured above, where villagers chasing a monster (or so they think) are carrying torches that dance with vibrant hues of yellow, orange, and red. 

At first I thought I was watching some kind of strange experiment in restoration, a modern print of the film with some added CGI. But a little research revealed that the frames with colour were painstakingly hand-painted back when the film was originally produced. The effect is really quite beautiful and striking, and also adds thematic weight to the chase sequence, the hungry flames symbolizing the madness of the mob. 

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