Even if you are not familiar with the word chiroptophobia, you must have experienced what it stands for – fear of bats! These diabolic looking avian species has haunted many a dreams throughout the world.
If these nocturnal creatures were not scary enough already, the recent epidemic in a few parts of Kerala due to the Nipah virus has demonised them for us, forever. Bats or rather 'fruit' bats were proved to be the primary agents of the deadly virus, thus aggravating the horrors about them.
However, a major reason for the fear of bats can easily be credited to arts and cinema. Over the years, artists probably used their own fears to reflect it on their pieces of work, making bats the centre of many a nightmarish muses. But whether bats give you the creeps or not, these films surely will. Here is a list of the most-thrilling films ever made whose plots revolve around your favourite bird...oops mammal, bats!
“The day belongs to man, the night is theirs,” reads the poster of this vintage thriller whose horrors hit closer home. It features plague-carrying bats that terrorise a town in Arizona. The movie was based on a novel of the same name but met with awful criticism at the time for being the first-ever horror movie directed by Arthur Hiller. Yet, it is a definite one-time-watch for the beautiful photography and a great sense of fear it tries to induce.
Le Manoir du Diable (1896)
At the dawn of cinema itself, film-makers had not spared our scary little friend. the first-ever horror movie on record used a bat to symbolise fear! This three-minute French silent movie features a German mythical demon Mephistopheles whose locomotive form is a bat. It may not sound very scary, but Georges Melies was a cinema pioneer whose venture into the scary genre must not be missed.
The Lost Weekend (1945)
This film swept the Oscars as it bagged the top four awards of that year for a realistic representation of alcohol addiction. But guess what our protagonist hallucinates after four days of binge-drinking? A mouse being attacked by a bat! The bat is not only used as an object of horror but also of dejection and grief in this movie.
How could a movie named after our most beloved antagonist be left out of this list of creeps? Overflowing with trash horror gimmicks, jump scares, endless bat attacks, and a berserk climax, this film makes for a perfect night-in entertainment with your friends.
Batman Begins (2005)
When our beloved superhero needed a symbol to 'scare' off criminals in his home town, he looked no further than his own deepest fear. Batman has no real superpower apart from the mental and physical strength (and well, loads of cash) that he built, making his phobia of bats the driving force. This will probably be the only movie, even in the times to come, that portrays bats in a not-so-negative light.
Le Vampire (1945)
It isn't acceptable blaming cinema alone for inducing fear of the hanging mammals in us. Ignorance, too, has played a role. This documentary by a curious film maker shed light on the predatory rituals of the Latin American vampire bat – one of the only three bat species that feeds on blood! The other almost thousand species are actually not predatory in nature. Unless, of course, they are carrying a deadly virus!