Review: Bat Without Wings (1980)

Review by Topo Sanchez
SCUM Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

I gotta admit, I was intrigued by the cover (hey, its a Shaw Brothers KISS, who wouldn’t??) The story is about a diabolical baddie nicknamed the Bat Without Wings, who has an appetite for raping and murdering female victims. He was so highly skilled that the good guys decided to band together to kill him.

Flash forward 5 years later. Just when the town was enjoying peace and stability, the Bat Without Wings strikes again! This time round though, he attacks all villagers — men, women, as well as pugilists, defeating them swiftly and violently. It is as though he is desperately searching for something…

Cue the good guy in purple and white satin. He is hired to find the Bat, and to ‘solve’ the town’s problem. Soon enough, he stumbles upon a secret lever in a bambi statue that leads to a secret cave. Inside, he meets with a raving lunatic who is heavily chained up, and constantly babbling about the female ‘statues’ around him. Seems like this is the real Bat, and the female ‘statues’ are the preserved bodies of his victims from 5 years ago. So if this is the real Bat, then who is the new Bat in town? And what is he looking for?

What follows next is an intriguing plot of twists and turns that any good whodunnit should have. Unfortunately, there were simply too many new characters popping up, and not enough time/effort spent on developing each one. It becomes a very tiresome exercise trying to follow all the new faces, and remembering how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

But I must applaud the production team for trying something new, instead of the tried-and-tested 10 minute finale when the good guy beats up the baddie to a pulp. The ending is quite unexpected, but I think it probably looked better on script than on screen. I had fun trying to guess who the new Bat was, so maybe you would too. (and no, its NOT Gene Simmons.) (Really.)

Original Bat Without Wings theatrical poster

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About The Author

As a child, Topo Sanchez filled his little head with the great mysteries of UFOs, Bigfoots and bearded women as bedtime stories. His first revelation came about while watching El Topo, when he realized that two freaks became normal if they combined. So he figured if three combined, they would be superheroes (hence the birth of SCUM). His first words to his mom were 'Klaatu Barada Nikto!'

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