Your Daily NEL: New English Library

Cheap and Nasty Seventies Horror Pulp

Guy N. Smith – Bats Out Of Hell

Posted by demonik on September 15, 2007

Guy N. Smith – Bats Out Of Hell (Nel, July 1978)

bats out of hell

Midlands Biological Research Centre, Cannock Chase: Prof. Brian Newman developes a serum which drives the laboratory bats insane. During a row with his assistant and lover, Susan Wylie, over his philandering ways, he collides with the glass case containing the insane bats, and they escape. It soon transpires that their condition is contagious and easily passed on to rats, mice and human beings.The entire Midlands region is worst hit: after attacks on a Cathedral and the main bank, the entire area is condoned off with it’s citizens trapped inside, left to the mercy of the bats and trigger-happy vigilantes. There’s particularly bad news for Aston Villa fans as, during a rally by political opportunist and would-be messiah Marcus Vandon, the bats take the Holte End, inciting a pitch invasion, riot, monumental death toll, etc.

Meanwhile, Newman and Susan have patched up their differences, although they’re too busy to have sex (this one, amazingly, is all but a shag-free zone), and are working flat out to find an antidote, but the newspapers blame him for the tragedy, and he’s bashed up by football hooligans while Susan is stripped and mauled before the police grudgingly intervene. With Birmingham ablaze, the bats fly off to ‘the Devil’s Dressing Room’ to see the sucking pit.

The real horror in this one is the desperate solution Newman arrives at to combat the menace, and the ghastly effects it has on the rodent population, and the one-in-a-million human’s who are susceptible to being infected by it.

See also Vault’s Guy N. Smith section


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