Mystery Science Theater 3000 presents:

#1010: Bat People
(aka "It Lives By Night")

A bat-loving bat-ologist named Johnny is on his honeymoon and convinces his fresh spouse to forget sex and go caving instead. In the cave, the batologist gets bitten by a bat and goes, well, bat-shit. (It's really the clearest, most concise description.) Ignoring the fact that he was bitten by a fruit bat, he becomes a vampire, eine nosferatu. Wampyre. The living dead. The hooch. The freshy-freshy.
Concerned with his bout of battiness, the couple pause in their ski holiday honeymoon to visit Doctor Groovy W. Ski-Bum, the seventiest person of the entire Seventies. He starts the rabies series on Johnny but it just aggravates his bat-shittiness. So poor Johnny goes on the obligatory killing spree, as his wire-thin wife first denies he has a problem then kind of accepts it.

Meanwhile, the town has a sheriff. And God is he annoying. He makes Jackie Gleason in Smokey and the Bandit look nuanced. His voice can strip wallpaper, and he's a perv. Ultimately, Johnny becomes some sort of ape-dog, his wife kills the sheriff and the couple live happily in a cave. There is no hero, no real plot to speak of, and no need to think; just sit back and enjoy as the stupidity rolls over you like the surf on a Mexican beach.

Prologue: It's painting day on the SOL. They're gonna spruce up the galley and the companionways and the can. Can really needs it. Mike shows the bots giant paintchips to see how they affect them. Crow just wants to date Lisa Stansfield, no matter the color. Eggshell makes them panic. The end.

Segment One: Pearl sprays Mike and the bots with certified government poisons and refuses to admit it. Mike and the bots whine until she sends antidotes. In short, they create a little playlet about government security policy in the Cold War era.

Segment Two: Crow dresses like Mary Tyler Moore in order to make the point that he looks more (moore?) like Mary than the woman in the movie does. Crow is so adamant that he makes Mike dress like Ted Baxter and Servo like Lou Grant and they put on a lame "Mary" sketch. Mike and Servo refuse to call Crow Mary, as they ought, and Crow leaves in a huff, none the wiser. I like to call this sketch "Mary Tyler MOORE'S Last Sigh." Heh.

Segment Three: The bots find Mike passed out with foamy whiteness surrounding his mouth. The bots rashly assume he was rabid, and stick him full of hypo's. Actually, Mike has fallen asleep while eating a cream puff. They have a rich laugh and continue the injections.

Segment Four: Mike puts on a mustache, a bushy one like Dr. Groovy in the film. He calls Pearl to see how a woman might like it. She says it's okay. Suddenly Crow appears with a gigantic, ridiculously bushy mustache. Pearl goes wild for him. Mike leaves in a tizzy, and Servo Appears in a Yosemite Sam-size 'stache. He tips over and drops like a tree.

Segment Five: Inspired by the bum in the movie, Servo gets a kit from the Buddy Ebsen Hat Distressing Corporation, making nice hats suitable for bums for decades. Turns out he paid twenty grand for a bag of dirt. Meanwhile Pearl has trapped Bobo and Brain Guy in the castle showing them slides of the various honeymoons she's had, with husbands who all died under suspicious circumstances.

Stinger: Batty Johnny says "well?" and goes batty.

For those of us my age, and you know who you are, there is a style of filming which is unmistakably TV Movie Style, either from Universal or American International. Maybe it's the irrepressibly bad acting, or the up-to-the minute clothing and hair styles which date the film in an instant, unwittingly providing us with a valuable service. Or maybe it's the squat title graphics, the giant cars, the Flockhartian thinness of the actresses, the lack of anyone likable in the films, or the fact that they seem to have been written and produced in about an hour. But they remind me of those nights when my dad would fall asleep in front of the TV with his chin tucked in his turtleneck, snoring with apnea, waiting for Johnny to start. So a painful thing evokes a rather fond memory, sort of like an infectious disease or a broken limb can remind you of a gentler time. So, bring me more David Hartman and Tony Musante Films. I can take 'em.
- Kevin Murphy

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