CLASSIC CORONERS are Dr. Caruthers & Rosalie Kicks
“Dissecting films of our favorite dead guys and gals from the bygone era.”
For the first edition of Classic Coroners, Doctor Ashley Jane Carruthers and The Old Sport, Rosalie Kicks open the coffin of a gent who famously made a name for himself portraying the living dead…Bela Lugosi.
Of corpse, many know Bela from his notorious portrayal in Tod Browning’s 1931 film, Dracula. The Coroners decided to instead look at one of Bela’s post-Dracula flicks, The Devil Bat, directed by Jean Yarborough, in which Bela plays a scientist, Dr. Paul Carruthers. With the assistance of his trusty bats he sets out to take revenge on his megalomaniac corporate employer.
The Autopsy Report: A post-watching examination conducted by the Classic Coroners.
THE DEVIL BAT: A Mystifying Transformation
After peeping The Devil Bat, the Classic Coroners experienced a bit of derealization. It was as if the entire batty story was happening to us in real life. Of corpse the Classic Coroners could not allow our dedicated readers to live in the dark! So, we documented our entire experience just for you.
Here’s our story…
Dr. Ashley Jane Carruthers:
I feel strange. Not myself. My day was just the same old routine until I had to pick something up at at the Bay (I’m Canadian. Pretend it’s like Dillard’s or JC Penney or wherever your mom shops) and I’m in a rush. Normally I skip the cosmetic and perfume section because I’m friendlyyyy, I can’t say no to these salespeople! By the time I walk through this section, I have purchased 14 lotions and moisturizers I won’t use and smell like a table of stylish grandmas playing bridge. So. Much. Perfume. But today, I went right for it.
I spoke to countless be-smocked ladies and gents and tried enough samples to make me dizzy. However, there was this one salesman. He seemed...out of place. He was wearing old-timey science goggles, like 1955 Doc Brown, and a stethoscope. I mean, he looked cool, just different from yer average Estée Lauder expert.
“Hey. You. Come here,” he said to me. There was something about him that intrigued me. I had to see what he wanted. “Take this lotion. It’s per-foom. Please. Put it on.” I was already going to get a migraine from smelling like a musky floral citrusy-vanilla patchouli woody nightmare, so what’s one more scent? I took the bottle from him. “Go on. Yes. Rub it in everywhere,” he said. I put some of the perfume on my neck. He just looked at me and smiled, and before I knew it, he disappeared without a trace! Very mysterious. After that, I headed home.
On my way, I started to feel weirdddd, as if I was sitting beside myself, out of my body. But even more strange was how attuned I suddenly became to low-frequency noises. And the light, ughhh. Everything was so bright I just wanted to hide in a cave. Now that it’s nighttime, I feel much better. I feel alive. I feel like...hunting?
The Old Sport, Rosalie Kicks:
I was more than a bit alarmed when my phone began to ring at the witching hour.
I’ve yet to meet Ashley Jane face to face but when reading her words within the zine, I’ve always felt a connection to her. She made me feel like I wasn’t alone with my batty thoughts about movies. However, I was quite bewildered when I saw her name flash across my phone’s screen. Until this moment Ashley Jane and I had only exchanged a text or occasional email. I’ve often wondered if this creature was simply a figment of my imagination. Too good to be true.
When I answered the phone, nothing could have prepared me. First off, I had no idea Ashley Jane was of Hungarian descent…not that there was anything wrong with this, it just welllllllllll, came as a surprise. Frankly, her voice had an uncanny resemblance to the infamous Bela Lugosi. It was as if Dracula crawled from his coffin, was alive once more and speaking right into my ear. I could have listened to that soothing voice forever. I wondered if she could record an audiobook for me?
As we chatted though, the entire reasoning for the call was lost. I no longer was concerned and found myself in a trance…from her voice. I learned that she was a medical doctor and that the name McClosky - the name she has used in her previously written zine articles is a nom de plume. Her actual name is Dr. Ashley Jane Carruthers and in her basement lab she dons a laboratory coat to concoct form-oooolas with inexplicable powers.
At this point our connection began to get a bit wonky. As she went into a deeper explanation, I recall hearing the words “revenge and “bats”. Now, this may all seem quite peculiar and you may even doubt my validity…but I cross my heart, that I believe I even heard the screech of a bat. Ashley Jane casually explained this as “night noise”.
Dr. Ashley Jane Carruthers:
I didn’t intend for this all to happen. I’m just the village doctor, first and foremost. I want to help people. However, working in my lab day after day, night after night, overlooking the magnificent estate of Martin Heath - it got to me. There is more to me than my job. I have hobbies, interests, passions. Namely, BATZ.
I don’t know where my love of bats stemmed from. It might have been due to my early morning viewings of The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein growing up here in Canada. But I loved them. I am crazy about them. As a child I used to just sit outside alone at night and watch the bats - hear their night noise. I wondered how intelligent they must be...could they be trained?
Even as I worked my way through medical school, I could not shake my suspicion that there was more to bats than science knew. But what was I going to do? Tell my dad I’m going to be a “bat scientist”? That simply would not do, he would never understand. So I decided to do what was expected of me and begin an internship at the village’s cosmetic company. But what the village didn’t know about was the research I did at night, in my lab hidden in the secret corridors of my house.
Bats, I learned, can be trained. They’re incredibly smart. I started with small tasks - getting the bats to grab me a beer from the fridge - things like that. However, as my employer Mr. Heath became more and more demanding without giving me my fair due, I found myself plotting revenge.
I’ll never forget the day I was finally able to say to my lead bat: “Ahhh my friend. Our theory of glandular stimulation through electric impulses was correct!” I no longer just had regular ol bats. I had a monstrous DEVIL BAT. A Devil Bat to do my sinister bidding. But how would I train it to identify its targets?
I pondered this endlessly until that fateful day I met the pushy salesman in the perfume section. Then it occurred to me. Per-foom!! It was perfect!! I could create a lotion that would draw my Devil Bat to attack, kind of like the how the scent of freshly baked cookies draws me to attack them!
After countless hours toiling in my lab, I finally perfected the for-moola. When I got my bats to smell this per-foom they would screech in anger. It would work. I knew it. All that was left was for me to find an accomplice. Someone I could confide in. Someone who would know enough to be convicted if I was caught, y’know, so I could have a buddy with me in prison! I knew just who to call. The Old Sport.
The Old Sport, Rosalie Kicks:
I would love to tell you all that this tale ended well for my dear friend, Dr. Carruthers. That she ended up living a life filled with batty adventures and was finally given the credit she deserved for her work in the cosmetic field. This is where the story becomes tragic.
Never would the great Dr. ever have suspected that it would be her sacred bats, her friends, that would bring about her demise. At the price of my friend’s life, corporate greed had won that night. However, the great doctor’s mission shall continue. For she may have had her last breath, but her form-ooooola will be given a new life. It is up to me now to don the lab coat and continue the great doctor’s work, just as a dutiful daughter would do.