If you grew up like me in the 80´s, you remember some of the great 80´s Hollywood stars. They were everywhere, on posters, on VHS covers and on TV as well. This was a magical time for us who especially went a lot to the cinema during the 80´s. I was too young to see some films, especially in the horror genre, but thanks to certain people, i managed to get in there anyway. One of the true 80´s stars that made a huge impact, is of course actor Lou Diamond Phillips. I remember seeing him for the first time in La Bamba, where he played Chicano rock´n´roll star Ritchie Valens. You could tell that Lou Diamond Phillips was the perfect choice for the lead actor. He had the looks, and the right acting ability to bring out a strong portrait of Ritchie Valens. Lou Diamond Phillips got his big break in La Bamba, and he was about to take Hollywood by storm. Especially with the western film Young Guns, released in 1988. With an incredible list of great actors such as Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Terry O´ Quinn, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance and many more, it was one of the best western films of the 80´s. I have to say that Lou Diamond Phillips as the character Jose Chavez, was one of the true highlights of Young Guns. It would only take 2 years and we got a sequel for Young Guns in 1990. If you enjoyed the first film, then i am pretty sure you would enjoy Young Guns 2 as well. Lou Diamond Phillips continued making an impact in Hollywood, and released a lot of films during the early 90´s. So when i was thinking last month about doing something special for this summer, i thought to myself:- Why not pick out 3 films i have not seen with Lou Diamond Phillips, and write 3 reviews and call this segment A Summer With Lou Diamond Phillips. Since he have done a lot of films over the years, i started started looking into his filmography and what films to pick. I finally decided to begin with the 1999 horror film known as Bats. I have heard about this film in the past, but actually never seen it. Is this a film that will become a cult film in the future, or should you skip watching Bats?
After people start to die in the small Texas town of Gallup, the prime suspects are bats. The CDC calls in chiropetrologists Dr. Sheila Casper ( Dina Meyer ), and her assistant, Jimmy Sands ( Leon Robinson ), to investigate the situation. They find out that Dr. Alexander McCabe ( Bob Gunton ) have been involved in a project, where the bats were genitically modified by him to become more intelligent than ordinary bats. Dr. Sheila understand that this bat species could kill a lot of people, if they were to attack in large groups. With the help of Sherriff Emmet Kinsey ( Lou Diamond Phillips ), they need to find a way to stop these bats, before they will wipe out the whole town.
If you are not used to see Lou Diamond Phillips in a horror film, then i have some good news for you. He has no problem delivering a character that works well with the plot of this film. You might think that a horror film with bats may sound pretty cheesy, but the fact is that this film manage to take on the classic concept of animal horror, and lift it up to a different level. These big bats are actually effective in a horror film, and once they attack you can feel the fear in the victims. Bats feels almost like a film inspired by the film Nightwing, a horror film about bats, released in 1979. I could be wrong of course, but there are some similarities between these two films. Nightwing takes place in New Mexico and the film Bats takes place in Texas. Both are different locations, but you can tell that the environment feels similar with the desert landscapes, including that both films have bats attacking. The characters in this film do work, for the most part, But the character that works best is Lou Diamind Phillips character Sherriff Emmet. Lou have a natural way to develope his character, to match with the film. Another actor i think manage to handle his portrait in a positive way, is actor Leon Robinson. He plays the character Jimmy Sands, and he is actually the one who brings a good sense of humour into this film. I would also like to say that Leon have a charming personality, that fits in with this team. Since this film is made as monster attack film, i would say that this film manage to bring something for fans of this genre. The giant bats are of course the highlight, and they look pretty nasty as well. Director Louis Morneau ( who directed the classic B movie Soldier Boyz, with Michael Dudikoff ) have found a way to make a monster movie, by using a classic concept and shape it in a different, but effective way. Bats is a perfect popcorn choice for your summer evening, if you enjoy horror, and Lou Diamond Phillips of course.