Today, we'll be taking a look at the central characters in "The Bat People"; a movie that should've been really cool, but just got lamer and lamer as it went on before ending in mild confusion. Too bad, really.
But let's take a look at how the characters performed.
We do have a caveat: Both of our central "heroes" end up in a bad place, doing bad things because this is a downer-ending sorta flick. But the reason they do some of the bad things, is because they're turning into Bat People. I won't be issuing demerits for anything they do while "not themselves".
John Beck: John is a doctor in disease prevention. One which doesn't often take his own advice. He's on his honeymoon with his wife when he suffers a slight mishap that snowballs into him turning into a sub-human creature.
Cathy Beck: The newly wed Cathy becomes concerned for her husband when things she can't explain begin to happen to him after his encounter with a bat. She tends toward slight hysteria, exaggeration, and wearing Charlie Brown-inspired sweaters.
Sergeant Ward: One of, like three, police officers in town and seemingly the only one who ever investigates crimes, chases criminals or does anything proactive. He's a very hard worker... but, uh, he's not exactly a prince among men.
Dr. Kipling: Our good doctor works at a ski resort, and a hospital, and tends to ignore wives who complain that their husbands are flying into rages... yeah....
Our Characters Need Support:
John: John seems like a decent enough sort. And when things start to turn weird, he's proactive about wanting to consult a psychiatrist as soon as possible. That's a bit gutsy, especially in 1974. I'll give John a half-kudo for not wanting to immediately sweep things under the rug when he should absolutely be a bit concerned about his own behavior.
Cathy: Well. Cathy is a hard one to judge because her characterization seems to swerve between borderline helpless and proactively assertive as the scene requires. She is right on-top of John's injury and insistent that he not play around with his health and she takes it on herself to confront his doctor on his lackadaisical attitude to what she perceives as a growing wrongness with her husband. I'll give her half-kudo for instinct and not standing around when she knows something is clearly wrong, despite the protestations of her husband and his doctor.
Sergeant Ward: The man is the hardest working Sergeant in all the land. Seriously, day or night, he is everywhere! That sorta dedication/obsession has some merit when you're tracking down a multiple murderer. I'll give him a Kudo for his hard work.
(Which is, alas, overshadowed by the whopping demerit he's getting.)
Dr. Kipling: I do not like this doctor. He gets nothing.
Our Characters Need Slapping:
John: Before his attack of monster-itis, John's only real issue is his being late to realize that he's having some serious problems and wanting (perhaps for his wife's sake) to sweep his growing issues under the rug. I think that isn't all that bad as character flaws go. I will withhold demerits.
Cathy: Cathy is an excitable girl. Maybe that's why both her husband and his doctor keep minimizing her concerns? I'm mostly disappointed in Cathy though by her inconsistency. She's assertive, then when she really needs to be, she backs down into a mostly whiney mess, and then she turns into a bat person. Plus, she manages to have sex with her husband as he's physically transforming into a monster... and doesn't notice.
Yes. She does.
But, as much as I find that laughable, I just don't find Cathy to be flawed enough; she gets no demerit.
Sergeant Ward: Ugh. (In a completely useless development) Ward turns out to be a sleazy operator and puts aggressive moves on his murder suspect's wife, leaving the uncomfortable taint that he may have been considering going the entire way to rape, before he finally backs off. DEMERIT, MOST FOUL.
His kudo is completely swamped by this demerit.
Dr. Kipling: The "doctor" completely and totally blows off reports of violent behavior by the wife of his patient. He's utterly irresponsible. DEMERIT
I'm also issuing a Special Demerit to the townsfolk who see an ambulance go off the road and crash, and don't bother to stop!! WTF?!