Viral experimentation is the key to ingenuity at the Midlands Biological Research Centre, located in the English countryside of Cannock Chase. This is where Professor Brian Newman is at the cutting edge of bacteriology, breaking new ground and staking a claim in humanity’s continued innovation on this planet. Though even he has reservations when it comes to tampering with Mother Nature.
When he discovers a potentially lethal virus in living bat specimens, he decides to withhold the results from administration and destroy those that somehow evaded death. But before he’s able to carry out his plan, he inadvertently releases them from their cages and into the laboratory where they manage to escape through a window and out into the world. The not-so proverbial bat is now out of the lab.
Reported attacks begin to surface, causing panic and consternation among the mostly rural population. That is, until the bats spread beyond the town’s borders and into the big city of Birmingham where they create mass carnage and chaos. Newman and his colleagues desperately seek a solution, testing out theories without producing any viable results. But with the wave of bats growing by the hundreds and a mob of locals ready to impale him with their pitchforks, time is a luxury he can’t afford to waste. At least not when he’s busy playing God.
Bats out of Hell is a cautionary tale that hits much closer to home than its pulpy title and cover would suggest. It’s a prophetic forecast that includes the very disease which has recently caused us so much anguish, pain, and devastation. Winged creatures carry a mutated virus and wreak havoc on a community, and those in charge try to stop it before more deaths occur. Perhaps this is the kind of story that’s been told ad nauseum, but you’ve never heard it told quite like Guy N. Smith.
His eerie prescience is the kind no author would willingly champion, especially when they eventually find themselves living it. But it’s one that requires our attention. He preaches of the dangers of man reaching beyond his grasp in areas that bear the highest of risk. Though, the true horror here is in realizing that humanity is its own worst enemy. And authors like Smith make sure we never forget it. Plus, who doesn’t love to go a little batty sometimes?
This new edition to the Vintage Horror series features a new introduction by Stephen Jones, an introduction by Guy N. Smith, and new cover and frontispiece artwork by Ben Baldwin.