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HISTORY

The character performed by actress Christina Moreno is credited as “Kristin Lerner” but is referred to in the film as “Kristina.”
       A 10 Mar 1972 HR news item announced that Metromedia Producers Corp. was set to begin development on Chosen Survivors, which was also known as The Bats. Although Howard Kreitsek was listed as the film’s writer and producer, he was not credited in the final film. Similarly, Cinerama Releasing Corporation, which was noted as the film’s distributor, did not remain with the project. Metromedia’s vice president in charge of production, Charles Fries, was announced as the film’s executive producer, and principal photography was “tentatively” scheduled to begin in Jun 1972 in Mexico. On 10 Aug 1972, HR stated that producer Leon Benson had been hired and production would begin in late Oct 1972. The news item listed screenwriter H. B. Cross, not Kreitsek, as the source of the original story and script. In an 8 Nov 1972 HR brief, Fries reported that director had not yet been set, but the budget was established at $800,000. Casting for the film was underway and principal photography would begin 8 Jan 1973 at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City. However, production did not begin until 13 Mar 1973, according to a HR news item published that day which noted that Sutton Roley was directing. As stated in a 3 Apr 1973 HR announcement, actor Jackie Cooper was not cast for the starring role of “Raymond Couzins” until early Apr 1973. A DV brief published the next ... More Less

The character performed by actress Christina Moreno is credited as “Kristin Lerner” but is referred to in the film as “Kristina.”
       A 10 Mar 1972 HR news item announced that Metromedia Producers Corp. was set to begin development on Chosen Survivors, which was also known as The Bats. Although Howard Kreitsek was listed as the film’s writer and producer, he was not credited in the final film. Similarly, Cinerama Releasing Corporation, which was noted as the film’s distributor, did not remain with the project. Metromedia’s vice president in charge of production, Charles Fries, was announced as the film’s executive producer, and principal photography was “tentatively” scheduled to begin in Jun 1972 in Mexico. On 10 Aug 1972, HR stated that producer Leon Benson had been hired and production would begin in late Oct 1972. The news item listed screenwriter H. B. Cross, not Kreitsek, as the source of the original story and script. In an 8 Nov 1972 HR brief, Fries reported that director had not yet been set, but the budget was established at $800,000. Casting for the film was underway and principal photography would begin 8 Jan 1973 at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City. However, production did not begin until 13 Mar 1973, according to a HR news item published that day which noted that Sutton Roley was directing. As stated in a 3 Apr 1973 HR announcement, actor Jackie Cooper was not cast for the starring role of “Raymond Couzins” until early Apr 1973. A DV brief published the next day, on 4 Apr 1973, reported that the cast was treated with “antirabies shots” in preparation for shooting scenes with 4,000 bats the following week.
       On 21 Mar 1973, Var announced a deal for the picture to be co-financed by Churubusco Studios and the Film Bank of Mexico. The news item also stated that Joe Reb Moffly wrote the script and failed to mention Cross; the two men share screenwriting credit in the film.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Jun 1974
p. 4696.
Daily Variety
3 Apr 1973.
---
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1973.
---
Daily Variety
6 May 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 1972
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1974.
---
LAHExam
25 Apr 1973.
---
LAHExam
22 Nov 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Nov 1974
Section IV, p. 18.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Jun 1974.
---
New York
3 Jun 1974
p. 76.
New York Times
23 May 1974
p. 52.
Time
17 Jun 1974.
---
Variety
21 Mar 1973.
---
Variety
29 May 1974
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
in association with Churubusco Studios
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Chief elec
Key grip
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and performed by
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd rec supv
Sd eff
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec bat eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Asst unit mgr
Vampire bat consultants and trainers
Vampire bat consultants and trainers
Post prod supv
Prod admin
Loc auditor
Creative affairs exec
Prod exec
Scr supv
Casting
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Bats
Release Date:
22 May 1974
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 May 1974
Los Angeles opening: 20 November 1974
Production Date:
began 13 March 1973 at Churubusco Studios in Mexico City
Copyright Claimant:
Metromedia Producers Corp.
Copyright Date:
22 May 1974
Copyright Number:
LP43914
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
99
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

A U.S. Army helicopter delivers ten bedraggled passengers to a top-secret military installation in the desert. The terrified “chosen survivors” are lowered by elevator into an underground compound as an atomic bomb seemingly explodes on Earth. Staggering into the high-tech headquarters of their new home, the survivors are welcomed by a pre-recorded, televised message by government representative Mary Louise Borden, who explains that humans are engaged in a nuclear war. With the end of life on Earth, the men and women have been selected for their unique abilities as scientists, writers and athletes to carry on the human race. The installation contains enough supplies for five years’ survival. When radiation levels have safely dissipated, the survivors will return to the Earth’s surface on the same elevator that transported them to the compound. The survivors are greeted by Major Gordon Ellis, who is appalled by the war and describes himself as the engineer of the installation. He says they are located 1,758 feet underneath the Earth’s surface, somewhere below New Mexico. Ellis shows the survivors images of Earth, which is consumed by floods and volcanic eruptions, triggered by the bombs. Sometime later, the group members struggle to cope with world devastation. Business executive Raymond “Ray” Couzins offers to reward Major Ellis with riches if he reveals a way out, but Ellis insists they are trapped. In the morning, the survivors wake to another televised broadcast from Mary Louise Borden that informs them the installation is powered by nuclear energy. Later, nutritionist Kristina Lerner discovers a cage full of exotic birds that have been killed. As scientists Lenore ... +


A U.S. Army helicopter delivers ten bedraggled passengers to a top-secret military installation in the desert. The terrified “chosen survivors” are lowered by elevator into an underground compound as an atomic bomb seemingly explodes on Earth. Staggering into the high-tech headquarters of their new home, the survivors are welcomed by a pre-recorded, televised message by government representative Mary Louise Borden, who explains that humans are engaged in a nuclear war. With the end of life on Earth, the men and women have been selected for their unique abilities as scientists, writers and athletes to carry on the human race. The installation contains enough supplies for five years’ survival. When radiation levels have safely dissipated, the survivors will return to the Earth’s surface on the same elevator that transported them to the compound. The survivors are greeted by Major Gordon Ellis, who is appalled by the war and describes himself as the engineer of the installation. He says they are located 1,758 feet underneath the Earth’s surface, somewhere below New Mexico. Ellis shows the survivors images of Earth, which is consumed by floods and volcanic eruptions, triggered by the bombs. Sometime later, the group members struggle to cope with world devastation. Business executive Raymond “Ray” Couzins offers to reward Major Ellis with riches if he reveals a way out, but Ellis insists they are trapped. In the morning, the survivors wake to another televised broadcast from Mary Louise Borden that informs them the installation is powered by nuclear energy. Later, nutritionist Kristina Lerner discovers a cage full of exotic birds that have been killed. As scientists Lenore Chrisman and Claire Farraday examine the creatures, the lights in the room turn blue, signaling an emergency. Running to find the others, the group rescues ecologist Carrie Draper from a blood-sucking vampire bat. Claire explains that the bat killed the birds and Ellis reports that the installation was built in caves. As the group worries there are more bats, Claire inoculates the survivors and Ray enlists the team in a search. Although no other bats are found, Ray insists on keeping the lights on at all times because bats are nocturnal. Unknown to the survivors, an enormous colony of bats lurks nearby in a blue-lit cave. That night, power goes out in the compound and bats filter into Kristina’s bedroom through the vents; however, she is rescued by Ellis. Later, when power resumes, Ray blames Ellis for faulty engineering, but the Major implores the group to maintain confidence in him and promises to set up a warning signal to alert them to future power outages. Although morale plummets, science-fiction novelist Steven Mayes tells Congresswoman Alana Fitzgerald that they have an opportunity to create a new human species. Meanwhile, Ray becomes intoxicated and rouses his fellow survivors with loud complaints. After telling Olympic gold-medalist Woody Russo that he was selected for his virility, Ray accuses Steven of enjoying their captivity. Behavioral scientist Peter Macomber, who keeps a journal of his observations, encourages Ray to sleep, but the businessman instead seeks comfort from Lenore. Ray claims they are victims of a conspiracy and begs her to help him find a way out, but she feels they have done everything possible. Although Lenore violently protests Ray’s sexual advances, she ultimately succumbs. Meanwhile, Ellis completes the alarm system and performs a test. As the rest of the survivors convene, Ray secretly explores the facilities and triggers an explosion in the generator, causing power to go out yet again and bats to swarm into the compound. Oceanographer Luis Cabral is overwhelmed by the creatures and dies, but the bats are ultimately contained behind a glass door. When the others assume that bats are responsible for the damage caused by Ray, Peter confesses that the nuclear war was a hoax and the survivors’ captivity is part of a scientific experiment. In light of the bat attacks, Peter promises to release the enraged group members. Ray threatens to sue the government, but Peter warns that officials are willing to kill to keep the project a secret. When Peter’s rescue signal fails, he informs the group that a default rescue operation will arrive in five days, leaving the survivors fearful and despondent. Sometime later, Steven and Alana make love and Kristina takes a near-fatal overdose of barbiturates. When Ellis announces that they may be able to climb the elevator shaft to trigger an alarm and open the hatch door, Woody offers to provide the manpower. However, the plan is deemed impossible. Peter suggests that they lay a trap for the bats and electrocute the creatures, but Ray is suspicious. He offers Woody a $100,000 promissory note that the Olympian can cash in after successfully climbing the elevator shaft, but Woody does not respond and instead provides blood for the bat trap. As lights are lowered in the compound, bats swarm to the blood-doused electrical gates as the survivors watch from the other side. Peter triggers the electricity, zapping the creatures to death. Although the bat extermination seems to be a success, Kristina’s corpse is discovered the next morning, covered with bat bites. Peter proposes a new plan, but the others have lost faith in the scientist, and Woody agrees to climb the elevator shaft. Bidding farewell to his lover, Carrie, Woody embarks upon his journey with Ray’s promissory note. As he scales to the top, the lights go and bats fly along the shaft. Reaching for the emergency hatch lever, Woody is swarmed by the creatures and falls to his death. Although the top door successfully opens, the survivors are attacked by hundreds of bats, leaving Claire, Peter and Carrie dead. Soon, a helicopter arrives, and Ray, Lenore, Ellis, Steven and Alana are rescued. As the stunned survivors ride the elevator back to the Earth’s surface, Mary Louise Borden broadcasts another automated morning announcement, urging the survivors to find comfort among each other and promising that they will see the light of day once again. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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