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Bat Out of Hell

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"For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face."
Theodore Roethke, "The Bat"

Bats are creepy for many people. They often seem rats with wings to us, they are thought to spread rabies, and apparently like to hang out in all sorts of dark, foreboding places (caves, bell towers, abandoned houses, castles, crypts, etc). Three species (out of over 1,000!) are infamous for drinking blood, and have led to a strong association between bats and vampires. As such, bats frequently show up as antagonists in horror themed media. Can be roughly divided into a few types:

  1. Normal bats: Frequently depicted as The Swarm; a shrieking mass of menacing wings, regardless of whether or not they pose any actual danger to the cast.
  2. Dire bats: Larger and more vicious than normal bats, and menacing even without The Swarm to back them up.
  3. Werebats: Monstrous, anthropomorphic creatures with a mixture of bat and human features.
  4. Robo bats: Robotic bats.

Vampires can sometimes transform into these. Bat wings are also a frequent model for winged creatures of an Evil alignment.

In Real Life bats aren't actually all that bad, and probably among the most unfairly maligned animals. Most bat species only eat insects or fruit, and many species are very useful to mankind as pest-eaters, pollinators and so on. The "shrieking" is often closer to benign chirping/clicking. Sometimes, they're even Ridiculously Cute Critters.

The part about them spreading rabies is sort of true, though; the species is a natural reservoir for the virus (and also for the SARS virus), and if a bat's found in somebody's living space it's standard protocol to treat them for rabies just in case, especially since it's possible for a bat to bite you without you noticing, particularly if you're intoxicated or asleep. Only about 0.5% of bats in the United States actually have the rabies virus, but the small yearly number of human cases in the country can basically be divided into people who got bitten by mad dogs and people who got bitten by infected bats.


This is not Goddamned Bats (which is about any kind of annoying video game enemy), but the two categories frequently overlap.

Not to be confused with the album by Meat Loaf (though the cover art does contain an example).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Blood+: The Chiropterans take the vampire/bat comparison and run with it (check out the name). Even the humanoid chiropterans get batlike features when they go One-Winged Angel.

    Asian Animation 
  • A Season 8 episode of Happy Heroes demonstrates summoning a swarm of bats as one of the abilities used by the villain Huo Haha. The bats swirl around Happy S. as he is trying to fight Huo, distracting him.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • RJ Palmer's Realistic Pokémon portrays the Gengar line as this. Gastly is depicted as a floating version of the Normal Bat variant, which develops into a Dire Bat upon evolving into Haunter and eventually becomes a flightless version of the Dire Bat when it becomes Gengar. He also did a gorgeous portrayal of the below mentioned Noivern.
  • In Getting Back on Your Hooves, when the CMC get lost in the Everfree, they are attacked by a Ropen, a giant, blind batlike monster that hunts by sound. Since it's blind, Fluttershy's Stare has no effect on it, but Trixie temporarily crippled its echolocation using a fireworks spell.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, one of Norlock's most frequently seen powers is the ability to transform into a giant demonic bat.
  • The laser-eyed robo-bats (aka the Flitters) in the cliff dwelling in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney:
    • The Great Mouse Detective: Fidget the bat isn't very intimidating or terribly evil, but he's still the Big Bad's primary henchman.
    • The Emperor's New Groove: When Kuzco and Pacha are attempting to climb out of the chasm they have fallen into, Kuzco (as a llama) rams his mouth and nose into a small cave opening, which is of course revealed to be full of bats. The bats all immediately attempt to flee, leading to... blech!
    • Fantasia: Inverted for some viewers. Viewing Chernabog as a big bat may serve as Nightmare Retardant.
    • Moana: Giant, multi-eyed bats are seen, based on Pe'ape'a.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest: Batty the giant bat was actually a normal bat who just looks huge in comparison to fairies. He's also friendly, if a little addled.
  • Plumiferos: Subverted. Clarita the bat frightens Feifi the sparrow at first during her new life of freedom out of her cage, but the misunderstanding is cleared up and they become good friends.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Van Helsing: Dracula and his wives can turn into a werebat. Their children are also bat creatures.
  • Underworld (2003): Marcus Corvinus is the very first vampire, and significantly more bat-like than every other vampire. However, this is only after his corpse ingests Lycan blood, and his becoming a hybrid was overridden by his vampire genes, making him able to change into a batlike form.
  • King Kong (2005) features a cave of Dire Bats. Technically, A Natural History of Skull Island identifies these creatures as winged carnivorous rodents, not true bats. Their looks still play off the killer-bat-from-hell trope, however.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: The giant bats are actually real bats — but not vampire bats, contrary to what Indy says. Many large bats in Real Life have been saddled with taxonomic names containing vampire references, so Indy might well have been misled by this — or he was just trying to screw with Willy. Just listen to his voice when he says that line.
  • Ace Ventura: Ace loves all animals... except bats, which he fears and loathes. "DIE, DEVIL BIRD!!!" "TAKE THAT, YOU WINGED SPAWN OF SATAN!!!" (No, it's not that the bats are actually creepy, but hell, his reaction is hilarious.)
  • Tropic Thunder: A giant bat steals Jeff Portnoy's bag of "jellybeans" (actually cocaine).
  • Bats: People start to die in a small Texas town and the prime suspects are bats. A specialist in bats is called in, and reveals that the bats have been engineered to be become a deadly human-hunting cooperative. A Direct-To-TV sequel to this film, Bats: Human Harvest, was made by the Sci Fi Channel in 2007.

  • Stephen King's Graveyard Shift has giant bats that actually are mutant rats.
    • The film version did away with the implausible bat/rat connection, and simply had a giant mutant bat sharing the toxic cavern with regular rats.
    • And a rabid bat starts all the trouble in Cujo.
    • There's also the thing which is called a bat due to a vague resemblance in From a Buick 8.
  • The King Bats in The Princess Bride novel. They're one of the few things of which Fezzik is actually afraid.
  • Subverted in Spellsinger, where Pog the bat (oversized and intelligent, like nearly all animals in that world) is one of the nicer characters in the series.
  • Completely subverted (and also played straight, if you think about it) in Silverwing — the protagonists are bats. The story is about bats. Bats are the good guys, with birds and land mammals (the traditional heroes) as villains or at least bad-tempered (with a few exceptions). Granted, the main villain is also a bat... However, in the third book, Firewing Griffin and Luna are literally bats out of Hell.
  • The pair of giant mutant bats in Vespers. They are also accompanied by huge swarms of normal bats, which are driven to attack by the influence of the giants.
  • Subverted in Animorphs when the team morphs bats in The Android. Later Rachel gets a bat as her cover morph in The Underground.
  • The Dresden Files: This shows up from time to time in association with the vampire courts.
    • The Red Court vampires are large, slimy, flightless bat-creatures who hide behind idealised human flesh-masks.
    • The Winter Court also has an air-force largely composed of gigantic bats.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy series The Sharing Knife features "malices" which create monstrous servants by magically twisting animals into more-or-less human bodies, with at least some semblance of human intelligence. In Horizon (the fourth and so far final book of the series) a malice gets hold of an enormous cave-ful of bats (one character notes there are millions of bats in some of the caves in that region) and winds up creating a flying army of creatures somewhere between "Dire Bats" and "Were Bats", while the malice itself takes the form of an especially large and eerily beautiful Were Bat.
  • In After Man: A Zoology of the Future, an island-chain that emerged after humans' extinction happened to be reached by bats before birds, and they came to dominate its ecosystems. Bat-descended animals found there include seal-like surfbats, flightless bug-eaters that imitate flowers, and bizarre shrieking predators called "nightstalkers" that walk on their front limbs and claw with their back ones.
  • In Elfstones of Shannara, The Dagda Mor mounts one of these for his final confrontation with the Roc-mounted Allanon.
  • Chiro from Nightsong, another children's book, is a subversion, being a cute young bat.
  • James Bond in Nobody Lives for Ever is attacked by a hybrid giant vampire bat in a hotel bathroom. Its threat comes from the possible diseases it may carry and after killing it, Bond scrubs the bathroom with antiseptics so that no trace of said diseases are left behind.
  • In The Reynard Cycle, bats are generally considered to be creatures of The Watcher, the god of death, and are thus generally considered an ill omen. In The Baron of Maleperduys, Hermeline recalls that the castle of Maleperduys had to be cleared of a swarm of them before Reynard and companions could call it home.
  • The Draghkar from The Wheel of Time are essentially large werebats.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the extinct House Lothston, whose sigil was a black bat, had an ill reputation in the Seven Kingdoms. Lady Danelle Lothston was rumored to have practiced black magic, bathed in blood, and presided over feasts of human flesh. Even decades after the fall of the Lothstons, their sigil is still feared by many, and mothers tell stories to their children about bats flying from Harrenhal to carry bad children to Mad Danelle's cooking pots.
  • The Long-Eared Bat in the poem of the same name from Alan Adridge's Butterfly Ball is the only insectivore to be portrayed as actually preying on the insect characters.
  • Just like in the original video game, Bat from Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner can transform into the Aztec god of death Camazotz, which looks like a deformed gigantic bat. And he's also a cannibal.
  • Black & White: If the divine player character's Karma Meter is solidly Evil, the "Miracle Flock" ability summons up a smokey swarm of black bats, rather than the usual flock of white birds.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dark Shadows. The witch Angelique Bouchard summoned a vampire bat (presumably from Hell) to transform the wealthy Barnabas Collins (her former lover who broke her heart to marry her employer) into a vampire, leading to the town's pursuit of him.
  • Gilligan's Island episode "Up At Bat". Gilligan is bitten by a large, nasty looking bat and thinks he's turning into a vampire.
  • Primeval: The Future Predators are highly evolved, flightless bats, and apparently inspired by the flightless bats of After Man: A Zoology of the Future. Rather than being creepy or blood-drinking, they're ferocious, strong and agile predators.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Rani's Tetrap Mooks in the serial "Time and the Rani" from the Seventh Doctor's tenure are large vampire bat-like creatures.
    • In the story "State of Decay", Aukon commands a swarm of blood-sucking bats.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight: Blackwing, Advent Beast of Len, aka Kamen Rider Wing Knight, is a rare good example as it serves one of the good guys there. His Japanese counterpart Ren, aka Kamen Rider Knight has Darkwing, due to them being the original versions of the characters on which Len and Blackwing are based. Darkwing is also a good guy, though this seems to be more out of loyalty to Ren than anything else.
  • In one episode of The Office, a bat winds up loose in the titular office. Jim, playing to Dwight's usual Genre Blindness, convinces him that he was bitten and is turning into a vampire.
  • An episode of Married... with Children has a throw-away gag where Peg opens one of the cabinets in the family's kitchen to reveal a mass of cobwebs and a large bat flapping around. She wisely just closes it again.
  • Very large bats called "deathgleaners" appear in The Future Is Wild, and are creepy-looking predators and scavengers.
  • Power Rangers Megaforce has "Zombats", cyborg creatures used to make monsters grow. They have black, serpentine bodies which end in blades and a single large eye for a head.
  • The Murcielago from NBC's Grimm are bat-like Wesen with the ability to emit a screech that can rupture windows, lungs, ear-drums and eyes.

  • One The Lion King Hakuna Matata story subverts this. The plot involves a snake kidnapping a baby monkey into his cave to eat, with scary-looking bats as scenery presumably to highlight the mood. But the bats turn out to be the ones to save the monkey from the snake by purposefully distracting it.

  • The album trilogy of the same name by Meat Loaf surely deserves a mention. All three albums include cover art of a demonic bat (perhaps Satan in a beast form) in a hellish background and a muscle bound hero on a magic flying motorcycle. The animated music video for one of the songs, "The Monster Is Loose", brings all three album covers together by telling the story of the man with the motorcycle who rescues his (literally) angelic girlfriend from a giant bat. She narrowly escapes Damsel in Distress territory by saving him herself at one point.

  • The Camazotz of Mayan Mythology was a bat-god associated with night, death and sacrifice. The name literally translates as "death bat". In the Popol Vuh, Camazotz are the bat-like monsters encountered by the Mayan Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque during their trials in the underworld of Xibalba. The twins had to spend the night in the House of Bats where they squeeze themselves into their own blowguns in order to defend themselves. When Hunahpu stuck his head out of his blowgun to see if the sun had risen, Camazotz immediately snatched off his head and carried it to the ballcourt to be hung up as the ball to be used by the gods in their next ballgame.
  • Oceanian Mythology: In Hawaiian mythology, the god Maui battled a giant eight-eyed bat known as Pe'ape'a that kidnapped his wife.
  • Bats are very prominent on Aboriginal Australian Myths. Some fit the classical bill (Narahdarn, the malicious bat in several South-eastern traditions), while others are more benevolent (the bat is one of the two sacred animals of the Worimi, for example) to complete weirdness by our standards (the flying fox is associated with the sun goddesses).

  • The "Moon-Hoax", a series of fake articles published in the New York Sun in the mid-19th century, convinced gullible readers that a new kind of telescope had revealed life forms on the moon's surface. At the climax of the series, a race of intelligent bat-people were "sighted", and subverted this trope by being peaceful vegetarians.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Warhammer:
      • Unsurprisingly, the Vampire Counts have several bat units, including Bat Swarms (regular bats), Fell Bats (flocks of bigger bats), Varghulfs (vampires who have (usually willingly) degenerated into huge flightless bat-like monsters), and Vargheists (vampires who were forcibly mutated into mindless flying bat monsters smaller than the aforementioned Varghulfs). The epitome of this trope in the setting is the Terrorgheist, the zombified remains of a dragon-sized bat that preys on horses and pegasi. It can also explode into a swarm of smaller bats if slain.
      • Many vampires, particularly those of the Strigoi bloodline, are capable of either turning into monstrous bats or growing bat-like wings.
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar:
      • Bats are the most common fauna of the Realm of Shyish, ranging from swarms of regular bats to the monstrous Fell Bats. These bats are often afflicted with the Soulblight curse turning them into bloodthirsty hunters who accompany the armies of the Soulblight vampires.
      • The Vargheists of the Soulblight armies and the Varghulf Courtiers of the Flesh-eater Courts are vampires who have lost their humanity, devolving into hideous bat-creatures.
    • Necromunda:
      • Some areas of the Necromundan Underhive are infested with swarms of carrion bats. These scavengers have ferocious piranha-like jaws that they use to steal mouthfuls of flesh from corpses and living Underhivers alike.
      • Ripper Jacks are bat-like alien creatures that inhabit abandoned domes in the Underhive. Ripper Jacks attack by enveloping their prey’s head with their wings while biting and gouging their eyes and throat. Many Beastmaster Wyrds are able to control Ripper Jacks and fight alongside them during battle.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dire bats.
    • The Eyewing combines bat wings with a Faceless Eye.
    • Several magical species of giant bat are found in the Forgotten Realms.
    • Subverted by D&D 3E's desmodu, bat-like subterranean humanoids which are actually among the few good-aligned races in the Underdark.
    • Two of the minor domain lords in the Ravenloft setting are werebats.
    • The mobat is basically a dire bat, only smart, with a spike on its tail.
    • Giant bats in Basic D&D are the size of hawks, and about 10% are giant vampire bats with a paralytic bite.
  • Averted in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Of all the various breeds that exist, including spiders, sharks and dinosaurs, the werebats are not one of them, having been wiped out several centuries ago. Mind you, the reason the Camazotz (the werebats) got eliminated in the first place is because the Shadow Lords who were part of the expeditions to South America fell prey to this trope. While the Camazotz served as Gaia's nocturnal messengers (not unlike the Corax, or wereravens), the Shadow Lords pointed out that anything with a shape like that had to be in thrall to the Wyrm (they weren't, as it happened). With the South American Camazotz wiped out, Bat, their totem, ended up falling to the Wyrm, dooming the surviving Australian Camazotz as their creation ritual became corrupted. The Shadow Lords have been trying to make up for that fuckup ever since and have even managed to free an aspect of Bat from the Wyrm's grip... but the Camazotz are still dead.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken, while lacking true werecreatures outside of werewolves, allows werebats in the form of bat-themed skinchangers.
  • In Rocket Age Martian Devil Vultures are Type 2s, being hairless wolf-sized creatures with four grasping limbs and two wings. They're intelligent enough to make dead-fall traps.
  • Crimestrikers, which is set in a World of Funny Animals, both subverts this and plays it straight. Nyx Marama, a member of the titular team of heroes, is one of the nicest characters in the game. Vladimir "Steelwing" Kavas, a deposed dictator who want his old job back, isn't.
  • Pathfinder: Besides swarms of regular bats and dire bats the size of oxen, there are also mobats — sapient giant bats native to the Darklands — and skavelings, mobat ghouls with the same paralyzing touch of the regular humanoid kind.
  • Shadowrun:
    • The rather inaccurately named birdman, also referred to somewhat more accurately as the manbat, is a type of Awakened bat the size of a bird of prey. While they don't normally go after humans, they're still quite aggressive when disturbed, naturally prey on creatures as big as owls, move in large swarms, and possess very sharp claws on their thumbs and saliva laced with contagious bacteria.
    • Stonebinders are large, but not unrealistically so, Awakened brown bats with long tails tipped with venomous stingers. Their real danger comes from their saliva, however, which causes living tissues it touches to rapidly calcify and turn into an immobile, stone-like state. Stonebinders can spit this saliva with great accuracy from a meter away, and its effects spread from the area of contact until the victim is entirely petrified within a few hours.


    Theme Park 
  • One of the trails in Disney's Animal Kingdom lets you bypass the bat exhibit — the bats alone among all the other animals. For perspective, this is the trail that walks you right by a KOMODO DRAGON without a similar warning. The bats, unlike the Komodo dragon, are in a small dark room, and going back out into the bright light can be disorienting, even if you don't have any fear of bats themselves.

  • The Phantoka Makuta (Antroz, Chirox and Vamprah) are all physically based on and named after bats in BIONICLE.

    Video Games 
  • World of Warcraft:
    • One quest has you kill a giant bat named Duskwing. Giant bats are common in lots of places, and some are used as flying mounts.
    • The Forsaken and the Darkspear Trolls seem to have a particular affinity for bats, as their flight routes use them instead of the wyverns that the rest of the Horde prefers. They even use bats as bomber planes and Troll Druids transform into bats as their Flight Form instead of the usual birds that other Druid races use.
    • The Legion expansion adds felbats, which are giant, humanoid-ish bats used as attack beasts by the Burning Legion. Demon Hunters can get one as their class mount.
  • Warcraft III:
    • Dreadlords are demonic heroes with giant bat wings who can summon clouds of bats against enemies and regain life by attacking (and spread this to allied melee units). Despite the emphasis on melee combat, their race's hat is closer to The Chessmaster, what with manipulating heroes and villains to work for them.
    • The expansion introduces troll batriders, support fliers who can prevent buildings from being repaired and do massive damage to enemy fliers with a kamikaze move.
  • Pokémon:
    • Zubat and its evolutions, which are also literal Goddamned Bats. They are often used by the various villainous teams in the series, with the team leaders for the third and fourth generation games using a Crobat as a sign of Pet the Dog (since Golbat only evolves with a high level of friendship).
    • Gligar and Gliscor appear to be a a cross between a bat and a scorpion. Funnily enough, the anime used Gligar rather than Zubat for its Batman parody.
    • Woobat and Swoobat are subversions. In the games, Swoobat gives off ultrasonic waves that actually put people in a better mood.
    • Pokémon X and Y introduce Noivern, a bat crossed with a dragon and a boombox.
    • One of the mascot legendaries of Pokémon Sun and Moon, Lunala, is a massive celestial bat a good four meters (13.01 ft) tall, with a proportionally larger wingspan.
  • BloodRayne: The pureblooded vampires are werebats. The first Boss Fight of Blood Rayne 2 is against the classic cape-clad Count-type, who could turn into a swarm of unhittable bats. Not dangerous by themselves but could stun and knockdown, slowing the climbing/jumping puzzle and making it easier for the Mooks on the ground to Zerg Rush her.
  • Castlevania:
    • A giant bat is a classic boss monster. It was, after all, the first boss monster at the end of level one for the first game.
    • Castlevania also had the werebat form for Dracula in a few of the games.
    • There's also the bat swarm boss in Dawn of Sorrow.
    • Subverted and played straight in Symphony of the Night. The bats which attack you near the beginning are fairly weak enemies (ironically, the game has Goddamned Bats in many areas, but the actual bats aren't among them), and the giant bat boss appears, though it isn't a very strong boss. On the other hand, Alucard has a bat form (which you have to use to fully explore several areas and obtain various special items), and a bat familiar he can summon; bat-form Alucard can attack enemies with fireballs and sonar waves.
    • For another heroic subversion in the same series, Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow protagonist Soma Cruz also gains the power to turn into a bat. Which makes sense, considering...
  • NetHack, despite its deserved reputation, is another game that features bats who are fairly weak enemies. The offshoot Slash'EM includes some more deadly varieties.
  • Resident Evil 0 had Billy and Rebbecca fight a giant bat and for bonus points it was in a church/graveyard.
    • Resident Evil 5 also had some kind of giant bat/insect creature as the boss for the second mission.
  • Castle Crashers had the ridiculously huge vampire bat, Pipistrello.
  • Vespertillo Canor and Pteropus Canor from The World Ends with You.
  • Sa Ga Frontier has a Bonus Boss in the form of the Abyss Bat.
  • A sort of Dire Bat exists in Final Fantasy XI, but they don't really swarm. The normal, small bats do, however: three small bats are actually considered one monster.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Werebats are a form of were-creature found most commonly in the forests of Valenwood. They are massive human-sized fliers. After being mentioned in the lore several games before, they make an appearance in Online.
    • Winged Twilights are a form of lesser Daedra with humanoid female forms and large bat-like wings found throughout the series. They are most commonly found in service to Azura, the Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, which seems rather appropriate.
  • Nexus Clash has the Revenant class, which can summon a swarm of bats as a pet, turn into a small bat for faster travel, or turn into a werebat for increased strength and the ability to see invisible characters with echolocation.
  • Giant flying bats are an enemy in Gamer 2.
  • The Keese from The Legend of Zelda are pretty average sized... but can light themselves on fire! ...Or ice! On the other hand, the Vire are human-sized.
  • Vampires in AdventureQuest normally turn into Werebats, and more powerful Vampires are always Werebats (except the queen). Werepyres are part wolf, part bat, but they look more like a bat than a wolf.
  • The Mario series has a lot of giant bat type enemies (Swoopers, Swampires, Swoopulas, Fangs, etc), most being roughly Mario or playable character sized and in some cases, annoying as they either swoop down or drain Mario's health. Antasma, the primary villain of Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, is an anthropomorphic one, and is known as "the Bat King". Similarly, the Wario Land series has various kinds of creepy bats, from the annoying flying bomb-shaped bats which explode after attaching themselves to Wario, the bats in Wario Land 4 which turn him into a vampire just by touching him, the ones in Shake It which just swarm him, and whatever the heck Catbat is actually meant to be (some kind of flying cat thing with bat wings for ears, a mechanical bat head on it's head, that floats like a ghost).
  • Battle for Wesnoth's Vampire Bat line. Which are, handily enough, also Goddamned Bats.
  • Somewhat subverted with Sonic the Hedgehog character Rouge the Bat. She's a Classy Cat-Burglar (with rather improbable goals) and generally on the evil side (especially in spinoffs), but closer to True Neutral and often acting as an Anti-Hero. Shes a lot more like a real bat than usual, much like Korbat.
    • Played straighter with Ixis Naugus, although he's one-third bat, one-third rhino, and one third lobster. Yikes.
    • Classic enemy Bat Brain.
  • Darksiders features not only enemy bats (occasionally fire breathing or using sound attacks), but also their mommy: Super-sized bat demon Tiamat.
  • Riviera: The Promised Land featured three bats... as weapons! You catch them and use them against your enemies. However they are also known to have a chance of rebellion, unless Serene uses them. Serene herself also works with the iconography, bat wings and a large scythe like the grim reaper.
  • In the very early computer game Hunt The Wumpus, a giant bat can swoop down and carry the player to a new location in the Wumpus's cave.
  • In Afterlife, one of the disasters that can attack the Fire and Brimstone Hell are Bats out of Hell, a swarm of bats who defecate on buildings.
  • One level of Dragon's Lair has a swarm of bats, as well as a Dire bat.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns gives us the Squeeklies, which combine this trope with Goddamned Bats and take them both Up to Eleven. They are one of the major reasons the cave world is so reviled, particularly Crowded Cavern, which is chock full of 'em. There's even a giant Squeekly that's as tall as the screen (DK is only about an 8th as tall by comparison), whose sonic beams are one reason why the "Crowded Cavern" level is maligned by players for its intense difficulty. Fans were extremely amused when they played Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and saw the giant Squeekly trapped in a block of ice.
  • A bat enemy by the name of Mr. Batty is a recurring mook throughout the MOTHER trilogy. They seem to be more Played for Laughs, especially considering its battle theme in MOTHER 3 does a Suspiciously Similar Song version of the 60s Batman (1966) theme...
  • Viva Piñata manages to invoke this with one of the wild and destructive sour pinatas. While sour it looks like a horror movie bat and makes other pinatas sick with its bite. Once you cure it (with garlic) it becomes... A rabbit-like thing with hilariously tiny wings.
  • Several of the Might and Magic games have enemy bats. They are not particularly dangerous, but they are rather unfriendly (and in Might & Magic VII, the most dangerous variant can attack you with fire).
  • The bats in the Trophy Room in Brain Dead 13. Somewhat downplayed when one of them (a giant bat) wraps around Lance and starts playfully chewing on his head while Lance gets a slightly irritated look, in one scene that is less of a death scene and more of a cutesy mosquito bite scene.
  • The Kingdom Hearts franchise has multiple examples, all as regular enemies:
    • Both played straight and averted by the Komory Bat dream eater in Kingdom Hearts 3D. The creepy red eyes and dark colors their evil Nightmare versions possess give them a rather unsettling appearance, and they're the other kind of bat as well. On the other hand, the brightly colored friendly Spirit version is adorable and a surprisingly helpful ally in combat despite being one of the two starter dream eaters.
    • Kingdom Hearts II introduces the Hook Bat Heartless, which appears in swarms and uses sound attacks. Reaction commands let you use them to pull Grievous Harm with a Body. The Final Mix version of the game introduces its Palette Swap, the Beffudler. Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep - A Fragmentary Passage introduces the Fluttering, which lives in the Realm of Darkness.
  • The Demons, large, flying surface predators in Metro 2033, allegedly evolved from tigers, though they resemble bats more than anything else.
  • The Adventures Of Massmouth has the Stuka-Bats, inhabiting Abandoned Mines on the planet Nemo. They are frighteningly fast and vicious, and their bizarre, scary screams don't help.
  • Terraria has many varieties of bats that all attack the player. Including literal bats out of hell in the game's Underworld.
  • Dark Dizzy/Dark Necrobat from Mega Man X5.
  • In Dragon's Crown, Vampire Bats are common enemies found in most dungeons. They are large enough to bite adventurers to death as they converge on them in swarms, though this in turn also means that they're large enough for adventurers to consider them as potential hearty meals to be had around camp.
  • Bayonetta can use Beast Within to transform into a swarm of bats when she evades just as she's about to take a hit, resulting in negated damage and extended Witch Time. While the bats themselves aren't evil (and neither is Bayonetta, herself), the magic used to fuel them does come from a demonic contract, so they are literally bats powered by the forces of Hell. As a side note, in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U her ability to transform into bats (called Bat Within) is an alternate for her down special Counter Attack, activated when she uses her down special too late, allowing her to avoid damage just like in the game, but won't always activate Witch Time. In Smash this is her only animal transformation to be featured in the game.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has the Cacklebats, which are Risky's Tinkerbats after they had been mutated into human-sized werebats by the Pirate Master's Dark Magic.
  • Total War: Warhammer: The Vampire Counts can field a large number of monstrous bats, with one unit so far representing the swarm of shrieking bats variety, with the rest being increasingly horrifying Dire Bats.
    • Fellbats are "small" (bird-of-prey sized), expendable, and attack in large groups, used to harass and "tarpit" units.
    • Vargheists and the flightless, tank-sized Varghulfs are degenerate vampires who have lost themselves to their bloodthirst, the first through centuries of imprisonment and the second willingly.
    • Terrorgheists are the terrifying, undead husks of dragon-sized bats that live in the Sylvanian wilderness.
  • The aforementioned Camazotz ends up being playable in Smite as an Assassin-style God.
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Bugbats are bat-like creatures with the heads of insects. They're fairly harmless alone, but a swarm can kill a dwarf in seconds.
    • Giant bats, found living Beneath the Earth, are over three times the size of a dwarf and fill the Dire Bat niche. They’re quite capable of killing a lone dwarf by themselves, but can be captured and trained as hunting animals. Goblins sometimes bring them as mounts to sieges.
    • Bat men also exist. They only have four limbs — their arms double as wings like in real bats — and live in tribes underground, being one of the few underground animal people capable of flight. They can also be found on the surface, where like the other surface-dwelling animal people they don’t form tribes and are essentially bipedal animals.
  • Fortune Summoners: In caves, there are the Huge Bats, Monster Bats, Killer Bats, Vile Bats and Bat Giants.
  • In Chantelise and its sequel Recettear, there are Eyebats, oculothoraxes with wings that shoot magic rings.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: There are bats in the caves that you fight.
  • Giant bats are a common nuisance in the caverns of Ark Survival Evolved. They can also be tamed, like most of the other creatures in the game.
  • Fallen London has these in the form of the Masters of the Bazaar. Turns out that they're Alien Space Bats in both the trope sense and the literal sense.
  • Crypt Of The Necrodancer has multiple. They move erratically, and can catch you off guard. Worse, Direbats are a miniboss that can lay a serious smackdown. Finally, Nocturna can morph into a bat.
  • Bat from Digital Devil Saga can transform into the Aztek god of death Camazotz, who looks like a giant bat.
  • Bats can be found in some caves and forests in Pirates of the Caribbean Online. Most of them aren't really a threat, but one variety - the Fire Bat - will explode upon death, causing moderate damage even to a high-level player.
  • Macbat 64 Journey Of A Nice Chap: Macbat is, of course a bat. He is also a nice chap.
  • Dark Souls II has an enemy known as the "darkdweller" in the underground pirate cove that is No Man's Wharf. It's essentially designed to resemble a giant flightless bat, its wings tweaked into long arms ending in claws that inflict bleed, and there are points where you can run into two or three at once. Fortunately, they're Blinded by the Light, meaning that a torch or the Pharros contraption can give you an edge, but if you push them into a corner, it can end...badly...for you.
  • Crystal's Pony Tale has bats in the river level swooping in and out of the windows of the old bridge.

  • Sparklecare: Invoked with Kid Dies, a cute little bat girl. It's just her luck that she has a disease that causes her to vomit blood and dead fetuses. This scares the crap out of Barry the first time he's unlucky enough to witness it.
  • Supercell Fiida Shfisgara at least with her wings
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe: One of the void beasts that the Everyman had to fight was a massive void bat with the wingspan of a hang glider that used high-pitched screeches to disorient its foes.
  • Girl Genius: A colony of "blood bats" make a brief appearance while the protagonists are in Castle Heterodyne. Fortunately, the heroes are able to leave the area before the creatures take flight. Also, one of the novelizations of the comic mention a "particularly large and grumpy" bat which managed to acquire something of a reputation before being shot down by one of Baron Wulfenbach's airships.
  • In Charby the Vampirate one of Charby's preferred forms is of a red-eyed white bat and he starts off the series proper as an unrepentant murderer that Kellwood's vampire hunters have been warned to avoid who casually kills people in relatively secluded places all over the city.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Transformers: Ratbat, one of Soundwave's cassettes, turns into a bat (as his name belies). In the comics, as a fuel auditor (who later spent some time leading the original Earthbound Decepticons) he was obsessed with using Energon efficiently. Decepticon hypnotist Mindwipe falls into this well complete with Hungarian Accent.
  • Godzilla: The Series: Godzilla has fought a Kaiju-sized monster bat that could weaponize its echolocation.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
    • Subverted in the episode "Good Times, Bat Times": Yes, Foxglove is a bat. And yes, she is a witch's familiar. But no, she is anything but horrifying. Instead, she is a cute and lovable bat the size of a chipmunk and in love with Dale.
    • While the Jamaican fruit bats from "Battle of the Bulge" may work for Fat Cat, they are more like some quite messy comic relief with their emphasis on "Jamaican".
  • The ThunderCats (2011) version of Mumm-Ra is a type three bat humanoid, complete with leaf-nosed snout, gaining bat wings in his One-Winged Angel form.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a few varieties of bats. Normal bats, though "dark and mysterious", are perfectly viable pets, and Fruit Bats (literally bats with fruit-like features) are entirely harmless, though inconveniently ravenous at times — a flock may chew on your fruit salad hat if you're not careful. Both kinds aren't any less cute than any other small animal in the series. Vampire bats are larger and have a more frightening appearance and don't stay in only a section of the orchard, though they're still not malicious. However, "Bats!" gave us Flutterbat, a bat-pony with a thirst for apples.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Wolf-bats. They're vampire bats with the legs, paws, and tail of wolves. In The Legend of Korra, one of the Pro-Bending team's names is the White Falls Wolf-bats. They even pull off a WWE-like entrance before their match.
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Ancient Evil the Bloodwolf has an army of wolves with bat wings. Given that they come out of a portal to the "Netherworld", they are as close to literally being bats out of hell as it gets.
  • Castlevania (2017): Dracula's army includes some fairly literal bats from Hell among its demonic ranks:
    • The weakest and most common members of the army, and the first seen, resemble twisted humanoid bats with both clawed arms and wings sprouting from their backs.
    • Demons more closely resembling actual bats, but the size of oxen and capable of running on all fours with their wings folded, are among the monsters that attack the Belmont manor in Season 2.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the 2018 version of Hordak has bat-like features, including long bat-like ears, a bat-like nose, fangs, and claws. The cloned fetuses in his lab also have bat wings.
  • In Primal (2019), the protagonists Spear and Fang are attacked by a flock of monster bats during a blood moon. The bats are blood-red, several times bigger than a human, strong enough to carry off dinosaurs, and surprisingly intelligent as well as loyal servants of an even more monstrous spider.

    Real Life 
  • There is an extinct bat called Necromantis (literally, death eater). Still way too small to kill a person, but a formidable predator nonetheless.
  • Completely subverted by fruit bats. If not for their wings, they look like tiny, wide-eyed foxes. To add a little extra "AWWWWWW", fruit bats love being cuddled and their favorite snack is banana smoothies!
  • Subverted by the noble Spacebat.
  • Spectral Bats, who have 3-foot long wingspans and are the largest carnivorous bat alive, will eat anything smaller than it and will hunt other bats as well. Except that bats with offspring are very good mothers and fathers. The male will even sleep with the mother and young in his wings.
    • There was, during the Pleistocene, a species of giant vampire bat Desmodus draculae. They were roughly one and a half times as large as a modern vampire bat, or the size of a smallish fruit bat, and they fed on the blood of the megafauna of the period such as giant ground sloths. Read more here.
  • Ordinary insectivorous bats can likewise be vectors for rabies. The odds of any given bat being a carrier are low, but rabid bats eventually lose their ability to fly due to neurological degeneration, greatly increasing the risk that a predator or unwary human will investigate the grounded bat and get bitten for their trouble.
  • An American dentist investigated the possibility of rigging bats with tiny explosive charges, to be carried into the rafters of Japanese buildings in World War II. The bat-bombs were never deployed, and a Disastrous Demonstration resulted in some escaped bats blowing up the researcher's own workshops.
  • In cryptozoology, we get many bizarre bat creatures that typically fall under the Dire Bat category. The Indonesian Orang-Bati, for example, is a large batlike monster that's said to eat babies. The African Kongamato and its cousin the Olitiau, are often claimed to be monstrous pterodactyl-like creatures, but their descriptions and most eyewitness reports of the animals seem to suggest something more like large bats. In behavior, it's said to have a Hair-Trigger Temper and being quick to attack anything that so much as makes eye contact with it, fitting it squarely into this trope. The Javan Ahool (which, interestingly enough, is named after the sound it allegedly makes) appears to be mostly harmless by comparison, though, and mainly feeds on fish.


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