“They then put them into the House of Bats. There was nothing but bats inside this house, the house of Camazotz, a large animal, whose weapons for killing were like a dry point, and instantly those who came into their presence perished.”
Camazotz was the gigantic genocidal head-lopping gross fucking ancient Mayan bat god associated with death, sacrifices, caves, blood, and, uh, corn. Equipped with two human arms (one of which holds a knife-like prison shank), razor sharp claws, bat wings, and big goddamned Dracula teeth, Camazotz lived in a huge awesome blood-drenched cave filled with man-sized bloodsucking vampire bats, ruled over the twilight and death realms, wiped out an entire civilization of humankind as punishment for their sins, and once ripped the head off of the most important God in Mayan history and LITERALLY FUCKING REVERSE 360-TOMAHAWK SLAMMED IT THROUGH A REGULATION-SIZE BASKETBALL HOOP just to fuck with the decapitated God’s brother and show humanity that if you try and ball with a bus-sized flying Demon Bat he will rain ungodly Monster Jams on your shit so hard you’ll need a truck-mounted motorized spatula, a can of Pam the size of a soda machine, and a team of Yugoslavian Master Chefs to peel your ass off the hardwood in one piece.
AND IT WASN’T THE SHOES BECAUSE FUCKING BATS DON’T EVEN WEAR SHOES WTF
Camazotz’s name means either “Snatch Bat”, “Death Bat”, or “Sudden Bloodletter” depending on how you want to translate it, and even though those three things all conjure up wildly different mental images of what the hell was going on here one thing is certain – you don’t want to fuck with the Snatch Bat.
A ferocious video-gameboss-style Master Demon that lived in the Mayan Underworld of Xibalba, Camazotz the Death Bat was usually depicted with a Vampire Bat face and two arms, one which was carrying a sacrificial victim and the other holding a shank like he knows how to use it. He turned into a statue during the day or went back to a huge Underworld cave known as the House of Bats where the walls dripped with blood and the guano flowed freely, but at night this dude came out, dive bombed his enemies, and sucked them entirely of blood Chupacabra-style.
The story goes that in the early days of Human History, Camazotz lived in the Underworld and commanded armies of Demons to fight against the Gods. In order for the gods to keep fighting, they demanded human sacrifices from the people, because human blood is kind of like Red Bull and Vodka to Mayan Gods, and they’d get ripshit turbocharged in human speedball and have the energy to kick the shit out of the vicious minions of a slam-dunking Underworld demon god.
Well one day the Mayans were being total babies and told the gods they weren’t going to sacrifice people anymore, so the gods were like, “ok assholes, suit yourself” and opened up a Hellmouth that barfed out demons like that fucking shit from Doom II where those big flying Madballs pop out of the thing and shoot lightning at you. Camazotz busted through the portal and IMMEDIATELY KILLED EVERY SINGLE GODDAMNED HUMAN ON THE PLANET. After the “impious” race of Man had been genocided out in a frenzy of bat fangs and razor-sharp claws, the gods made a bunch of new humans to rule and Camazotz went back to chilling in the Blood Cave.
Camazotz is of course based on the idea of Vampire Bats, an incredibly cool and disgusting species of bloodsucking nightmare that only exists in the jungles of Central and South America and preys on everything from goats and pigs to humans and cattle. Vampire bats are ugly as fuck, with weird-shaped faces and pig snouts, and their primary food is the life blood of other living organisms.
Here’s what a Vampire Bat looks like:
Truly it is the least cutest of all the fur-covered mammals.
Vampire bats are pretty awesome because they’re ugly as fuck, and also because they’re evolutionarily adapted specifically to drain the gore of other creatures while they’re sleeping. Their echolocation is way less powerful than that of regular, stupider breeds of bat, and instead their brain is wired to hear the breathing noises made by large sleeping animals while flying at high speeds through the Central American jungle. They can see infrared radiation like the Predator and detect heat signatures of large mammals, fly almost completely silently, and their saliva has an anticoagulant some jerk scientist oh-so-cleverly named Draculin that makes it so that bite wounds don’t clot and just keep on bleeding and bleeding until the bat is done sucking the life out of you.
Oh, this is also cool. Vampire bats are also the only species of bat capable of moving without flying. They run on all fours, and it’s goddamned terrifying. Here’s a video:
Vampire bats can run across the ground at a decent speed, and can climb walls the same way. Their primary mode of attack is to glide through the forest at the height of about 3 feet off the ground, surveying for prey like horses or pigs. Once they’ve found something, they silently land nearby, creepily run over to it like that video above, then sink their fangs in. The bat will drink half its body weight in blood in one sitting, process the blood through its system incredibly fast, excrete out the plasma it doesn’t need, then fly off and leave you laying in a filthy pool of blood and bat piss.
Luckily, vampire bats aren’t very big, and, aside from the occasional rabies infection, they don’t kill humans or anything. They have about a 14-18 inch wingspan, which isn’t too bad. Scientists have found fossilized remains of a prehistoric species of Vampire bat known as the Giant Vampire Bat, but it was only like 30% bigger so that’s what like two feet across or something? Still not exactly the second coming of Mothra.
None of that seems too horrific and gruesome, and even though some humans have tried to burn out vampire bat populations by taking blowtorches into caves, it’s really not worth it.
Now, if the bats were man-sized… and they were like real vampire bats and lived in colonies ranging from 100 to 2,000 bats… well, you can see why the Mayan peoples were terrified of caves.
Like this, only not totally fake.
Camazotz shows up again later on in Mayan mythology, playing a minor yet awesome role in the religious text Popol Vuh. The story goes like this: One day this guy and his brother were really awesome at the Mayan Ball Game, but they were dunking so hard it pissed off the gods of Xibalba so the Demons challenged the brothers to a Space Jam style deathmatch. The Demons posterized the brothers, schooling them so hard they both died.
Well one day some lady was walking around in the Underworld and she saw the skull of one of the brothers. The skull came to life like Monkey Island and hocked a loogie on the lady, which made her pregnant with twin boys somehow. When the boys were born their half-brothers left them on an anthill to die, but they survived, learned a bunch of magic spells, turned their half-brothers into howler monkeys, and then went after the gods to avenge their fallen father by finally winning the epic streetball showdown against the Mayan Hoops Gods.
Things were going OK for the brothers, who passed test after test until they came to the House of Bats, where fucking insane vampire bats were flying around all over the place and the bros had to hide out by jumping into a big tube. Well one of the brothers got impatient and popped his head out, and the second he stuck it out there fucking CAMAZOTZ THE DUNK MACHINE swooped in, popped the kid’s head off, and double-pump reverse between-the-legs fucking 720 MONSTER JAMMED it while all the other gods stood up and yelled and were all like “Ohhhh my!!! The nail in the coffin!!!!”
The surviving brother ended up making a fake head for his bro out of a hollowed-out squash, but when the Big Epic Showdown Hoops Game went down the next day the Gods awesomely insisted on using the decapitated head as the ball. Which kicks fucking ass and you know it. The kids of course eventually win, get the head back, defeat the demons, and then morph themselves into the Sun and Moon.