31 Weeks to Halloween: The Invisible Man
You'll hardly believe what your eyes won't see!
Another week closer to Halloween, another Universal Monsters movie to take us back to the early days of monster storytelling which set the stage for the movies we love today! This week, we're celebrating a movie that's a little extra special this year - The Invisible Man - which just received a reboot earlier this year which was done really well, and was really well received by audiences! But 87 years ago, theater goers saw a very different story with some absolutely unbelievable special effects that helped drive a plot that, to this day, remains one of the best science fiction horror films in the history of cinema. The original Invisible Man hit theaters on November 13, 1933 based on the original novel by author H. G. Wells (who was also responsible for War of the Worlds) - and was a hit with audiences, even if Wells disproved of the portrayal of the scientist as a madman in the film, contrary to how he is written in the novel. The film did so well it got itself a sequel just seven years later and they brought in the iconic Vincent Price to play the role of The Invisible Man - following up Claude Rains' debut role as the original Invisible Man. Looking back at this film almost ninety years later, some of these shots and effects felt so far ahead for its time, it's no wonder audiences were shocked and amazed at how great the film was. It was brilliant filmmaking for its time and to this day, still leaves me in awe at just how amazing this movie is. It was very deserving of a modern day reboot, and as great as it was, it doesn't even come close to this iconic Universal Picture.
You pretty much get to see (or not see, rather!) the Invisible Man pretty much from the get-go of the film as Dr. Jack Griffin - a scientist who has done the impossible and turned himself invisible - journeys to The Lion's Head Inn to rent a room where he can work an figure out how to reverse his life changing discovery. His face covered in bandages and his eyes in dark steampunk style goggles, Dr. Griffin gets evicted from the Inn after not making any payment, but making a mess in the room - and that's when things really take a turn for the worse. Dr. Griffin really goes mad and begins haunting, attacking, and even killing anybody who gets in his way as his descent into madness leads him to ideas on just how he can use his invisibility to do such wicked things the world could never even dream about. He even forces his friends into his evil plans - but how long will it be until they can get Dr. Griffin under control and visible, so he can pay for his evil doings?!
I honestly cannot put to words just how much I love this movie; I think everything about it is absolutely brilliant. Even in the scenes where you only hear him, the Invisible Man is a thing of pure terror and makes for one of the best villains in any movie! I think his look is both scary and intriguing, and you'll absolutely find yourself begging he gets more screen time, even though he gets plenty. He's a man who claims he did his experiments with the best intentions (to provide an amazing future with his fiance Flora) but he just loses it once he's successful in doing the impossible: becoming invisible! I think the best scenes in the movie don't even have Dr. Griffin in them, believe it or not; the scenes where the camera pans around the room and objects move, float, open, and even smoke on themselves are just flat out fucking awesome. It feels like you're in the Haunted Mansion at Disney World and the whole room is alive. There's an endless amount of creativity shown as the locations come to life in a haunting, ghostly way as you may even forget the actions are being controlled by an invisible man! While H.G. Wells may not have approved of Dr. Griffin becoming a mad scientist, I think it fit the film perfectly and he's easily become one of the best mad scientists in any science fiction movie. I think Dr. Griffin is equal parts terrifying and brilliant, and the same goes for this classic Universal Pictures film. It ranks highly on the best of the entire franchise in my books and its use of special effects were absolutely genius. I cannot recommend this one enough to anyone who hasn't seen it before - it's a wickedly good time.