Watch out! A monster may be standing right beside you and you don’t even know it! It’s ‘The Invisible Man‘ and this 1933 movie happens to be today’s Throwback Thursday, a column where ScienceFiction.com delves into sci fi classics.
Directed by James Whale (who also directed ‘The Bride of Frankenstein‘), ‘The Invisible Man’ was another monster flick brought to you by Carl Laemmle Jr’s Universal Pictures. ‘The Invisible Man’ launched Claude Rains’ acting career and co-stars Gloria Stuart (yes, from Titanic’).
Though based on H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel, there are many differences between the book and the movie. Though Wells is claimed to have said that he liked the movie, he did explain his unhappiness with the way the Invisible Man was depicted. In the book, the Invisible Man was naturally plagued with madness, while in the movie, the Invisible Man takes a drug, monocane, that induces madness.
The film opens at the Lions Head Inn where memorizing character actress Una O’Conner (who also appeared in the ‘Bride of Frankenstein’) welcomes a mysterious bandaged guest. It is later revealed that this bandaged individual just happens to be an invisible individual. Not only is he invisible, we learn that this transparent man is Dr. Jack Griffin (Rains), a chemist who discovered the secret of invisibility.
Back at Griffin’s old headquarters, we learn that his fiancee (Stuart) and co-workers, Dr. Cranley and Dr. Kemp, have become concerned over Griffin’s absence. While they are well-aware that Griffin often performed experiments on his own, they learn that Griffin has ingested monocane, a drug where the side effect just happens to be total maniacal lunacy.
As a result, the Invisible Man goes on a “reign of terror”. With only a few chemicals, we learn that “an invisible man can rule the world!” Not only does Griffin enjoy wacky hijinx with your pithy one-liners, he also kills, inciting panic in the town along the same lines as another Universal monster pic, ‘Frankenstein’.
What’s scary about ‘The Invisible Man’ is not necessary the fact that he may be standing right beside you, learning your deepest darkest secrets, it’s the fact that he’s a complete lunatic that happens to be invisible. While the Invisible Man is technically a Universal monster film, there’s no scary creature haunting our dreams at night. It’s this non-corporeal madness, this lust for power, that truly is the monster of this monster movie.
What do you think? Have you seen ‘The Invisible Man’ or any of its many sequels?