Of course this time of year elevates my desire to watch monster movies. I thought about sharing my “top 5 horror movies” or something to that effect. When I started to mockup my list I realized it was too hard. As a monster movie nerd, I couldn’t limit myself to 5 or even 10. I decided I’d give you a prelude into my monster fandom with a movie that (ironically) most overlook.
The Invisible Man
A dark comedy laced with hard-hitting moral questions—hidden inside a monster movie. The Invisible Man, based on H. G. Wells’ novella by the same name, is a masterpiece in storytelling, special effects, and intrigue.
Jack Griffin, played by Claude Rains, is a scientists who has discovered a potion that turns a man invisible. The troublesome part is that he’s used it on himself without a clear way to get back to normal. Jack secludes himself from everyone he knows and loves to try to discover an antidote—one of the many ironies in this film.
His search for peace and quiet finds him in “The Lion’s Head”, a small town motel and bar. The locals are instantly frightened by the strange character covered in bandages with goggles over his eyes (the only way for him to be visible is to cover himself from head to toe with clothes).
Even in the seclusion of “The Lion’s Head”, Dr. Griffin is bothered repeatedly and his patience wears thin. After a few weeks of tinkering, still no results. The owners begin to get restless over his mysterious behavior and, more importantly, his lack of rent. Finally the owner musters up enough courage (aka forced by his wife) to tell Jack he’s being kicked out. Griffin, once again disturbed during an experiment, is angered and decides to alienate the locals by revealing whats underneath the bandages (or in this case, what isn’t). The town is sent into a fright, soon the news spreads to a larger scale. The chief of police calls out for anyone and everyone with an idea on how to catch the invisible man.
Stricken with his new-found power to terrorize people, Griffin appears to go insane and has found a new motive…
The world is my hiding place
Subliminal social issues are tackled in this horror classic. More than just a horror movie, The Invisible Man and all the other Universal Monsters can have you questioning your humanity. What is it that makes us human?
Much like flying, there’s something about the power of invisibility that intrigues us all. From the early days of youthful imagination, to the modern curiosity of what is scientifically possible— everyone can relate on some level to this movie.
An invisible man can rule the world. No one will see him come, no one will see him go
The Invisible Man is my personal favorite of the Universal monster movies of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The true genius behind a successful “monster” movie is the delicate balance of the duality of man—two sides of the same coin. When compared to Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Mummy—The Invisible Man is the most nuanced. The scariest part of a film like this is not the fantastical, it’s the perceived nearness to reality.