Day 22: The Invisible Man (1933)

If The Invisible Man isn’t Universal’s most pathologically evil monster, then he’s certainly the most ridiculously dressed. Seeing him prance around in a house coat and pajamas with those silly sunglasses perched on his bandaged face makes taking his constant talk of world domination seriously a bit difficult. That and he has to take off all of his clothes in order to be invisible, meaning that when he’s at his most dangerous he’s flopping around naked. There’s something both unnerving and amusing about that.

I debated a bit on whether The Invisible Man counted as a horror film, considering it’s more of a sci-fi morality tale than anything, but Dr. Jack Griffin causes quite a bit of mayhem after dosing himself with invisibility seyrum, enough to warrant a horror label I think. He tosses a woman down a flight of stairs, sends a man in a car hurtling off a cliff and derails a passenger train off of a bridge. Frankenstein’s Monster threw a girl in a pond.

Regardless, I like that the core monster in this film is humanity itself. They say that it’s the invisibility serum that drove Jack Griffin mad, but what really corrupted him was the power. They say (and by "they" I mean an episode of This American Life) that if you ask someone if they could choose between two super powers, the power to fly or the power to become invisible, that it’s the ones who choose invisibility that you have to watch out for. Flight is bold and wonderful, those who wish they could melt away from the eyes of others—well, they’re up to something. Most of Universal’s monsters are sympathetic creatures, at least Frankenstein’s Monster and The Wolf Man are, but The Invisible Man reflects something sinister that’s in all of us. After all, we’re all just an invisiblity serum away from being monsters ourselves. Then again, maybe I’m just speaking for myself.

< Prev >