Monday, October 7, 2013

The Invisible Man (James Whale, 1933) Review

So it only hit me that it was October...well, I knew it was October but I've only just got into the spirit of it as it's the month of Halloween! That means that we can dig into some scary films...that's exactly why I picked one that wasn't scary...sorry. It only seemed appropriate to start with a classic Universal horror film and I decided to pick my favourite monster (harsh seeing as he's still human, I guess). Let's take a look at The Invisible Man.

A scientist named Griffin (Claude Rains) develops an experiment that allows him to become invisible, however this is permanent. Not only that, but the experiment also starts affecting his brain and he slowly turns insane resulting in him using his power to terrorise the local town and terrify the citizens. The police are called in to deal with the situation however they are dealing with an enemy that they can't see.

The reason that Griffin is my favourite of the Universal horror icons is because he is a much more likable character. Not likable in an emotional sense but in the sense that it is clear that, while he is insane, he is enjoying himself and is more of a prankster...sure he goes a bit far but the performance of Claude Rains brings some light-heartedness to the role. However, Claude Rains is the only memorable star. I can't remember a single other character except for Flora (Gloria Stuart). Rains makes this film.

There isn't really much for the plot however it's simple and therefore a nice, easy flick to put on. The ending may leave you a bit depressed but it's all good fun while it long as you're on Griffin's side. Amazingly, the effects still hold up. The scene where Griffin removes his bandages to reveal nothing there is pretty chilling and still amazingly well done. Later scenes such as him skipping in nothing but his trousers or his footsteps appearing in the snow still look good, especially considering the time this film was made. 

The Invisible Man is my personal favourite of the classic Universal horror films but it doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. To be honest, it's pretty simple. You could argue that it holds up well enough with a likable yet sadistic protagonist...antagonist...prantagonist (I'm coining that word now) with some effects that still look good now. The plot is simple but it's a good film to stick on this Halloween  It's not perfect but it's a good film to see at least once. 

While the plot is simple and Griffin is the only memorable character, the effects still hold up and it gets the tone right with a likable monster.

and yes, the Invisible Man is my favourite character in Hotel Transylvania.

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