The Invisible Man

Somehow got through today with playing a single game beyond Scramble on my iPod, so thought I would instead mention that we watched The Invisible Man last night. We watched the 1933 version with Claude Rains – almost entirely because of that line in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (“Claude Rains was the invisible man”). It was one of many holes in my movie experience.

Anyway, watching it was kind of an amazing experience. If you just put aside some of the more ridiculous acting stuff (the screeching bar proprietor, the manic laughter) it’s pretty damn good. It’s good to the point where we found ourselves thinking, what the hell has even happened over the last 74 years? Why aren’t movies all that much better than this? It’s really kind of alarming. Though I guess it’s true in all media – reading Moby Dick gives me the same kind of “this was created when?” chills.

The other thing it made me wonder is why there isn’t a new horror movie based on the invisible man. Or an invisible man of the ilk that this one is – kind of mad, menacing, and Machiavellian. It’s a really great device, frankly. Particular the ever present notion that the invisible man could be in the room at any time. In the movie they don’t leverage this as much as I’d wish – most often somebody will mention “he could be here right now” and everyone looks freaked out, but as far as you can tell he isn’t there. But the odd time that you suddenly hear his voice and realise he’d walked along with the other character without you know – those are good moments.

I wonder if a contemporary version could bear to not let the audience know at all times exactly where the invisible man is. In the 1933 version this is true too – seems like he can’t go anywhere without brushing curtains, sweeping plates off tables, or cackling loudly. I’m pretty sure if you made me invisible just in my day to day life that there wouldn’t be quite such a mess following me around at all times. It’d be interesting to pursue the idea of an invisible man who’s more attuned to his invisibility, then when you suddenly heard his voice and realised he’d been there the whole time it would be far more chilling.

Anyway, turns out there is a new movie in the works, slated for 2012. Hope they do a good job of it! So much potential. Alarming, though, to think it may not outperform a movie made before the second world war. Come on Hollywood! Come on!

13 February 2011
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