Synyster Graves

The Invisible Man

by on Oct.11, 2010, under Bear Goes Back In Time

‘Even the moon is frightened of me. Frightened to death!’

The classic cycle of Horror films by Universal in the early 1930s was the golden age of horror. And yet, whilst people wax lyrical about Dracula and Frankenstein, they rarely mention the Invisible Man which – in my humble opinion – is better. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff may have got the fame, but Claude Rains delivers the performance of a lifetime in a film that seemed decades ahead of its time.

Like the aforementioned films, the Invisible Man does differ quite strongly from the book but unlike them, it does this to its credit. The climax is slightly more believable and more dramatic. The titular character is also far more engaging than in the book.

Amongst its many strong points is the acting of Claude Rains who would later grace such fine films as Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia. Here, he portrays the madman to perfection, thoroughly revelling in his insanity which makes him both terrifying and hilarious at the same time. He dominates the screen and the dialogue more so than Lugosi or Karloff did which has helped the film in that it has not aged in quite the same way.

However the real aspect of the film which helps it to survive is its incredible effects. It is staggering to think that this film was made only 6 years into the ‘talkie era’ and yet they are able to create effects that were not bettered until the end of the last century. Using simple, trick photography, we really do believe that there is an invisible man stalking the country.

Everyone remembers Lugosi, Karloff, Dracula and Frankenstein. Watching this again makes me wonder why Rains and the Invisible Man are not mentioned in the same light.


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