Naked, crazy and invisible: Halloween Movies 2010!

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Horror, Jeff Holland, October Horror, reviews, Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

I haven’t followed my usual pattern this month, wherein I watch a lot of horror (or horror-ish) movies of varying quality and try to figure out whether they’re worth the time spent watching them. A couple reasons for this:

  • The ones I didn’t like weren’t really that bad, just not all that interesting (there was no way for me to stretch “Picnic At Hanging Rock was pretty boring” out to the usual 1000 words)
  • Even I couldn’t get through more than a half-hour of Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound (though any movie where John Hurt delivers the line “I suppose I should begin with the time slips” with all the energy he’d bring to telling you about this bagel he had one Sunday deserves a shout-out, at least), and
  • The ones I liked were fairly obvious (you don’t need me to tell you to go see Let the Right One In; although, you may need me to tell you the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake was a lot more involving than I thought it would be, so…there, done) and I wasn’t bringing anything new to the discussion.

But the more I sit here and think about it, the more I believe The Invisible Man was the most awesomely weird movie monster I’ve seen in quite some time. The reason: He isn’t just invisible. He’s jacked-up, naked, and crazy (and yes invisible).

He is, in fact, like a PCP addict with an extra edge.  

Not enough attention is drawn to this, but invisible scientist Jack Griffin terrorizes a tiny town of drunk people with the power of his nudity. There’s an extended sequence where he chases people around his cramped hotel room, laughing gleefully and wearing only a shirt.

Now, we can’t see it, but what’s really happening is he’s chasing a bunch of people around with his invisible wanger flapping about. And giggling.

This Is A Little Weird.

Also weird? His master plans seem awfully strangle-centric. I know this can be attributed to the invisibility potion making him nuts, but every single plot he suggests veers casually into murder even when no murder is needed:

“An invisible man can rule the world. No one will see him come, no one will see him go.” OK, so far so good. How will we do it, again? “We’ll begin with a reign of terror, a few murders here and there, murders of great men, murders of little men, just to show we make no distinction.”

Oh. Wait, what?

(At another point he suggests blowing up a train by strangling the switchman. Dude, you’re invisible. Just…sneak up behind him and knock him out.)

So what we’ve got here is:

  • A scientist given to injecting his body with strange chemicals without reading the labels, who is
  • Prone to unnecessary and convoluted violence, and

And if that doesn’t chill your very blood, then I don’t know what will.

(I still like him better than Kevin Bacon, at least. I mean, Claude Rains suggests a little rape here and there, but Kevin Bacon seems to have gone invisible primarily for the rape-potential. Creep. Why couldn’t you stick to casual strangling like Claude Rains?)

  1. braak says:

    Incidentally, remember how I was talking about that Sanctuary show, and how it was pretty good–by which I mean, not too bad?

    I’d been thinking about how they introduced the Invisible Girl character, and they gave her the power to turn invisible (though she still had to get naked to do it), and how she wasn’t a very good actress and it wasn’t a very good part. The part didn’t even make sense, because she was all, “Oh, do you know what it’s like to be invisible?” so sad, so sad, but it’s absurd because she can TURN invisible, the rest of the time she’s just some hot chick.

    Anyway, if I were making that show, I’d have made her invisible all the time, and hired a really talented dancer for the part. You could still have her be hot, because she’d be wearing skin-tight clothes or whatever, except now she’d be interestingly hot. The scenes where she tries to seduce the psychiatrist become weirdly erotic, I think, which would have graduated the show from “not too bad” to “crazy awesome.”

    Also, it would have made her character make sense. I don’t think being invisible makes you insane unless you’re permanently invisible.

  2. Jefferson Robbins says:

    I’ve always liked the questions associated with human invisibility. In Wells’ story, Griffin is upfront that he can’t really eat food before he goes on a spree, because everyone will see this undigested sandwich walking around at abdomen level. And it’s a function (I guess) of light either passing around or passing through your solid body, so … Do you make a ripple? Can you still sunburn? If you smoke, can you eventually stain your lungs so much as to make them visible?

    I also enjoy Warren Ellis’ construction of invisibility in Planetary: The (evil) Invisible Woman has to wear special goggles when she fades out, or else the light will just pass through her optic nerve and she’ll be functionally blind.

  3. braak says:

    With Griffin, he was definitely physically transparent, as opposed to making a light ripple. This is why he had to be an albino, since he was practically transparent already (yeesh). But then, yeah–a three-dimensional transparent object is still visible, since its surface is curved and therefore refracts light at its edges.

    In The Invisible Man TV show, didn’t he see really weirdly when he was invisible? Like he could only see in infra-red, or something? Presumably because the invisibility only needed to bend visible spectra of light.

  4. Jeff Holland says:

    Fawkes’ vision on that show (available on Hulu, and it still holds up!) was in a grayscale that was kind of washed out and blurry in the corners. (I recall a similar visual being used to explain Sue’s vision in a Mark Waid Fantastic Four comic.)

    The quicksilver that covered his body (and clothes, handily sidestepping the whole naked issue) also dropped his body temperature, meaning he could be picked up on a thermal imager. Which kind of made it a shitty secret-agent project in this day and age.

  5. braak says:

    ??? Why wouldn’t he be able to be picked up on a thermal imager anyway? Aren’t human bodies typically at a different temperature from their surroundings?

  6. Jeff Holland says:

    Yeah, well, it was an actual plot point in the pilot. Instead of running hot like humans, he ran cold. So all the bad-guy guards were like “Oh shit we can’t see him – wait! Let’s put on our THERMAL GOGGLES!” And he showed up as a cold spot.

    So let that be a lesson to you, future super-scientists of America: Invest in some good goggles for your henchmen.

  7. braak says:

    But that doesn’t make any sense; the thermal goggles would have also spotted him if he were running hot.

  8. Jeff Holland says:

    I don’t KNOW, man, just go watch the show on Hulu if you’re so concerned about it. It’s near the end.

  9. dagocutey says:

    Sha-WHOO! When I read the first 3 words of this blog title I thought, “Good Christ, our poor, creative, tortured darling has really gone off the deep end!” Then I read the rest of the title and let out the above reverse gasp. I’ve never been so happy to read one of your movie reviews/rants.

  10. braak says:

    Listen Dago: I don’t appreciate your dismissal of my many conditions. Being a GENIUS is STRESSFUL.

  11. dagocutey says:

    So I’ve noticed — I mean, look at Einstein’s hair. And Marshall Mathers’ face — dude is wound up tight.

    And I dismiss nothing when it comes to you.

  12. Tommy Deelite says:

    But that doesn’t make any sense; the thermal goggles would have also spotted him if he were running hot.

    It makes less sense than that — the human body is like a mobile furnace, so anything that lowered a person’s temp would actually make them less visible to thermal imaging.

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