The Invisible Man, Unseen and Unloved – An Exposé of Universal’s Also-Ran

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In the pantheon of Universal Movie Monsters (Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, etc.), the Invisible Man is, surprisingly, the most underused of them all. Although the character has had a long history in cinema, he doesn’t get half the respect of the mangy Wolfman, or, most prevalently, vampires.

Like most movie monsters, the Invisible Man has the recipe for success: Specious science (in this case, a drug called monocane that turns you invisible and insane), a well-meaning hero, and the possibly of an unlimited number of sequels. Plus, it’s based on respected source material, the 1897 novel by H.G. Wells. Yet, where similar novels-to-screen stars Dracula and Frankenstein have had numerous adaptations (19 and 28, respectively), The Invisible Man has only had a fraction of that attention: The 1933 original and its four sequels; the Chevy Chase vehicle Memoirs of an Invisible Man; and Kevin Bacon’s Hollow Man, which is only loosely based on the concept.

So why has the Invisible Man languished?

The biggest reason may be because the first adaptation so perfectly
captured the tone and feel of the book. Claude Raines portrayal is so
iconic that subsequent depictions of the character reference both
his mannerisms, and general look. (Author Wells liked the adaptation
so much, he could only find minor details to quibble with.) But the
Invisible Man might have his day in the sun once again: David Goyer,
the writer of Batman Begins and the Blade series is at work on a fresh take for Universal. Expected out in 2010, the storyline will pick up where the Wells’ novel left off. 

For a full schedule of The Invisible Man on AMC, click here.

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