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As Blumhouse plans to revive the least celebrated Universal Monster, we look back on The Invisible Man’s representation in film, spanning from 1933-2018.

When someone says “Universal Monsters” there are a few names and images that come to mind immediately. The erroneously labeled Frankenstein (instead of Monster), the romantic Dracula, Wolfman, The Creature, and even the Bride. Seldom, and fittingly so, is the name of Jack Griffin, aka The Invisible Man, mentioned.

With the announcement that venerable production company Blumhouse would be restoring visibility to the classic Monster, it was time to dust off the bandages and look at just where the story has gone through the years since H.G. Wells first introduced us way back in 1897, in novel form.

The History of “The Invisible Man” on Film

Missed Titles:

  • The Invisible Boy (1957) – with a story line featuring Robby the Robot from “Forbidden Planet” (1956) I regret
    not being able to track this one down.
  • Gemini Man (TV Series 1976) – picking up right after the ’75 series, with a similar premise
  • Invisible Kid (1988) – I could only find a YouTube version but it was unwatchable quality
  • Invisible Maniac (1990) – same as above
  • Invisible Dad (1998), Invisible Mom 2 aka Mom’s Outta Sight (1998), and Invisible Mom 2 (1999) – All three of these films are by Fred Olen Ray. I have no clue why there were two Invisible Mom sequels, but I respect my time too much to sit through anymore of his films.

A Story 122 Years in the Making 

Often Hollywood is ridiculed for regurgitating stories. Sometimes though, the story is worth bringing up for a second chewing. The legend, Mick Garris, said, “Sometimes a great idea can benefit from an update… Sometimes it’s an opportunity for someone with a great imagination to reimagine a concept… A story worth telling.”

Dubbed the imagination to bring this story into the modern era is Leigh Whannell (Saw and Insidious franchises), who has been announced as Director. It will be interesting to see how Whannell translates his rather expert method of creating terror on screen into being afraid of that which you can not see.

A Personal Note: One pattern throughout the productions which didn’t sit well with me was the treatment of Woman throughout the entire eighty-six-year history of The Invisible Man on screen. Perhaps you can dismiss it by chalking it up to a “product of the times”, but I see no excuse in that. It absolves these past occupants of the responsibility they had to treat humans with respect due. We can’t avoid condemning that part of the past.

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