The Invisible Man Returns

1940 sequel

Rating: 15/20

Plot: Geoffrey Radcliffe, a guy with a name that makes you want to sucker punch him, is scheduled to hang after being convicted of killing his own brother. But he didn't do it! Oh, snap! His fiance weeps as the day approaches. A scientist with a concoction to make people invisible, just like his brother in the first movie, shows up to help Radcliffe out. He sucker punches him and apologizes immediately. "I'm sorry," he said, "but your name is Geoffrey Radcliffe." Once invisible, Radcliffe runs off to find the real killer. It's a race against time, however, because the invisibility formula will gradually make him lose his mind. This is loosely based on the life of O.J. Simpson.

How do you make a sequel to a classic movie, one that isn't all that different when you boil it down, without offending audiences and making it totally suck? Add Vincent Price! This is his first horror film although there's really nothing horrifying about it. His character is an invisible man for whom you can root since he's been wrongly accused of a crime. To compensate for the inability to use facial expressions, Vincent really hams it up, and I don't know about viewers in 1940, but I was pleased to know that his character goes commando. The mystery isn't all that mysterious; like a Scooby Doo cartoon, you'll know who the real murderer is before you're supposed to. Also, in the intervening nine years, the details of the first invisible man have apparently become exaggerated as one character claims that "hundreds of lives" were lost. This offers nothing new with the special effects despite the nine years. They're fine, but it's more of the same. I did really like one scene with invisible Geoffrey messing with a character named Mr. Spars. Some quick camera movements and some nifty effects really brought Spars' fear and confusion to life. This is a fine sequel, somewhere in between the Abbott and Costello comedy and the original The Invisible Man and definitely required viewing for Vincent Price fans.

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