I have only read one H.G. Wells novel in all my years, and that was The War of the Worlds. The Invisible Man and The Island of Dr. Moreau have been in my To Be Read pile for quite some time, but I haven’t gotten around to them yet (there’s just so many great books to read and so little precious time in which to read them; Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera is on the list, too). I confess these sins to say I don’t know how faithful Universal’s The Invisible Man is to its source material, but I have a feeling it doesn’t match the madcap fun of James Whale’s film.
If there are alternate dimensions, or realities than our own, I choose to believe there is at least one in which we all have super powers. I hope I either have the ability to read people’s minds or the power of invisibility. Better still, in that realm of space and time, I hope by some twisted miracle of science, evolution or whatever, I possess both those powers.
I’d like to think I would not be a complete villain, but the kind of hero who would play fast and loose with the rules. Wolverine has a sort of heart of gold, but he doesn’t take no gruff, ya know. If I could read minds, I would do some mischief. If I could turn invisible, I’d probably be a danger to myself and others— I would definitely make a few people think their homes, and lives, were haunted. It would be my luck, whatever gave me the power to be invisible, would drive me insane much like Claude Rains’s character in The Invisible Man.
If on a snowy night a stranger should stop by your quaint English inn wearing bandages, long coat and dark goggles to obscure their face and features, they may not be fresh from a steampunk convention. Jack Griffin makes such a visit and takes a room for some much demanded privacy. He’s a chemist whose experiments with a substance called monocane have rendered him invisible. The drug which turned him invisible is also making him lose his precious little mind.
Being invisible in an inn in Sussex is something that kind of stands out. No matter how much you may want to keep it a secret, somebody is going to find out— that’s just how small towns work, no matter what part of the world you’re in. When the local constabulary try to apprehend the misfit of science, Griffin has a little fun making fools of them and escapes.
Hot on Griffin’s (paper) trail are his employer, Dr. Cranley, and his colleague, Dr. Kemp. They know the insane effects of the monocane, which Griffin does not. He doesn’t even have a clue when decides to force Kemp to help him in his plan to take over the world.
The Invisible Man is probably the most fun of the original Universal Monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy played it pretty straight and deadly serious with nary a chuckle between them. Jack Griffin is the black sheep of the group (with invisibility you gotta have some fun). We all go a little insane sometimes; being invisible while you do it is the way to go.