Director: Ford Beebe
Writer: Bertram Millhauser
Cast: Jon Hall, Leon Errol, John Carradine, Alan Curtis, Evelyn Ankers, Gale Sondergaard, Lester Matthews, Halliwell Hobbes, Leland Hodgson, Doris Lloyd, Ian Wolfe, Billy Bevan, and Grey Shadow
Composer: H.J. Salter
Release Date: 6/9/1944
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
In order to terrorize a husband-and-wife pair for violating the conditions of an old contract, psychopathic fugitive Robert Griffin (Jon Hall)—no relation to Jack Griffin, the first Invisible Man—agrees to be the guinea pig of Doctor Drury (John Carradine). If successful, Drury’s experiments with invisibility will allow Griffin to take revenge on those who supposedly wronged him.
By employing a darker tone than either The Invisible Woman or Invisible Agent, The Invisible Man’s Revenge exemplifies the ominous—albeit delightfully campy—spirit that characterized James Whale’s 1933 masterpiece. That being said, a heavy emphasis on cringe-inducing humor may offend Universal Monster buffs of a serious disposition.
A semi-faithful adaptation of The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man’s Revenge features a protagonist whose moral inhibitions are severely diminished even before consuming a mind-altering substance. While Jon Hall struggled to emulate the smooth, sinister voice that defined Claude Rains’ performance in The Invisible Man, Robert Griffin nevertheless embodies a threatening demeanor to make credible his murderous inclinations—an improvement over the prior three sequels and one that will likely appeal to fans of Universal Studios’ classic monster series.
By relying almost exclusively upon contrived circumstances to advance the Robert Griffin narrative, The Invisible Man’s Revenge fails to maintain suspense at appropriate times. Notably, Griffin just so happens to stumble across a mad scientist who, conveniently enough, requires a willing subject on which to test his invisibility formula. Additionally problematic, Griffin eventually returns to a visible state by injecting himself with the life fluid of his intended victims—a plot twist that falls somewhat flat when accounting for the potentially fatal consequences of mixing two incompatible blood types.
As indicated above, the director of The Invisible Man’s Revenge should be commended for modeling the Robert Griffin character after his literary counterpart. Unfortunately, Griffin’s lack of conscience provides little room for a nuanced examination of the human condition—much in contrast to Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and all horror films that thoroughly explore the conflicted nature inherent to every compelling monster.
The Invisible Man’s Revenge is an entertaining, if not exceptional, chapter in Universal Studios’ saga of iconic creature features. Especially worth mentioning is Halls’ portrayal of Griffin, which, though hardly sympathetic, conveys a cruel, taunting manner that will effectively disturb audiences of a sensitive temperament.
Overall Quality: 6/10
If you enjoyed this post, please click the follow button or enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.