Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror: The Invisible Man


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Installment number 6 in our series of horror-thriller movie write-ups. Written by Gavin A Go Go. This is The Invisible Man. Released in 1933.

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The Lions Head Inn is in full swing, all fun and frolics. In walks a stranger, wrapped up head to toe and eyes covered with some peculiar glasses. The place goes quiet. The man demands a room be made up for him. Once shown to his accommodation he insists on absolute privacy.

Months later after falling behind on his rent and damages to the room he is asked to leave the inn. The landlord starts to clear the strangers equipment and this angers the tenant. A struggle develops between the two men resulting in the guest throwing the landlord down the stairs.

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A police led mob try to apprehend the stranger but that’s the last straw! He throws his nose at them, then removes the glasses and takes off his bandages revealing that he is invisible. Laughing like a looney he removes all his clothes making him undetectable. The mob try to capture the man, but he easily escapes causing lighthearted chaos through the village.

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This man is Jack Griffin, A scientist who months earlier left his hometown leaving only a note behind telling his mentor Dr Cranley, his partner Dr Kemp and his fiancee Flora Cranley that he has skipped town to carry out some experiments. He has gone in to hiding to try and develop an antidote to a previous experiment. An experiment that turned him invisible. This came to fruition while mixing a few simple chemicals, one of which is monocane. While this chemical may be the key to his invisibility, unbeknown to him, it is also making him insane.

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Turning up at his former partner Dr Kemps house. Demanding warmth and clothing Griffin goes on to tell Kemp of how he came across his discovery and evil plans for murder and world domination and insists on Kemps partnership in his cause, but first they must return to the village to get Jacks notebooks.

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Once Jack has his books, back at the Inn, the police are trying to get to the bottom of what they believe to be a hoax, only to become the subject of ridicule and ultimately death at the hands of Griffin. The doctors then make haste back to Kemps dwellings. Now the law begin to take the village seriously and start a nation wide search for the transparent mad man.

At Kemps house, Griffin retires for the night. Kemp takes this opportunity to go in to his study, lock the door and contact Dr Cranley and the police to let them know where the Invisible man is. During this time Flora learns of Jacks condition and insists on seeing him that very night.

Still in the study Griffin demands that Kemp unlock the door and forces him to go to bed. Passing a window Jack sees a car pull up. Initially thinking it’s the police he soon realises that it is his beloved and mentor. Insisting on seeing Flora alone he goes to prepare himself. While telling her of his motive of the experiment the megalomaniac goes on a rant of power during which he see’s the police approaching the house. Learning of his partners betrayal he promises Kemp that he will meet his maker at 10 o’clock the next night and scarpers.
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Under interrogation about the Cranleys involvement in the case the police quickly learn the true identity of their fugitive.

On the run Griffin wreaks havoc of daylight robbery, carnage and an orgy of murder. How will they stop THE INVISIBLE MAN!!!!!!!

Adapted from H.G Wells’ sci-fi novel, Universal Studios released this great piece of cinema in 1933. Boris Karlof was first choice for the lead, but turned it down as he would have very little screen time, so he lost out Brixton born Claude Rains in his first American screen appearance. Rains got the part due to James Whale accidentally hearing Rains screen testing played in another room.

Director James Whale was also the force behind Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. Openly gay, which was virtually unheard of at the time, there is a myth that Whale claims to have The Invisible Man get totally undressed in the mob scene so as to get one over on the censorship comity by having a man fully disrobe on screen.

I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy this film as much as I did/do (I have watched at least 5 times since). It has very high camp factor and at times reminded me of Blackbeard’s Ghost meets Benny Hill, especially the scene where the mob are running around trying to arrest the shirt and the bike.

The effects are truly amazing for the time, hold up extremely well and are often said to have made the film as successful as it was.

The script is fantastic.

We’ll begin with a reign of terror, a few murders here and there, murders of great men, murders of little men – well, just to show we make no distinction. I might even wreck a train or two… just these fingers around a signalman’s throat, that’s all.

Is my personal favourite quote.

The thing I liked about this most was the cast, Everyone from the lead to the Policeman. My favourite would have to be the Landlady, shrill over exaggerated, almost ridiculous at times.

The Invisible Man t-shirt is absolutely perfect, brilliant colour, font and choice of images absolutely nail it. Grab yours now before they disappear!

the invisible man tshirt

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Gavin A Go Go’s Vault Of Horror: House On Haunted Hill


House_on_Haunted_HillThe 3rd post in our series of classic horror movie worship by our pal Gavin A Go Go. This is House On Haunted Hill. Released in 1959.

I thought as I mentioned William Castel in my review of The Screaming Skull that it would be fitting to do another of his films and what better than The House On Haunted Hill staring the brilliant Vincent Price.

Eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren (Price) invites five apparent strangers to a haunted house for a “ghost party” (not too sure what that is, but I really want to go to one) for his wife. Each of the guests have been informed they will receive ten thousand dollars in return for their attendance. They each arrive by funeral cars and at this point Loren narrates the reasons for them attending (they desperately need the money mainly). One of the guests, Watson Pritchard is also the owner of the house. He inherited it from his brother, who was murdered (along with several others) at said house. Watson had stayed in the house once before and claims that he only just survived, but doesn’t go into much detail of his ordeal.

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As soon as they arrive at the mansion, strange things start to happen. A door slams, a chandelier swings and falls, narrowly missing young Nora Manning. One of the guests who works for one of Loren’s company’s and needs the money as she is the sole earner for her family.

After the guests have calmed down with a drink, the host finally makes an appearance and goes into more detail about the evenings events. They soon learn that in order to claim their ten grand they are required to be locked in overnight with no chance of leaving until 8am the next day. Each have until midnight to make their decision. While all of this is going on Pritchard is telling everyone how unsafe the house is, the ghosts have been awoken and that everyone should leave immediately. It becomes apparent that the man likes his booze, so very little notice is taken.

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The strangers take a tour lead by Pritchard, as he is familiar with the house and it’s history. He shows the locations of where the murders took place and the grizzly stories behind them. The group is lead to the cellar where they are shown a trap door. The lid is lifted and a vat of acid is revealed. We are told that this is where one of the murders took place.
(The acid seems to dissolve only the flesh leaving the bones and we are given a demonstration of this by use of a dead rat ha ha ha)

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As Midnight approaches more and more strange things happen, particularly to Nora, who pretty much gets the brunt of it. Miss Manning is determined that she is going to leave, but before she has a chance…. its too late! The care takers have left and locked up 5 minutes early. There is no way out and with no electricity or phones, communication with the outside world is futile.

Once the party goers have come to terms with the situation, Loren thinks this would be a good time to hand out guns to everyone awesomely presented in tiny coffins. (I want one). This just raises tension and doesn’t bode well for the rest of the evening.

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This is how early black and white low budget horrors should be made. Great story, high camp factor and perfect cast. Right from the get-go you pretty much know what you are in for and it doesn’t stop. It’s a great story, very original at the time, totally engrossing and a lot of fun. It has some pretty good jump moments too. My personal favourite being the first time we are introduced to the female care taker (You’ll see).

1999 produced a re-make of this classic and although it was thrown in with the post Scream MTV horror overload such as the likes of Urban Legend, I Know What You Did Last Summer and 13 Ghosts (another Castle re-make), it wasn’t that bad.

I really wish I could have seen this at the pictures when it was first released. William Castle is well known for his great in theatre promotional gimmicks, such as under seat buzzers for The Tingler and had (fake) nurses in the lobby checking peoples blood pressure to make sure they were well enough to watch the features. For this one he used Emergo, where he installed an elaborate pulley system in the theatre which allowed a plastic skeleton to be flown over the audience at the right time. It would have been a blast. The film Matinee staring John Goodman is based on Castle’s career and well worth checking out too.

This House On Haunted Hill T-Shirt really nails the awesome camp factor from the film and some of the classic moments from the film, even the trap door of acid.

house-on-haunted-hill_tshirtPost written by Gavin A Go Go