Archive for Invisible Man

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Flash vs an invisible man (1991)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

The Flash TV series debuted in September 1990.

The Flash_0E8zqTi

In episode 10, which aired January 1991, The Flash would come up against a villain who had invented a personal cloaking device, essentially turning him into an invisible man. That episode was titled Sight Unseen.

It’s a pretty cool episode. The pre-credit opening shows us a burglary, but it’s being done by someone invisible. We see keyboard keys depress and doors opening without seeing anybody onscreen. Then, after the alarms go off, we see the door open on it’s own and then the thief appears as if out of thin air.

vlcsnap-00188_ani

He looks very Shadow-like in the below shot as he dictates to what looks like a mini-recorder device about his plans.  .

vlcsnap-00174

Not sure why he does this right outside the crime scene.  Stay invisible, dude, get to your hideout THEN do your “notes to self”

We get the weekly appearance of officers Bellows and Murphy.

vlcsnap-00192

Bellows is the believer (right) and Murphy is the skeptic (left). However, while Murphy doesn’t believe The Flash exists, he spends most of his time trying to monetize the fact that other people do think he exists.  Here he tries to convince Bellows to sell $6 shirts to people for $20 a pop.

This show is clearly set-designed by the same team that did Burton’s Batman in 1989. Check out Central City Police Headquarters.

vlcsnap-00193

In the stairwell that leads up to the crime lab where Barry Allen works, there’s a weird “science-y” mural painted on the wall.

vlcsnap-00195

In this episode we get the debut of federal agent Quinn. And he’s clearly an a-hole.  He’s very driven and is obsessed with capturing the cloaking device used by the invisible man. He reminds me a lot of agent Milton Dammers in The Frighteners (right) as played by Jeffrey Combs about five years later.

vlcsnap-00196 vlcsnap-00196b

Several times in the episode we get to see invisible-to-visible reveals of the villain. Here’s a cool one where The Flash confronts the guy’s lair.

vlcsnap-00226b_anim

And here’s one where the villain is thrown on the hood of a car and it turns the cloaking device off.

vlcsnap-00207b_anim

Finally Barry figures out that he can see the invisible man with specially developed contact lenses with thermal vision.

vlcsnap-00239 vlcsnap-00240

Honestly, I thought any invisible man’s downfall would be thermal vision. You may be invisible to light, but you’ll always give off a heat signature.

It’s a pretty good episode. No overt Wells-ian easter eggs. The scientist who develops the cloaking device is called Gideon. Which sounds kind of like Griffen, the protagonist from Wells’ novel. Also like Griffen, he’s British. He’s played by Christopher Neame who has been in a ton of stuff from this to Ghostbusters II, License to Kill and The Prestige. Coincidentally enough, he also would appear in one episode of Sci-Fi Channel’s 2000 TV series, The Invisible Man.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Advertisements

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Smoke (1995) – Donald Westlake

Posted in books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Donald Westlake is a famous crime novelist probably most known for his series of novels about relentless professional thief, Parker, written under the pseudonym Richard Stark.  Westlake is also well known for his comic heist novels about charming master thief John Dortmunder.  Parker debuted in The Hunter in 1962 and Dortmunder debuted in The Hot Rock in 1970.

In 1995, Westlake took a break from straight up crime novels and wrote a comedic crime novel with sci-fi elements called Smoke.

smoke_westlake

I was aware of Westlake before I discovered Smoke when researching “invisible man novels” for this Halloween. I’d seen the movies based on Westlake’s “Parker” character (Payback in 1999 and Parker in 2013) and I’ve had my eye on the first Dortmunder novel, The Hot Rock, for a few years now.  So, I thought Smoke would be a great opportunity to read Westlake to see if I like his style before committing to either the Parker or Dortmunder novels.

The gist of the story is that Freddie Noon, a small time thief burgles a research lab late one night and is caught by the two research scientists that live there. They are testing two melanoma formulas and they blackmail him into testing one of them. Freddie mistakenly takes both formulas and then escapes the research lab and makes off with a bunch of the doctors’ equipment. Later, Freddie discovers that the formula has turned him completely invisible. Freddie, along with his girlfriend Peg, has to get used to him being invisible, attempt to continue stealing and fencing goods in his new condition and stay one step ahead of the shady organization that had employed the research lab in the first place who want nothing but to exploit Freddie for their own gain.

This book is sort of a spiritual cousin to HF Saint’s Memoirs of an Invisible Man which was published about 7 years prior to this.  Similar plot lines, only a few details are different, but the tone of the books are completely different.  Saint’s book is a taut suspense thriller from beginning to end.  Westlake’s book is a comic caper with a very light, humorous tone.  The characters are funny and interesting for the most part, but I prefer Saint’s edge of your seat thrill ride to Westlake’s easy going pace.

I’d mostly recommend this book, but if I’m picking my favorite, HF Saint’s Memoirs is a much more satisfying read.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Fade (1988) – Robert Cormier

Posted in books, pop culture with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

In 1988 Robert Cormier published the novel Fade. It is about a boy named Paul who discovers that he has the ability to turn himself invisible, or fade.

fade_cormier

Since this book’s publication it has consistently been on the American Library Association’s list of Most Challenged Books for it’s depiction of violence, murder and incest.

The book begins in a small town outside Boston called Monument during the late Depression era.  As a teen, Paul is fascinated by tales of his uncle and this mysterious photograph from which everyone says the uncle was there but he isn’t in the photograph.  When that uncle visits, Paul learns his secret.  Certain male members of his family gain the ability to fade. It is typically passed down from uncles to nephews.  His uncle has it, and so does Paul.  This ability has been kept a strict secret.  Only the individuals with the power actually know about it and never reveal it to the rest of the family.  Or anyone else.  The uncle warns that it is not the gift it appears to be.

invisible

That’s the basic setup in the beginning, but the book is structured very different and goes several different places than you would expect from the first 100 pages or so.  It took me by surprise.  There are essentially 5 parts of the book, each focusing on a different character and each part jumps around in time forward many years into the future and then back again.  And honestly, for the first 2/3 of the book, the ability to fade is almost incidental to the story.  The story is really about Paul and his relationships with his family and especially his Aunt and how these relationships affect him later in life.

While using his ability, Paul finds out the fade can actually be a curse when he witnesses things he shouldn’t.  And it becomes apparent to him that the fade may be creating in him thoughts and urges he wouldn’t have otherwise.  This sets up what happens later in the book as we fast forward into the future.  There are other aspects to the fade that are interesting.  Paul can somewhat control the ability at first, but it sort of takes on a life of its own later.  Also, unlike other invisible men, Paul’s clothes become invisible when he fades.  Which is doubly interesting because other physical objects he’s touching, like a knife, won’t turn invisible.

Did I like the book?  Yes.  It was definitely not what I was expecting, but the characters were interesting as was the aspect of fading.

 


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Invisible Mouse (1947)

Posted in books, cartoons, Halloween, holiday, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

The Invisible Mouse was an episode of Tom and Jerry directed by Hanna and Barbera and was released in 1947.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 001 Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 002

It was a parody of the Invisible Man concept from both the HG Wells novel and the Universal Studios movie (which was released 14 years prior to the cartoon).

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 003
As usual the cartoon starts with the rampant chasing and violence between Tom and Jerry. They chase each other up a flight of stairs, jump on the banister and start sliding down. Then Jerry shifts to a second banister to avoid….wait, WHAT?! I don’t think banisters work that way. What the hell is going on there?

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 005 Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 006
Jerry jumps on the counter, finds a “chemo set” and jumps in a random bottle to evade Tom. However, it seems that Jerry accidentally jumped into a bottle of “invisible ink”. And it’s turning him invisible.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 008
Interesting.  Jerry’s invisibility is not hampered by seeing your food through your stomach. Whatever he eats seems to immediately turn invisible.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 011
But he still apparently casts a shadow.  Wait, what?!  What is the light reflecting around to cause that shadow?!

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 009 Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 012
Jerry has lots of fun with his new invisibility. He gives Tom the classic “hot foot” and tees off on Tom’s backside with what looks like a 3 Wood.

Tom and Jerry - Invisible Mouse 013
The short ends with Jerry banishing Tom from the house by getting Spike the dog to chase after him and then laying on Tom’s pillow drinking his chocolate milk. Which seems to restore Jerry back to visible?!  Okay.

Well, this particular version of invisible has some goofy rules but what can you expect from a Tom and Jerry cartoon?  It’s still a fairly enjoyable watch for fans of the show.


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Invisible Man TV series (2000)

Posted in pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

There have been a surprising number of invisible man series here and over in Britain. Instead of covering all of them, I decided to look at one that I was the most familiar with.

In the summer of 2000 a TV show premiered featuring a sci-fi based modern interpretation of an invisible man. It was called, oddly enough, The Invisible Man.

inv_man_2000_001

The show would last for two seasons on the fledgling Sci-Fi channel.

scifi_logo

I vaguely remember this show airing. If only for the “quicksilver” effect of the guy turning invisible.  It’s a more science-y update of the invisible man story.

Darien Fawkes (as in Dumbledore’s pet phoenix) is a thief.  And not a particularly good one.  He is caught and sent to prison for his third strike.  His scientist brother bails him out and promises him freedom if he’ll participate in an experiment for a few weeks.

invis_man_2000_003 invis_man_2000_004

That experiment involves an artificial gland that is surgically inserted into Darien’s head that excretes a special substance called Quicksilver that coats Darien’s body and turns him invisible.  At first he can’t control it, it can only be triggered by adrenaline.  Darien, at first eager to remove the gland, is just beginning to learn to control the Quicksilver through Tai-Chi when one of the lead scientists on the team double crosses everyone, kills them and attempts to trap Darien.  In the process, he kills Darien’s brother.

invis_man_2000_007

Darien barely escapes but is forced to go on the run from the rogue scientist.  He is approached by The Agency, the covert government division that funded his brother’s experiments.  It seems the rogue scientist also tampered with the Quicksilver gland so it’ll cause Darien to slowly go mad with rage the more he uses his invisibility and the longer he goes without a special serum.  The Agency offers their help and access to the serum if Darien works for them.

And that’s mostly the setup of the show.  There are some interesting ideas.  The effects aren’t that bad.  My main problem is with the actor who plays Darien, Vincent Ventresca.  He’s kind of a douche bag.  He’s supposed to be, but he does it too well.  I can’t root for the guy because he’s a dick.  And they try to make him rogue-ish and likeable, but that actually works against him.  He’s a two-bit crook who robs from elderly old men (as you see in the beginning and it’s actually what he’s put in jail for) yet he quotes Mark f**king Twain to one of the scientists.  Annoying.

The concept is interesting enough, that I did wind up watching a few episodes of the show hoping Darien’s edge would be dulled a bit as the show progressed.  I watched the 2 hour pilot and a few of the “gimmick” shows like the one with the “evil invisible man” and the possible return of the dead brother.  There’s also one with an invisible woman, but I didn’t make it quite that far.  But I did read far enough ahead on Wikipedia to discover where the government got the Quicksilver…but that’s a tale for another day.

The show isn’t bad, even if the lead is a bit unlikable.

invis_man_2000_008

This is funny. At one point Darien goes to an out of the way taco place to meet a government agent. As he walks in, hanging just over the cook’s left shoulder, oh so subtle-like, is the poster for the original Universal The Invisible Man.  Well played, Sci-Fi.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Starlog’s pop culture history of invisibility (1992)

Posted in magazine, movies, pop culture, Starlog, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

In issue 177 of Starlog magazine, which showcases an interview with John Carpenter about his upcoming Memoirs of an Invisible Man, there is an article by Michael Wolff on the pop culture history of invisibility. It’s written as if invisibility exists and is recounting the many different ways one would make oneself invisible. And throughout the article Wolff peppers in movies and TV shows that featured some form of invisibility.

Here’s the article, click to make the images BIGGER.

article 01 article 02

article 03 article 04

article 05


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Interview with John Carpenter about Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)

Posted in magazine, monsters, movies, pop culture, Starlog with tags , , , , , , , on October 14, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Issue 177 of Starlog magazine featured a cover story on the soon to be released Chevy Chase movie, Memoirs of an Invisible Man (which I reviewed yesterday).

Starlog 177

The featured story is an in-depth interview with the movie’s director, John Carpenter.  He had just come off a hiatus of several years to direct this big budget studio movie.  Being an indie staple, Carpenter had never really done a large studio movie before.  In the article, he discusses why he took the job and a little bit about the history of the project.

Talking about the movie, Carpenter mentions that this project had been around since 1986 and that it’s based on a book by HF Saint.  Obviously, the part about the novel is true, as I’ve reviewed that novel this month, however, the book wasn’t actually published until 1987.  And while studios today will buy up book rights before books are published, it was not done at that time.  However, Carpenter could just be off in his memory by a year, not a big deal.

Carpenter also mentions that Chevy Chase himself bought the rights to the book and the first drafts of the movie were written by the great William Goldman with Ivan Reitman attached to direct.  However, Carpenter said that after everything was “set to go” Chase decided he didn’t want to do a “Stooge” comedy.  He wanted more of an adventure movie.  Which seems odd to me because the book is NOT a comedy.  I guess Goldman/Reitman assumed that’s what they’d be doing with Chevy Chase attached and adapted the book that way.  I tell you what, I’d love to see a Goldman/Reitman/Chase invisible man comedy movie.  I’d be 100% on board for that.  But that iteration of the movie fell apart and is sadly placed on top of the giant pile labeled “movies we’ll never see”.  After Goldman and Reitman left Richard Donner came on to direct and did some work but eventually he left as well.  It was then Chevy Chase that brought Carpenter on to the project as director.

So this movie has an interesting back story.  Clearly, it was a passion/vanity project for Chase.  He controlled nearly every aspect of production.  Carpenter’s interview is very informative with lots of “inside Hollywood” info.

Below is the full story. Click the images to make them BIGGER.

story01 story 01

story 02 story02

story 03 story 03


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.