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The Invisible Man Appears/The Invisible Man Vs. The Human Fly Blu-ray Review

A double dose of Invisible Man.

Prior to the press release, I had never heard of Japanese tokusatsu films “The Invisible Man Appears” and “The Invisible Man Vs. The Human Fly”which is odd considering how much of a monster movie enthusiast I am. Both of these films are obviously based on H.G. Wells classic novel (and the Universal Monsters movie series). Daiei studios (best known for the Gamera franchise) certainly put their own spin on the Invisible Man with 2 completely different films, but are they worth your time?

1949’s “The Invisible Man Appears” bares similarities to Universal’s classic 1933 version, but there’s more going on here with plots about a Doctor (Nakazato), a love triangle between Nakazato’s daughter Machiko and his students (Kurokawa and Seki), a kidnapping, the mysterious identity of the invisible man, and a manipulative jewel dealer (Kawabe). So basically, it’s a part sci-fi movie and part heist movie that beats you over the heard with the notion that science can be used for good and evil. 

As busy as the movie is, directors Shinsei Adachi and Shigehiro Fukushima’s movie moves at a snail’s pace and draws out the romantic love triangle, the jewel theft, and the manhunt for the invisible man. Characters also act really foolish when it comes to the manhunt. The highlight of the movie is easily the special effects work by Eiji Tsuburaya (who worked on this prior to Godzilla). The effects are deeply impressive for the time period (especially for a non Hollywood production).

1957’s “The Invisible Man Vs. The Human Fly” is a strange mash-up that actually predates the original “The Fly” by a year. The story concerns a series of murders, a murderous insect sized human fly, an invisibility ray, and a Detective (Wakabayashi) investigating it all. It all sounds schlocky but under director Mitsuo Murayama, it turns out to be surprisingly dark movie plays more like a noir, a serial killer story and a murder mystery more than a sci-fi monster flick. Like “The Invisible Man Appears,” it’s a slow paced movie in which characters do very stupid things, but it deserves props for ingenuity and being a decidedly kind of invisible man movie.

Overall, “The Invisible Man Appears” and “The Invisible Man Vs. The Human Fly” are historical curiosities that may very well appeal to fans of monster movies and Japanese cinema. Just don’t expect anything particularly special here.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How do they look? Both prints are a bit jumpy and filled with scratches but they still look decent considering their age.

Audio Track: Japanese 1.0 Lossless. How do they sound? The audio fares better here with super clean tracks.

Extras:
* “The Invisible Man Appears” trailer
* Image galleries for “The Invisible Man Appears” and “The Invisible Man Vs. The Human Fly.”
* “Transparent Terrors”- An interview with film critic Kim Newman about the history of Invisible Man cinematic stories.
* A booklet with credits, photos, an article by Keith Allison, and an essay by Hayley Scanlon, and a piece on Eiji Tsuburaya by Tom Vincent.

April 3, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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