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Film / The Invisible Man Returns

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A sequel to the Universal Horror film The Invisible Man (1933), released in 1940.

Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price, in his first horror film role) is sentenced to death for killing his brother. Innocent to the crime, he escapes on the day of his supposed execution by injecting himself with the invisibility formula provided by Dr. Frank Griffin, the brother of the original invisible man. Now Geoffrey must find the real culprit while battling the insanity-causing side-effects of his condition.

This film has examples of:

  • Benevolent Boss: Geoffrey is very well liked by his employees as a fair boss who looks out for their pay and safety. Comes back to save him in the end as when he needs a blood transfusion, dozens of his men jump at the call to help.
  • Big Bad: Richard Cobb, who framed Geoffrey for murder to take over his coal mining business.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: To even the odds against the invisible Geoffrey, Cobb turns out the lights in the room they're in and throws a chair at him.
  • Cigar Chomper: Inspector Sampson is always shown smoking a cigar. Justified in that he's using the smoke to detect the invisible man.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Unlike its predecessor, the film is set in warmer weather, so it looks a bit strange for Geoffrey to wear them in most instances.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Jack Griffin in the first film was arrogant and rude to everyone he met, even people who were trying to be nice to him, with the exception of a few humanising moments with his fiancee; he also murders huge numbers of innocent people by derailing a train amongst other crimes. Unsurprisingly he is generally disliked by most people who encounter him. While much of this could be attributed to the effects of the formula, we don't see what he was like before—and he did create the formula and take it willingly because of his own ambition, rather than only in desperation like Geoffrey. Geoffrey Radcliffe, on the other hand, is established initially as a kind and fair man, a Benevolent Boss and Nice to the Waiter type; while the invisibility formula affects his mind and leads to delusions of grandeur, he never kills an innocent person. He is also generally well-liked by everyone except the villains of the film.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Geoffrey inevitably starts acting crazy because of his condition, starting to think himself as god.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Geoffrey Radcliffe is a sweet and well-meaning man (pre-insanity) with quite a dorky sense of humour that his fiancee Helen clearly finds charming. He is clearly quite out of his depth in the situation he's found himself in (coming across as awkward even while coming up with a clever plan, e.g. "Just...uh, faint, will you, please, darling?"), but luckily for him, nearly everyone who knows him likes him and wants to help him. Even after he starts to lose his mind he still has several dorky moments such as sneezing in the middle of his attempt at pretending to be a ghost.
  • Fainting:
    • Helen faints when she, against Geoffrey's wishes, takes a look at him while he is removing the bandages from his face that conceal his invisibility.
    • Spears after Geoffrey convinces him that he's a ghost, faints on the spot.
    • Exploited when Geoffrey steals a bobby's police uniform complete with gas mask to escape the smoke, he asks Helen to faint so the two can get out unnoticed.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Downplayed and Justified, in an attempt to get Geoffery detained a group of gas mask wearing bobbies smoke out the house. It doesn't work as one is Mugged For Disguised and he makes his escape with it.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Rare male example. Geoffrey claims he's "not much to look at" even when visible. When his appearance is finally revealed at the end of the film, this statement turns out to be completely inexplicable. There's no indication that any other character thinks of him as ugly at all.
  • Inspector Javert: Samson.
  • Kind Restraints: Geoffrey asks Frank to restrain him if he shows signs of invisibility formula's insanity. After a tense dinner scene with said friend and his love interest, Geoffrey is subdued and chained to a chair and does indeed attack Frank.
  • Laughing Mad: Geoffrey once the invisibility formula starts affecting him. The first example on film of Vincent Price getting to use the Evil Laugh he'd become famous for.
  • Nice Guy: Geoffrey is this when not affected by the invisibility formula. His natural kindness also seems to lead to him being considerably less murderous than Jack Griffin even after taking the formula.
  • Reluctant Psycho: Geoffrey is aware that the invisibility formula will eventually drive him insane, and that the previous person to take it became a mass-murderer. The idea terrifies him and he makes his friends promise to stop him if he becomes dangerous.
  • Revenge of the Sequel
  • Sanity Slippage: Geoffrey becomes increasingly unstable (Laughing Mad, Hair-Trigger Temper, delusions of grandeur, etc) throughout the film as a result of the Psycho Serum.
  • See the Invisible: The constables stationed around almost catch Geoffrey when they spot him, his outlines revealed by the pouring rain. They also proceed to spray the insides of the house with gas in hopes of finding him there.