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Film / The Invisible Maniac

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This schlocky Direct to Video 1990 flick is a fairly straightforward Slasher Movie, though the bucketloads of gratuitous nudity, sex, and voyeurism in this movie also make it a teen sex flick verging on sexploitation as well.

When he was a child, the budding young scientist Kevin Dornwinkle's atrocious mother caught him peeping with his telescope at a nubile young woman doing a strip tease while dancing to some music in her bedroom. Hateful woman that she was, she proceeded to inflict numerous gaping wounds on his vulnerable little psyche, ranting about what a disgusting little pervert he was; how all women are evil; and how he was never to look at, talk to, or even think about them ever again; and somehow finishing this rant by laughing maniacally in his face.

Twenty years later, Kevin Dornwinkle is a respected, if rather shy, nerdy, and sexually repressed physicist. Unfortunately, when he attempts to demonstrate to a symposium of world-famous fellow physicists a new breakthrough he claims to have made in making himself invisible, his serum fails to produce the intended effect, and they mock him mercilessly. This proves to be a terrible mistake: cruelly reminded of his mother's abuse, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, slaughtering four of the other eleven scientists present. After he is arrested (newscaster Tammy Edwards helpfully informs us), he is ruled incompetent to stand trial and sent to the State Institute for the Criminally Insane (in some unspecified state).

Six months later, Kevin Dornwinkle escapes from the Institute, throwing the one Angry Guard Dog that manages to pursue him out of the Institute's perimeter a stick to distract it. Two weeks later, Kevin "Smith" gets a job at a Sucky School teaching a remedial summer school physics course to a bunch of stupid, horny, teenage wastrel students who were gleefully anticipating being excused from this course after its previous teacher choked to death on a sandwich. Naturally, lacking any human decency, they proceed to treat their unwelcome new teacher like dirt.

Incredible as it may seem, all three of the boys in his class are Jerk Jocks, and all five of the girls are stupid sexually attractive cheerleaders who spend a lot of time working on their cheers between classes so they can flash a lot of undergarments at the viewers and hit the showers (which just so happen to have an enormous air vent running right between them and the gym through which the guys can peep at them) a lot. Also, the school's young principal Mrs. Cello is an insatiable nymphomaniac seeking to make every male within reach (teachers and students alike) one of her conquests... with the possible exception of The Unintelligible school janitor Henry, a poor low-brain-powered gomer the students regularly harass and mistreat much the same as they do to Kevin.

As the students are eventually to learn the hard way, teasing and tormenting their shy and nerdy new physics teacher is a bad, bad idea; for at night, to help ease his pain and rectify his atrocious past, Kevin Dornwinkle has been busy correcting his mistakes, and has finally perfected his invisibility serum into a working formula. At first, he merely uses it to get a much closer look at those girls in the showers and sometimes cop a feel, but with his invisibility serum having the side effect of boosting all of his darker emotions, and everyone (including Mrs. Cello) mistreating him, it's only a matter of time before they finally push him too far.

This movie contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Men Are Perverts: All the men and boys at school, even including the janitor Henry (though he never does anything more than look).
  • All Women Are Lustful: Yes, Mrs. Cello and all the girls at school are just about as eager for sex as any of the boys are.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: It's not even clear that this movie has any heroes; just a Villain Protagonist who's distinctly less despicable than all his victims.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Chet plays this very straight with Mrs. Cello; she doesn't exactly have to twist his arm to get him to agree to some Sextra Credit. Dornwinkle, in contrast, doesn't prove to be such a pushover, even when she tries to blackmail him; and even though he could surely use his serum to force himself on any girl he wants, he only actually uses it to cop a feel here and there and humiliate them in retaliation for how they've treated him.
  • Anti-Villain / Jerkass Woobie: Yeah, killing people just for laughing at him or even for pranking or trying to blackmail him is still Disproportionate Retribution; but it's hard not to sympathize with Kevin whenever he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against his tormentors.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Kevin has invented an Invisibility serum. Don't ask how it works; it just does.
  • Artistic License Chemistry: If you know enough to understand what Kevin is saying in one scene, you know that Kevin is saying that with all those flasks and beakers of colored liquids set up on a table behind him, he somehow managed to shave a single hydrogen atom each off a whole bunch of hydrogen trisulfate molecules; which would be no mean feat even for a nuclear physicist with an atom smasher.
  • Artistic License Physics: For one thing, while physics and chemistry are related subjects, making up a serum is a practical application of biochemistry, not physics. Also, Kevin's talk about "de-creating" and "re-creating" and "molecular reorganization" during his presentation to the symposium is a bunch of Techno Babble that basically means nothing. Finally, even if a serum can turn someone who injects himself with it invisible, one has to ask how such a serum could go turning inanimate substances, such as his hair and nails and clothes, invisible along with the living parts that can actually absorb it.
  • Asshole Victim: Everybody, really; some more so than others, but none of Kevin's victims give us any reason to feel sorry for them.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: It's difficult to feel at all bad about this, however. It's not like the gene pool is going to miss the sexually predatory Mrs. Cello or any of Kevin's disgusting former students all that much.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Deconstructed. Vicky recommends that Bunny should sleep with Chet in order to get him to marry her, but after she takes this advice, he puts her off anyway.
  • Beta Couple: Betty and Bubba, whose friends are trying to get them together, and ultimately succeed; also, Gordon and Vicky; too bad they're all jerks.
  • Boom, Headshot! / Your Head A-Splode: The loser of the last fight dies from an extremely messy shotgun blast to the head that pulps it like a ripe melon.
  • Brainless Beauty: All the girls, though some are dumber than others.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Kevin's first entry in his audio-taped journal after his first day teaching is about how he's trying to put the past behind him, but the present's not looking much better.
  • Deadline News: Being a rather peripheral character, Tammy Edwards doesn't end up dead, but she does get humiliated on live TV in the scene right before the credits roll, in which an invisible Kevin Dornwinkle suddenly strips her topless while she's reporting the final events of the movie.
  • Death by Gluttony: Bubba's fate at Kevin's hands.
  • Destination Defenestration: Bye bye, Gordon.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kevin Dornwinkle's dad does not appear in this movie, and it doesn't even offer us any hints why he's not with them anymore; not that this is very difficult to speculate, considering what we see of Mrs. Dornwinkle.
  • Dumb Blonde: Vicky, though frankly, her lack of intellect doesn't distinguish her very much from any of her peers with other hair colors.
  • Easily-Overheard Conversation: Kevin's students aren't very careful to check whether their teacher might be in a position to overhear what they're saying about him even before he perfects his invisibility serum; and what they're saying isn't very nice.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Subverted with an Assumed Win the first time Kevin tries out his reformulated serum and it doesn't work; oddly combined with a Madness Mantra the next time when Kevin finally gets his new invisibility serum to work properly: "I've done it! I've done it! I've done it!"
  • Evil Matriarch: Mrs. Dornwinkle, even uglier on the inside than on the outside.
  • Failed a Spot Check: A verbal example. Miss Cello first tries to seduce, and then blackmail Kevin into having sex with her in her office, leading to this exchange:
    Kevin Dornwinkle: Ever since I was in grade school, I've wanted to do this to a principal.
    [Moves in to kiss her, sliding her blouse down off her shoulders...]
    [...and then stabs her to death with a letter opener. That is indeed what a lot of kids in grade school would like to do to their teachers and principals.]
  • Final Girl: Nope. The only way Bunny is "final" is that she's the last girl to be killed. No rare Spear Counterpart of this trope for Chet either, as he ends up being the last boy to be killed.
  • Finishing Stomp: The way Bunny comes to an untimely end under Kevin's shoes.
  • Foreshadowing: The first time we see Mrs. Cello (when she's introducing Kevin "Smith" to the students), she already has several buttons on her blouse open. She doesn't really have an Establishing Character Moment in this movie, but does she need one? The attentive viewer should be able to discern everything one needs to know about her character just from this.
  • G-Rated Drug: The invisibility serum, while no narcotic, is apparently somewhat addictive, and does increase pulse, respiration, libido, and the more violent emotions. The dreams Kevin has after taking it aren't so G-rated though...
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The shotgun-wielding Chet takes a bottle to the head from Kevin in the last fight.
  • High-Voltage Death: How Vicky dies in the showers, courtesy of a radio with a long cord still plugged into the wall being flung into the water at her feet.
  • Hollywood Law: For the record, being ruled "mentally incapable of standing trial" is not the same thing as being acquitted on grounds of insanity as Tammy Edwards and the movie's scriptwriter seem to think: it means you're simply not sane enough to stand trial yet. Whenever you "snap out of it" and are ruled mentally capable again, you then have to stand trial for your crimes. Kevin would have to have been frothing-at-the-mouth raving insane for almost six months to have remained in the insane asylum for so long as the movie's Time Skip super indicates.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Kevin indulges in this among other bad jokes while on his final Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Ironic Echo: Bubba was laughing along with all the other ne'er-do-well students at hearing their previous teacher had choked to death on a sandwich, and dies, rather fittingly... by choking to death when the invisible Kevin force-feeds him a huge submarine sandwich.
  • Karma Houdini: Mrs. Dornwinkle, of whom we see no more after the first Time Skip.
    • Also Kevin, who succeeds in his revenge, kills all of his tormentors and avoids the police. By the end of the film, he is still free with his invisibility and to do whatever he wants.
  • Kent Brockman News: After grimly announcing Dornwinkle has escaped the death penalty by being ruled incompetent to stand trial, Tammy Edwards immediately switches to reporting fluff:
    Tammy Edwards: And on a lighter note, Mayberry jackets are back.
  • Kick the Dog: With all the vicious adults and the even more vicious teenagers in this story, the punted puppies really go flying all over the place.
  • Laughing Mad: Kevin has an annoyingly high-pitched laugh which gets even more annoying whenever he suffers Sanity Slippage and starts killing people.
  • Lonely at the Top: Mrs. Cello's excuse for her philandering with Chet and Kevin (and one can only wonder how many others before Kevin arrived at her school).
  • Male Gaze: On his first day of teaching, Kevin gets quite an eyeful of Vicky's legs, as do we. The camera also focuses on where he and all the other guys are looking when the girls' skirts fly up every time they do their cheer.
  • Marshmallow Hell: After coming to an agreement with him, Mrs. Cello promptly stuffs Chet's head into her bared breasts... not that he's complaining.
  • Official Couple: Chet and Bunny, though Chet's not as committed to their relationship as Bunny is, and it's not a very romantic relationship since both of them are obnoxious jerks anyway.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Vicky serves as this to Gordon. Also, poor Henry freaks out when he discovers Mrs. Cello lying stabbed to death down behind her desk.
  • Police Are Useless: Two police show up near the end, completely misinterpret the crime scene, and evidently neither they nor their superiors ever investigate thoroughly enough to correct their mistakes, since their version of the movie's events is the one Tammy Edwards relates to her viewers after that.
  • Power Perversion Potential: There's more looking than touching, but Kevin does use his formula to sneak into April's home and partially strip her while she sleeps; also to pinch Betty's butt in the showers at one point.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Deconstructed, as Kevin never really buys into this as an excuse for mistreating the girls, despite his horrific upbringing. He confesses in one of his recordings that he was wrong to go messing with the girls in the showers while invisible, even with the serum boosting his libido.
  • Sex Signals Death: Everyone who has sex or even tries to have sex in this movie is doomed; everyone.
  • Sextra Credit: Despite his hang-ups, Kevin stoutly defies this when Vicky offers to do anything for an A; and this is further subverted when she later tells her friends that she was actually just teasing him. Mrs. Cello plays this quite straight with Chet, however, even pointing out to him that he needs better grades from her to graduate and get into a good college.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight: The final fight between Kevin and a shotgun-toting Chet turns into this for both combatants when they both manage to find a spare hypo of invisibility serum and end up having to fight an opponent they can't see.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: The girls know exactly where the boys (and Kevin, for that matter) are looking when they're bouncing around in their skimpy cheerleader outfits... and they don't mind at all.
  • Shoot the Television: Kevin's TV gets obliterated by a random shotgun blast during the last fight.
  • Shown Their Work: Unlike the Hollywood Science underlying Kevin's invisibility serum, the high school physics we see Kevin teaching to the students in his class is actual physics.
  • Spinning Paper: One announces Dornwinkle's escape from the insane asylum near the beginning.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Mrs. Cello manages to startle Kevin while he's gazing at the showering girls through the vent, and he makes up a lame excuse that he was just picking up some change he dropped. She obviously doesn't believe him but plays along anyway because she doesn't mind his voyeurism one bit.
  • Title Drop:
    Kevin Dornwinkle: Life Lesson #2: never threaten The Invisible Maniac.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Everybody who doesn't survive to the end; and some who do. (At least the poor janitor Henry has a good excuse.)
  • Totally Radical: Bubba, who's about Two Decades Behind everyone else on his slang, has a problem with this In-Universe.
  • Trash the Set: Kevin's apartment near the end, shown seemingly tearing itself apart as the last two combatants, both invisible, swing blindly at each other.
  • The Unintelligible: Henry can't speak in anything but groans and grunts, something that gets him in trouble when the remaining students briefly suspect him of murdering their peers and he can't explain himself to them.
  • Very Punchable Man: Deconstructed with Henry. One of the reasons Chet picks on him is because Bunny claims the way Henry watches the girls creeps them all out, so he goes chewing out Henry and pushing him around in order to impress her; yet Henry is by far the closest thing to an innocent character in this entire movie (and Chet goes spying on Bunny and all the other girls in the showers without their consent just as much as any of the other males in this movie do), so Chet's really doing nothing but Kicking The Dog here.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kevin Dornwinkle is technically the bad guy; he's also the main character, and this movie is all about him.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: "Boneville" is the location name given on the Spinning Paper near the beginning. We aren't offered any clues as to where that's supposed to be, however.