Memoirs of an Invisible Man
Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
Hey it’s the forgotten John Carpenter film from 1992, Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Seriously, his completely awful and not in any fun way Ghosts of Mars is more remembered than this one, but is it better? No, I’ll tell you right off the bat, it is not. But then why has this film been lost to the sands of time and others of his lesser titles live on? I mean, it has some real star power in the form of Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, and Sam Neill, and John Carpenter had made many out-and-out amazing films before this. How does that even happen? Well grab your hat, coat, bandages, and dark glasses and let’s find out.
Chevy is a corporate type who goes to a science lab on day for business. There is an accident and half the building turns invisible (a really cool visual accomplished, largely, by practical effects) as goes the sleeping Chevy. When he awakens he is shocked at his new transparency and that the CIA, led by a killer played to creepy perfect by Sam Neill, wants him for spy stuff, dead or alive. What follows is a fun bout of action comedy and an updating of the old Invisible Man film. There are some differences; in this Chevy Chase never turns psychotic, and the effects run from still impressive today, to “oh man, that was CGI back then if you weren’t called Jurassic Park?”
What sells the movie is John Carpenter’s effective direction. This was before he was a completely broken man and still gave a damn. The script base off of a H.F. Saint book moves at a rapid clip and does a good job of mixing the danger with the funny. But the best thing here is the action. Everyone does good work, even the secondary characters, and it’s always fun to play “spot the actor from a previous Carpenter flick” in his movies, but the three leads (Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill) deserve a special round of applause. That is especially true of Chase who has to carry large parts of this movie on his own and sell the physical side of what it would be like to be invisible.
Let’s get to those special features on this new Blu-ray from Scream Factory. There is a collection of vintage interviews with director Carpenter and stars Chevy Chase and Daryl Hannah that’s a whole five minutes long. There is a featurette on the very early days of digital FX that’s just four minutes long. There’s some behind-the-scenes footage that runs….yes you guess it, five minutes, a collection of outtakes that’s only three minutes, nine slightly different TV spots, and a theatrical trailer. Yeah, all in all that’s pretty light, but then it’s about what I would expect for such a forgotten film. Still, I always remembered it and I would like to have had more meat here.
Memoirs of an Invisible Man is a solidly good film. It’s not great but it’s far from bad. It is not a horror movie but if you want an action, comedy, sci-fi flick, or you’re just looking to complete your John Carpenter collection with one you might have missed, give this one a try. I recommend it highly and it the Blu-ray is available now.