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DVD Review

DVD cover

Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)
(2018 Reissue)


Starring: Chevy Chase Daryl Hannah Sam Neill Michael McKean Stephen Tobolowsky
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99


Certificate: 12
Release Date: 01 October 2018

Nick Halloway (Chevy Chase) is a lazy business executive who burns the candle at both ends. Knowing he has an important presentation to attend at a nuclear research facility in the morning, Nick parties with friends, where he meets a beautiful blonde documentary producer (Daryl Hannah). During the presentation he sneaks off for some much-needed rest, wandering around a top secret area (like you do) and finding a quiet place. But there has been a curious nuclear accident and the building is evacuated. All but Nick. As others stare up at a building which has large chunks missing – or at least somehow invisible – they spot a hat moving around. Nick is invisible and suddenly of great military value. He is obliged to go on the run, pursued by the chief of security (Sam Neil). How can he approach his new love without freaking her out and alerting the attention of the man who wants to control him...?

This is a 1992 film based on a book by H. F. Saint. The man did a Norman Greenbaum disappearing act in real life. When he sold his one and only book, his agent secured him $2.5 million in film and book club rights. It’s thought that he moved his family to somewhere in Europe. The film is a showcase for the then revolutionary new special effects revealed by Industrial Light & Magic. Chevy Chase was obliged to wear a skin-tight blue bodysuit, and more time was spent digitally removing images than actually producing them. A sterling job was done – even to the point of removing Chase’s shadow in each scene. But a film is seldom just about the effects.

As a long-time fan, I couldn’t complete this review without mentioning that this is a John Carpenter film. It’s an often overlooked one, mainly because – unlike his brilliant low budget movies from the first half of his directing career – it is a mainstream, big budget affair, with well-known box office-attracting stars, which Carpenter only directed. As opposed to those that he wrote, directed and produced the soundtrack for. His more well-known offerings like Halloween, The Fog, They Live, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and Escape From New York made a statement, and are Carpenter through and through. This was more of a money-making enterprise. Look out for a short piece with Carpenter himself playing a helicopter pilot and speaking into the radio. The sequence is accredited at the end of the film to the pseudonym Rip Haight.

As for the film itself, the special effects seem quaint now but are still impressive. It’s an enjoyable light-hearted action romp, but not the kind of feature you would necessarily wish to watch repeatedly. The aforementioned films I’ve watched so many times I’ve lost count. This one hasn’t really been cleaned-up either, whereas the new prints on the others are quite stunning. That just leads me to believe Memoirs of an Invisible Man has simply been rereleased to coincide with the other better releases in order to cash in on them. One thing I can say though, is this is a family film that all ages can watch and enjoy together. Watch Sam Neil in the much better Carpenter film In the Mouth of Madness.

Extras include: How to Become Invisible – The Dawn of Digital Effects; Outtakes; Trailer & Gallery.


Ty Power

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