Arrow Films Lets You See The Invisible Man on Blu-ray

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Invisible Man Appears / vs. The Human Fly

Arrow Films brings to Blu-ray Japan's adaptation of H.G. Wells' classic story, The Invisible Man in this wonderful double feature set that proves science is neither good nor evil, but can can be used for either purpose.

The first film in the set is The Invisible Man Appears. Shot exactly like the Universal Monsters movies of the 40's and 50's, it uses everything that those were known for -- a crime drama noir with suspense and a small dash of horror. Shot in 1949, The Invisible Man Appears was one of Eiji Tsuburaya's earliest special effects projects. Tsuburaya would become renowned for his work on Godzilla five years later.

The story revolves around an elderly professor and his two younger lab assistants who are trying to perfect an invisibility serum. The professor offers his daughter's hand in marraige to whichever assisant is able to perfect his lifes work. Motivated by the offer, the two work feverishly to be the one who marries her, not knowing the professsor has already created the serum successfully, but with dire side effects that give the subject violent tendencies only days after taking it.

Upon hearing of the professor's plans, a group of thugs kidnaps the professor with the intention of using the serum on him and forcing him to carry out jewelry heists. But the question becomes, is it the professor who is doing these dastardly acts, or could it be someone else?

The second film in the set is The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly. Shot in 1957, it was the studio's second film based on Wells' creation, Toho had also made an invisible man film after seeing the success of this studio's first adaptation, and this was their answer to curb Toho by trying to out-do them, making an invisible man film with such an outragueous title.

The film begins with a murder inside an airplane restroom, where no one but the victim was seen entering or leaving. Soof after, another young woman is stabbed in broad daylight, where no one could be seen around her, and where a strange buzzing sound could be heard. A third man is murdered, also invisibly, in front of a young policeman. With the body count stacking up, it is up to two police detectives to figure out if this could this be the handiwork of an invisible man -- or something more sinister? The detectives get to work questioning different scientists who are working on invisibility rays, and stumble upon another who is working on his own project: a shrinking ray! Could this be the one that is doing the murders -- a human the size of a fly who can reform to full size at will?

With the disc having two full length features, Arrow Video still managed to fill every amount of disc space they could with as many special features as possible.

-High Definition (1080p) transfers of both films on one Blu-ray disc
-Original lossless Japanese mono audio on both films
-Optional English subtitles for both films
-Transparent Terrors, a newly filmed interview with critic and genre scholar Kim Newman on the history of the "Invisible Man" in cinema
-Theatrical trailer for The Invisible Man Appears
-Image galleries for both films
-Reversible sleeve featuring new and original artwork by Graham Humphreys
- (FIRST PRESSING ONLY) Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing by Keith Allison, Hayley Scanlon and Tom Vincent

Arrow did the best job they could to restore these films to be shown for the first time to American audiences on Blu-ray, but the film negatives still had certain bumps and pops that couldnt be corrected, so the two films have in no way a perfect transfer.

The Invisible Man Appears is the clear winner of the two features for story and plotline, while the second feature, The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly, makes up for it with its tremendous use of the special effects available at the time.

Overall I very much enjoyed the take the Jananese had on adapting the Universal Monsters theme of The Invisible Man series to their audiences, incorporating the film noir style  of detective dramas that were so popular during that time period, and mixing it with the blossoming science fiction films that were starting to overshadow the films of the day.

3.5 / 5.0