Griffin (The Invisible Man)
From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia
|The Invisible Man character|
|First appearance||The Invisible Man|
|Created by||H. G. Wells|
|Portrayed by||Claude Rains|
|Alias||The Invisible Man|
|Significant other||Flora Cranley (fiancée)|
|Relatives||Frank Griffin (brother)|
Frank Raymond (grandson)
Griffin, also known as the Invisible Man, is a fictional character who first appeared as the protagonist of H. G. Wells' 1897 science fiction novel The Invisible Man. In the original work, Griffin is a scientist whose research in optics and experiments into changing the human body's refractive index to that of air results in him becoming invisible. After becoming invisible, he wraps his head in bandages and dons a pair of goggles or glasses in order to enable others to see him. Unable to reverse the invisibility process, he descends into insanity and becomes a criminal.
The character and variations thereof has been featured in various media, including films, television series and merchandise. The most famous non-literary incarnation of Griffin is portrayed by Claude Rains in the 1933 film The Invisible Man, distributed by Universal Pictures. The film spawned a number of sequels that feature different invisible characters. Griffin and the 1933 film have become iconic in popular culture, particularly in regards to horror fiction. A new film, loosely inspired by the original novella and the original film, again titled The Invisible Man, was released in 2020.
Griffin is a brilliant research scientist who discovers a formula for making a human being invisible. The formula entails taking opium and another drug, which makes his blood boil, then processing his body in a radiator engine. He succeeds, but he finds himself unable to reverse the process. Unlike the character in the 1933 film, the Griffin of the novel is possibly a psychopath or sociopath even before he makes himself invisible.
In the novel
Griffin is a gifted old medical student with albinism who studies optical density. He believes he is on the verge of a great scientific discovery, but feels uncomfortable working under his professor named Hobbema (whom he calls a "thief of ideas"). To ensure that he gets sole credit for the discovery, he leaves the university and moves to a dingy apartment to continue his experiments alone.
To finance his experiments, Griffin robs his own father, which drives the father to commit suicide (because the money had not even been his own). Working as a recluse in his flat, Griffin invents a formula to bend light and decrease the refractive index of physical objects, making them invisible. He intends from the start to perform the process on the neighbours' cat and then on himself, but is forced to rush his experiments due to persistent intrusion from his landlord, who is suspicious of his activities and considers him to be a vivisectionist. He processes himself to hide from his landlord and sets fire to the building to cover his tracks. He winds up alone, wandering invisible and naked through the streets of London, struggling to survive out in the open, unseen by those around him.
To make himself visible again, Griffin steals some clothes from a dingy backstreet theatre shop, including a trench-coat and hat. He wraps his head in bandages to conceal his invisibility, covering his eyes with large dark goggles. He takes up residence in the "Coach and Horses" Inn in the village of Iping so he can reverse his experiment in a quiet environment. Complications arise with locals unnerved by his appearance, particularly Teddy Henfrey, a clock-jobber who considers him to be a criminal evading persecution, and Mr. Cuss, who first encounters his invisibility. As a result, his progress slows and he has insufficient money to satisfy the innkeeper Mrs. Hall. To pay the bill, Griffin burgles the home of Reverend Bunting. The police pursue him and in a fit of frustrated anger, he reveals his invisibility by throwing off his clothes and escaping.
Now driven insane by his inability to reverse the experiment, Griffin seeks assistance from a tramp named Thomas Marvel. He has Marvel carry money for him, but Marvel runs away with the money. Griffin pursues him to the town of Port Burdock where he runs into his old schoolmate Dr. Kemp. Still bitter and angry towards the rest of humanity, Griffin attempts to convince Kemp to be his visible partner and help him begin a "reign of terror". Kemp, rather than assisting the crazed Invisible Man, alerts Colonel Adye of the Port Burdock police. Furious, Griffin vows to kill Kemp, but is forced to flee.
Kemp rallies the people of Port Burdock, who find and overcome Griffin when he attempts a one-man siege on Kemp's house. Griffin is surrounded and savagely beaten by navvies. His last words are "Mercy! Mercy!", prompting Kemp to call off the mob and administer first aid, though it is too late. Griffin dies, becoming visible again, revealing a brutally battered corpse.
Universal Classic Monsters
Jack Griffin works for Dr. Cranley, assisting him in food preservation experiments alongside his friend Dr. Arthur Kemp. Griffin is deeply in love with Cranley's daughter, Flora, and the two plan to marry, but Griffin is poor and thus afraid he has nothing to offer her. He begins experimenting with an obscure and dangerous drug called monocane, hoping his work will make him rich and famous—and a worthwhile husband for Flora. Griffin discovers a combination of monocane and other chemicals that makes a person invisible. Too excited by his discovery to think clearly, Griffin leaves Kemp and the Cranleys to complete the experiment in solitude. He injects himself with the formula over the course of a month and becomes invisible. Only after he is invisible does he realize that he does not know how to reverse the process. Panicking, Griffin goes to the village of Iping and rents a room in the Lion's Head Inn, where he begins searching for a formula to reverse the invisibility. He makes himself appear visible by wrapping his head in bandages and wearing dark goggles. Curious locals, the maddening side effects of monocane, and frustration from multiple failed tests drive Griffin insane. After he assaults Jenny Hall and severely injures her husband Herbert, Griffin is confronted by the police, but sheds his clothing to be invisible and eludes them. He seeks help from Kemp, but the monocane has so affected his mind that he succumbs to megalomania and plans world domination with "invisible armies". He wants to make Kemp his visible partner and assistant. Not even a visit from Flora and her father helps ease Griffin's increasing insanity. He vows to kill Kemp after his old friend alerts Inspector Lane to his whereabouts and despite intensive police protection surrounding Kemp, Griffin eventually makes good on his threats. After killing Kemp by tying him up in his car and sending it over a cliff, he seeks refuge from the cold in a farmer's barn. The farmer summons police, who set fire to the barn. As Griffin flees the burning barn, the Chief of Detectives, who can see his footprints in the snow, shoot at him, the shot passing through both of his lungs. Griffin dies from the gunshot wounds in the hospital. During this, the effects of the monocane begin to wear off and Griffin returns to sanity apologizing for his crimes by saying "I meddled in things that man must leave alone". The invisibility also wears off in death and Griffin's body becomes visible again.
The film portrays Griffin more sympathetically than the novel. The novel's Griffin is callous and cruel from the beginning and only pursues the experiment for wealth and his ego. The movie shows Griffin as an honorable man who is misguided. His insanity is purely a side-effect of the invisibility drug and his motivation for the experiment was a misguided desire to do good for science and mankind, born primarily out of his love for his fiancée.
Other Universal incarnations
- The Invisible Man Returns (1940): Vincent Price stars as Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe / Invisible Man. Radcliffe tries to clear himself of a murder charge and receives the serum from Jack Griffin's brother Frank and later escapes from his execution to his friend and worker Ben Jenkins's house and lives there for a while, reuniting with his lost love Helen Manson as well. However, cops arrive at the place causing Geoffrey to escape and later meet Frank again at his coal mining factory where he overhears former night watchman-now-superintendent Willie Spears threaten to shut Frank's laboratory down. Geoffrey realises that Spears helped in killing his brother and goes and starts interrogating him by turning off his car engine and beating him to the point where Willie finally tells him who did the murder before falling unconscious. Geoffrey then realises that his cousin Richard Cobb was the killer and later goes to his house and threatens him in front of Helen, Richard calls the cops however and they try to catch Radcliffe however he manages to quickly escape and then goes back to Helen and Frank and soon starts to go mad, causing Frank to lock him up before the police arrive, in the commotion, Geoffrey escapes from Frank as well and the next morning, threatens to kill Cobb with a revolver and walks him to Willie Spears's house, it is also revealed that Geoffrey hanged Spears but the latter is still alive to tell Geoffrey that Cobb murdered Michael. Richard kills Willie and escapes from Radcliffe who chases him to the coal mining factory, where Helen and Frank are also at, the 2 formers fight on top of a coal train track on a wagon with Geoffrey defeating Cobb before getting shot by Police Inspector Sampson from down below whilst the wagon crashes downwards, Radcliffe is injured and taken to the hospital whilst Richard finally tells to Frank, Helen and Sampson that he killed Geoffrey's brother before dying. Geoffrey is expected to die but one of the workers donates his blood to Frank who uses it to revive, heal and revert Radcliffe back to human form, ending with Geoffrey being alive and probably marrying and living happily ever after with Helen as Frank smilingly watches on.
- The Invisible Woman (1940): Virginia Bruce stars as Kitty Carroll / Invisible Woman. A comedic installment in the franchise, Carroll, a fashion model, becomes invisible after being subject to experimentation by Professor Gibbs using his new invisibility machine on her, it is also revealed that alcohol makes her invisible. Kitty first uses her invisibility to get revenge on her sadistic and mean boss Growley before returning to Gibbs's lab and later going with him to a cottage in the woods to meet Richard Russell, Gibbs's sort-of-landlord who pays for his lab and wants to kick him out along with his long-suffering butler George. Richard finally witnesses invisible Kitty and the 2 form an attraction to each other, Kitty becomes visible again but Richard is knocked out and Kitty and Gibbs are kidnapped by gangster Blackie Cole and his henchmen. Cole wants to become invisible like Carroll and plans to use it to immigrate to U.S. from the Mexican border, he threatens Gibbs to replicate his invisibility machine and tests it onto 1 of his henchmen, however when it doesn't work, he kicks the man out and threatens to kill Gibbs and Kitty. Meanwhile, the former henchman goes to Richard and George and informs them where Kitty and the professor are, the 3 arrive there just in time for Kitty to drink alcohol, turn invisible and beat up the gangsters along with Richard, using a machine gun along the way, she finally gets Blackie in the end as she electrocutes his whole body, injuring and probably killing him as well. A year or so later, Kitty, now visible again, is married to Richard and looks at her and his newborn baby along with Gibbs and George, the baby however turns invisible causing everybody to panic hilariously and Gibbs to laugh. There is no direct link to the previous films or Wells's novel in this movie.
- Invisible Agent (1942): Jon Hall stars as Frank Griffin Jr. / Frank Raymond / Invisible Man. Raymond is the grandson of original Invisible Man, but heroically uses the formula on himself to help the Allies during WWII after the Pearl Harbor Attack and after a bunch of Axis Powers spies lead by Conrad Stauffer and Baron Ikito attack the antiques shop he works at. Frank goes to Nazi Germany by becoming invisible, meets Allied Russian Agent Maria Sorenson and from there, gets the files needed for the Allies, gets kidnapped by the Japanese however the Nazis arrive and fight with the Japanese, Frank escapes with Sorenson meanwhile as Ikito kills Stauffer and then himself. Frank and Maria then escape, bombing Nazi planes along the way, Nazi Officer Karl Heiser tries to kill them but is gunned down by Nazi soldiers for escaping the jail he was put in. Frank and Maria then crash but are rescued by Allied soldiers and the next morning, Frank wakes up in the hospital and is revealed to be visible again to Maria's shock and happiness even though she wants to know how and when.
- The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944): Jon Hall stars as Robert Griffin / Invisible Man. Griffin is a madman who seeks revenge on those who have wronged him, and becomes invisible upon experimentation by Eccentric Scientist Dr. Peter Drury and uses it to get revenge on his former friends and business partners turned enemies, Sir Jasper and Lady Irene Herrick, badly scaring Irene and convincing Jasper to let him marry his and Irene's daughter, Julie Herrick. However, Griffin realises that Julie is to be married to reporter Mark Foster and when he starts to not lose his invisibility, goes back to Drury's house and forces the doctor to transfer his blood to him, causing Drury to die. Griffin, now human again, then lights the house on fire as Mark arrives and tries to kill the latter because then he can marry Julie, Mark survives however and Dr. Drury's pet dog Brutus escapes the house and starts to follow Robert to get revenge on him for killing his master. Robert then arrives at the Herrick household where he runs into his old friend and coal mine worker Herbert Higgins, now a blackmailer, Robert tells Herbert to distract the people in the house and Brutus whilst he slowly starts turning invisible again. Mark investigates and invisible Robert knocks him out and tries to transfer his blood to him. Meanwhile outside, Higgins tries his best to distract Sir Basil, Jasper's friend, a police officer and Brutus however fails, causing them and Herbert to go into the basement and witness Robert almost kill Foster. Griffin tries to attack them however is pinned down and mauled to death by Brutus whilst the cop and Basil rescue Mark, ending with Mark and Julie reuniting, Basil explaing Griffin's case, Brutus staying at the Herrick House and Higgins realising the errors of his blackmailing ways.
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948): Vincent Price reprises his role in a cameo appearance at the end of the film where he is revealed to also be an exhibit for Mr. McDougal's House of Horrors and where he sits on a boat secretly next to Chick (Abbott) and Wilbur (Costello) and later frightens them by making his presence be welcome, causing the 2 to jump of the boat and swim their way to the nearest shore.
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951): Arthur Franz stars as Tommy Nelson / Invisible Man. Nelson, a middleweight boxer, is framed for the murder of his manager. As he tries to clear himself of the crime, he gets the invisibility serum from a former colleague of Jack Griffin's, he then teams up with detectives Bud and Lou, shenanigans ensue and it all wraps up with Nelson killing the real murderers and at the end, being cured of invisibility by Lou donating his blood to him. Claude Rains appears in a still-photograph, reprising his role as John "Jack" Griffin.
Johnny Depp was to portray the Invisible Man as part of Universal's Dark Universe, a shared cinematic universe based on the classic Universal Monsters. It was uncertain if the character would be Dr. Griffin or a very different character. But on November 8, 2017, producers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan moved on to other projects, leaving the future of the Dark Universe in doubt.
In January 2019, Universal announced that the plan moving forward was to focus on filmmaker-driven films, and less of an interconnection in the Dark Universe. Ultimately, Elisabeth Moss was given a starring role in the film as Cecilia Kass, while Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Michael Dorman were respectively cast as Adrian and Tom Griffin. The Invisible Man re-entered development, written and directed by Leigh Whannell and produced by Jason Blum. Johnny Depp still had option to star in the lead role, though all parties ultimately passed. The Invisible Man was released on February 28, 2020, receiving positive reviews. In this version, Adrian Griffin is a wealthy scientist and pioneer in the field of optics who fakes his death and becomes invisible to torment his ex-girlfriend Cecilia, whom he constantly abused. Unlike the novel and 1933 film, the invisibility is achieved through a suit fixed with hundreds of micro-cameras instead of an invisibility formula. When Adrian's brother Tom was found in the invisibility suit, Adrian used him as a scapegoat, claiming to Cecilia that Tom was holding him prisoner. In an attempt to get Adrian to confess, she meets him at his house to discuss her pregnancy while James listens in on a wire. Adrian insists that he had actually been kidnapped, claiming that his experience has changed his outlook on life and their relationship. Cecilia departs to use the restroom. Moments later, the room's security camera captures Adrian seemingly committing suicide by slicing his throat. Cecilia emerges from the bathroom and "frantically" calls the police. Off-camera, she taunts him to reveal that she had retrieved the earlier-hidden second invisibility suit to kill Adrian, and a horrified Adrian then dies, realizing that Cecilia has won and he has ultimately lost. When Detective James Lanier arrives and asks what happened, she confirms what the camera saw. He spots the invisibility suit in her bag, but accepts her story and allows her to leave.
Appearances in other works
Mad Monster Party? and Mad Mad Mad Monsters
The Invisible Man appears in Mad Monster Party? voiced by Allen Swift, performing an impression of Claude Rains. This depiction of the Invisible Man is shown to wear a fez, dark glasses, and a purple dressing gown. He is among the monsters invited by Baron Boris von Frankenstein to attend his meeting at his castle on the Isle of Evil in the Caribbean Sea. A pie thrown into his face reveals that he has an enormous nose and is extremely ugly.
The Invisible Man appears in Mad Mad Mad Monsters (a "prequel of sorts" to Mad Monster Party?) voiced again by Allen Swift. This version goes by the name of Claude. He, his invisible wife Nagatha, their invisible son Ghoul, and his invisible dog Goblin are invited by Baron Henry von Frankenstein to attend the wedding of Frankenstein's Monster and the Monster's Bride at the Transylvania-Astoria Hotel on the midnight of Friday the 13th.
Hotel Transylvania series
In Genndy Tartakovsky's 2012 Sony Pictures Animation film Hotel Transylvania, Griffin the Invisible Man (voiced by David Spade) is one of the supporting character monsters who checks into Hotel Transylvania, and is among Count Dracula's (Adam Sandler) circle of friends. This version is completely invisible and his glasses are the only thing that can be seen in the movie. He is more outwardly, heroic and laid-back than his previous incarnations, which portray him as an aggressive, power-hungry psychopath. In one scene, Dracula makes a disparaging remark about people with red curly hair and Griffin takes offense to this saying that he has red curly hair, which is shown in Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania. In the said fourth movie reveal he has been overweighted and balding for years after becoming an invisible mutate.
David Spade reprised his role as Griffin, the Invisible Man, in the 2015 sequel Hotel Transylvania 2. He unsuccessfully tries to make his friends think he has an invisible girlfriend (and finds one in the end).
Spade reprised the role again in the 2018 film Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.
Spade reprised his role again in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. When he drinks a punchbowl affected by the Monsterfication Ray, he seemed happy at first of becoming visible and seeing his red hair again, however his joy was short-lived when he is revealed to be balding and overweight, including becoming scared when his friends start panicking at the sight of his naked body.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
In Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's comic book series, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hawley Griffin is depicted as a member of the Victorian-era team of agents for which the series is named. Griffin is given the first name "Hawley" in the title (as a reference to Hawley Crippen), and it is explained that the Invisible Man killed at the end of the book was actually a half-wit albino that Griffin made invisible as a guinea pig, allowing him to escape to Rosa Coote's boarding school, where he rapes at least three women while posing as the Holy Spirit until he is captured by the rest of the League. He is portrayed as a power-hungry psychopath and murderer, as in the novel – at one point, killing a random policeman solely for his uniform and nearly abandoning the rest of the team on Professor Moriarty's cavorite-powered airship. In the second volume, he assaults Mina Murray and betrays his teammates to the Martians, stealing military plans for them so he could rule the Earth with them, and telling them to disable Nemo's submarine by doing something to the water in the Thames, which is why the Red Weed is used. Moore commented that it seemed fitting for Griffin to join the Martians as both hailed from novels by H. G. Wells. He is eventually raped and killed by Mister Hyde, who was able to see him all along as his vision operates in the infrared spectrum, a fact that he had hidden from Griffin.
In Jeff Lemire's The Nobody, a graphic novel retelling of the Wells story, the Invisible Man is named John Griffen. The character goes through a similar episode as the Invisible Man's Griffin does. Both men hide out in an inn in a small town, only to be driven out because of fear and curiosity.
Film and television
The Invisible Man (2000 TV series)
The Syfy television series The Invisible Man features thief/con man character Darien Fawkes (played by Vincent Ventresca) whose scientist brother worked on the development of a gland that made the subject invisibility by secreting a chemical known as 'quicksilver' throughout the body, the quicksilver bending light to render the subject invisible. Darien's nemesis was Arnaud DeFehrn (played by Joel Bissonnette), although he went by the Swiss-French name Arnaud De Thiel as a cover while working on the gland to sabotage it, DeFehrn's actions giving the gland a 'defect' where a low level of quicksilver seeping into the subject's brain will eventually drive the gland's owner insane without regular access to a specific drug to counter these effects. DeFehrn developed his own version of the gland, but became permanently invisible when it was imperfectly implanted. In attempting to retrieve the gland, he later uses the pseudonym Hawley Griffin (a reference to the League of Extraordinary Gentleman and the original Invisible Man), pretending to be a CIA agent from the South. The series concluded with DeFehrn's gland removed and Darien cured of the risk of quicksilver madness.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
In the 2003 film adaptation of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series, the Invisible Man who joins the League is not Griffin (due to copyright issues), but Rodney Skinner (played by Tony Curran), a cheerful thief who stole the invisibility formula from the original Invisible Man who was mentioned to be dead. The fact that his skin is invisible is also related to his name of "Skinner". Skin samples of him are taken by Dorian Gray for Professor Moriarty, allowing him to duplicate the invisibility process. Skinner infiltrates Moriarty's base to work out how best to destroy it. During the raid on Moriarty's lair, Moriarty's own unnamed invisible man is shot by Allan Quatermain while threatening Tom Sawyer. At the film's conclusion, the plans are lost through a hole in the ice when Moriarty is shot and Skinner decides to remain with the League, now composed of Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Henry Jekyll, and Tom Sawyer.
Hollow Man series
In Claudio Fäh's 2006 Destination Films film Hollow Man 2, Michael Griffin (played by Christian Slater) is a soldier upon whom the formula developed by Sebastian Caine five years earlier is applied by the Reisner Institute, as a part of a covertly Department of Defense-funded operation to create the perfect assassin for black ops missions, codenamed "Silent Knight". The film is a stand-alone sequel to the 2000 Columbia Pictures sci-fi horror thriller film Hollow Man, directed by Paul Verhoeven.
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