"He kind of plays it fast and loose."
Call it a guilty pleasure, but there's something about this time of year that puts me in the mood to watch a boatload of Chevy Chase films. Of course there's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but more than that I'm talking about Chase's classic fare like Caddyshack, Fletch, Nothing But Trouble, and (yep, you guessed it) Memoirs of an Invisible Man!
As one of the less fondly remembered Universal Monster, the Invisible Man has always had it kind of rough in terms making a lasting impression upon the horror world. Despite being the butt of many a joke, the Invisible Man does manage to work his way back into the Hollywood every so often (Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Hollow Man, several TV series) and in 1992 it just so happened that he fell in the lap of Chevy Chase by way of of John Carpenter. Yes, my friends, that same "master of horror" who brought us Halloween and They Live directed a comedy starring Chevy Chase as an Invisible Man. Can't get better than that, right?
Depends on how you look at it. As a comedy Memoirs of an Invisible Man isn't particularly funny, or rather there's nothing that stands out as being "laugh out loud" funny. What the film does do a great job at is presenting a (semi)realistic depiction of what it might actually be like to become invisible. While Chase never truly reaches the height of characterization playing Nick Halloway as he did with Fletch or as Clark Griswold in the National Lampoon franchise he is still immensely likable in the role. It also doesn't hurt that his leading lady is the smoking hot Daryl Hannah.
The special effects are also pretty impressive given that the film came out a year or so before Jurassic Park put CGI on the map. The scenes with Chase half in make-up and half without are almost just as creepy as Claude Rains original getup, especially in the restaurant where his false face is smeared, exposing his abnormally white teeth like some plastic surgeon's worst nightmare. Another standout sequence is when Chase lights up a smoke and you can see his lungs as they fill with smoke. It's like watching a high school anatomy video, only it's intentionally meant to make you laugh.
If you haven't ever seen this film, or even if it's just been awhile since you last saw it, do yourself a favor and rent, borrow or buy it. It's sure to make a mighty fine addition to your horror-comedy-that's-not-really-horror collection alongside The Burbs, Transylvania 6-5000 and Nothing But Trouble. Guaranteed.