Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Year: 1992

Production: Warner Bros.

Director: John Carpenter

Starring: Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Sam Neill, Michael McKean, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jim Norton

Screenwriter: Robert Collector, Dana Olsen, William Goldman

Based on Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1987) by H.F. Saint

99 minutes; Color


Before video-taping his life story, an empty presence with Chase's voice one-ups previous screen invisible men by unwrapping a stick of bubble gum, chewing it thoroughly and blowing a bubble. After this, the film slips into a standard romantic comedy thriller vein, with Carpenter doing the facelessly efficient hired gun act last seen on Starman (1984). Chase, a feckless businessman, is caught napping by an industrial accident that turns him see-through, whereupon CIA psycho Neill tries to capture him for nefarious purposes. Fortunately, Chase hooks up with a glamorously unbelieveable anthropologist (Hannah), and they fall in love in between escapes, disguises, stunts and tricks.

With several of its best images - the slow unwrapping of a bandaged head to reveal nothing, villains pursuing a fleeing pair of trousers - lifted directly from The Invisible Man (1933), this hardly makes much use of H.F. Saint's ambitious source novel, content to let Chase trot out his usual smarmy schtick. There are effective effects: the partially-invisible building where the accident takes place, a disembodied make-up mask floating eyeless in the air, Chase accidentally wiping the make-up off his lips in a restaurant, Chase as a bubble-shape in the rain, Chase smoking a cigarette that outlines his lungs, Chase digesting and vomiting Chinese food. In a device that works surprisingly well, the audience often sees Chase though everyone in the film, including Chase himself, can't.

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