The Invisible Man Returns gave Vincent Price his horror debut without even showing his face. Price doesn’t always need to be seen to make an impression. After Son of Frankenstein proved a successful comeback, Universal continued to make monster movies in the 1940’s. Although The Invisible Man ended with the death of Jack Griffin, anyone can take the serum and disappear. The Invisible Man Returns is now a murder mystery that follows the wrongly convicted Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe. There is a Dr. Frank Griffin played by John Sutton, but he only gives Radcliffe the invisibility serum.
Most of Griffin’s time is spent finding an antidote that he tests on invisible guinea pigs. Meanwhile, Radcliffe attempts to clear his name by finding his brother’s actual killer. Radcliffe mimics Jack Griffin by wearing goggles and bandages for his concerned lover Helen, played by Nana Grey in a less revealing performance. Cedric Hardwicke is given top billing despite only playing the true culprit Richard Cobb. Radcliffe wants to avoid going insane, but Price eventually gets to show off his trademark evil laugh.
Radcliffe only torments those who deserve it. The police hunt him like the original, but they use their past experience in order to find him better. The Invisible Man Returns is one of the better Universal sequels since the special effects hold up just as well. Using the same black velvet technique, Radcliffe moves more objects, wears more clothing, and his silhouette can even be seen in smoke or rain. Since Radcliffe isn’t really a monster, he’s given a happier ending. The Invisible Man Returns is a good continuation that proves the formula can work on anyone.