The Halloween season is here and in the run up to the big day I decided to examine what is considered “scary” in the world of horror movies.
Going with Rotten Tomatoes list of the 31 scariest movies, I decided to compare each film with another horror film from the same year to determine which one I found scarier.
We have two more classics on the list today. One is another from the Universal pantheon of monsters and the other portrays a loose affiliation through its title. The year is 1933. So let’s see if The Invisible Man is scarier than The Vampire Bat.
The Invisible Man
While researching a new drug, Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) stumbles on a potion that can make him invisible. When he reveals his new ability to his old mentor (Henry Travers) and his fiancée (Gloria Stuart), it’s clear that a side effect of the potion is insanity. Jack goes on a violent rampage, and the police struggle to hunt him down, unable to see their target, while his mentor and his former partner (William Harrigan) desperately try to devise a plan to capture him.
The original big screen iteration of the HG Wells classic forgoes a lot of the story cliches of the time and tries to do something different with its story and characters.
The cast is fantastic. Claude Rains is brilliant and gloriously unhinged as the film progresses.
Whale does some great things with the effects in the film. The invisibility effects were revolutionary for the time.
You can understand and empathize with the terror the characters are going through as they have no idea where the Invisible Man is at any time.
Whale does a great job of building tension throughout the film.
I don’t know if the director was going for comedy, but there are way too many moments that veer into the comedic.
There are some great, tension filled moments, but nothing particularly scary.
The Vampire Bat
When corpses drained of blood begin to show up in a European village, town elders suspect a vampire on the loose. Policeman Karl Brettschneider (Melvyn Douglas) doubts the existence of vampires, but Dr. Otto von Niemann (Lionel Atwill) argues to the contrary. Fingers point at the village idiot, Herman Gleib (Dwight Frye), but after local vigilantes get him out of the picture, the killings continue. Brettschneider then tries to keep a cool head as he searches for possibly supernatural answers.
Frank R Strayer attempts to take the tropes of a vampire film and create something new by adding a whodunit element.
The story is really interesting.
Playing on the paranoia of the people of the town adds an additional level of depth to the story.
Movie takes place in Germany. Everyone has German names. Not one German accent.
Everything happens way too fast and the director does not trust the audience to pick up the plot.
Everything is overly explained.
The fact that the sleeping pill bottle has “Poison” written on it is laughable.
Wooden acting and lack of characterization affects the ability to care about the characters and the story.
The final reveal is disappointing across the board.
Neither one of these films is particularly scary, but at least one them has moments that could potentially be terrifying. I’m going to have to agree with Rotten Tomatoes on this one and declare the winner of this competition…..
The Invisible Man
Have you watched these classic horror films? If so, which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.