FearTASTIC Vault O’FUN #48
Hollow Man (2000)
Director(s): Paul Verhoeven
Writer(s): Gary Scott Thompson (Story), Andrew Marlowe (story and screenplay)
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin
One great ploy horror movies often do is teaching the audience a lesson; like a really horrifying demon version of Aesop telling you a fable that makes you question if you ever had the desire to do anything since every great desire ends up with consequences. What makes these sorts of movies so effective is it usually focuses on something we’ve all thought about in a session of day dreaming. What if I was suddenly rich and famous? Oh a stalker can come and peel off my skin since he wants to know what it’s like to be me! What if the girl of my dreams instantly falls in love with me? Oh she ends up possessive and kills any other lady that bats an eye at my direction, fantastic! In a way perhaps it’s a tad depressing to think that all desires can have a dark side but then when you mix in the macabre entertainment, it becomes an entertaining lesson where Schadenfreude kicks in and we’re all entertained by the misery that was caused by what was once seen as good fortune.
Invisibility has always been in my top 5 desired superpowers (telepathy, telekinesis, flight and super speed being the others). Something about not being seen would be fantastic for any re-con mission or besting my enemies before they knew what hit them…or…I could rob a bank, wait what? That was the thing about desired superpowers, I’m pretty sure we had a moment where the devil on the shoulder takes over and suggests OTHER things that can be done with your newfound powers and perhaps that’s why no human was ever granted super powers (besides my power of seduction…wait, I’m talking about Netflix).
Case in point; Hollow Man was a fantastic iteration of an invisible man story that also explored the psychological consequences and man’s inherent darkness in receiving a supernatural ability. In all fairness, the flick centers around an already cocky and ambitious scientist played by Kevin Bacon so perhaps the darkness was already there but when a team of molecular scientists discover the key to invisibility, of course our morally questionable main scientist jumps at the opportunity. The experiment works but unfortunately, the process has trouble reversing the effects and that’s where the FUN begins. Of course, our invisible scientist begins to go mad and after a round of stalking, spying and killing, the band of scientists that helped him become invisible in the first place try to stop him. Always fun to see the people causing the problem putting their foot down two acts too late when it comes to the horrible decisions they’ve made in the first place.
The performance from Kevin Bacon in this flick is top notch (as per the usual with the BACON) as you can see how he transforms to an egocentric man with ambition that may cloud his judgment from time to time to a horrible monster that’s hell bent on killing others. It makes you question the idea of isolation and knowing what people around you are actually doing and saying if they think you’re not around. The visual effects on this flick may be dated from the year 2000 but the idea is still pretty remarkable. To turn invisible, according to this flick, your skin essentially turns inside out and each layer seems to disappear, exposing your muscles, then organs, nervous system then eventually you are left to just bones. Each layer seemed to be peeled at excruciating levels and it makes you think twice about grabbing that invisible serum.
Lesson learned? Invisibility blows. I understand that the guy was probably headed toward a dark path via white collar crime anyway but the notion of the isolation and the inadvertent change in perception on some folks that may have had secrets that you never wanted to know would be too much. I’m sure every super power in the books may have a horror lesson waiting to be learned (interesting show idea?) but for me, Hollow Man gave me another perspective on the consequences of not being seen so KUDOS for bringing that to light!
Now that I think about it, a horror anthology featuring the horrific consequences of well known superpowers would be a fantastic idea! Off to the FearTASTIC Writers Room (yeah, I have one of those in the Vault, cool right?)!!!