Starring: Noel Peters, Savannah, Stephanie Blake
If there's anything The Invisible Man (1933) made it clear for me is that invisible killers are absurdly creepy; they can be anywhere, silently watching and biding their time while you go about your business. Studying you. Taunting you. Finding the right moment to strike and maybe cut your throat open with a piano wire. It's an unnerving concept and very few slasher movies like Hollow Man (2000) and its 2006 direct-to-video sequel tackled the advantage of fantastical but unnerving psychological horror of having invisible killers.
And then we have The Invisible Maniac (1990), hamming it up with its soggy, sordid tomfoolery and an alarming amount of cheddar.
Two decades later and we now see an adult Dornwinkle making it far enough in his studies to gather around a gaggle of the world's most renowned men and women of science, to have them observe what's basically an invisibility juice he'd been working on. Things didn't go well as planned, of course, as he fails to turn invisible upon taking the concoction, much to the humor of the scientists seeing this. Unable to bear it all, Dornwinkle snaps and went on to murder a handful from the taunting group before getting his ass hauled away to an insane institution.
With the stress of maintaining his temper in check and his sex drive repressed, Dornwinkle keeps himself busy off school work by continuing and perfecting his research on invisibility, which he soon succeeds to great effect. Feeling exploitative and itching to get revenge, he'll make all the nasty kids pay and he'll do it with a wise-crack or two!
The movie knows it's bad, fully aware of the ridiculous side of invisible killers even, and it's this kind of direction and tone that frankly help The Invisible Maniac (1990) be an enjoyable romp of outrageous sleaze and B-grade horror comedy that thankfully didn't completely overcook itself in its own cruddy jokes. Writing and acting are in par to what you would expect coming from a melting pot of horny teen comedies and shlocky slashers, complete with Dornwinkle going wisecrack at us with groan-inducing severity once he'd gone full psycho. Whatever tinge of horror left are implemented good enough to color a few chase sequences and classroom attacks interesting, only to be punctuated with whacky and mostly bloodless killings that are so nuts, they're somewhat memorable. (I'm sure throats don't bubble like a balloon when you shove a whole hoagie down into them. Unless, of course, I've been shoving hoagies down unsuspecting victims' throats the wrong way all this time...)
It's not going to be for everyone, but for some of us with a less judicious taste for horror comedies, The Invisible Maniac (1990) can be a whole lot of lewdly zany and off-the-wall cheesy fun. The appeal of it is undoubtedly aimed for to those who can easily throw out logic for some silly shlock so should you feel like giving it a chance, I say just relax, switch off, and enjoy the lousy goodness that is a blouse-ripping, wise-cracking invisible killer geek!
1 male strangled
1 female had her neck snapped
1 female beaten to death
1 male brained to death with a suitcase
1 female stabbed with a letter opener
1 male had a sandwich shoved down his throat, choked
1 female strangled with a hose
1 female drowned in a fish tank
1 female strangled to death
1 female electrocuted in a shower with a live radio
1 male falls off a building and lands on a car
1 female stomped
1 male had his head blown off with a shotgun