Plot: Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) has been accused of killing his own brother and sentenced to the gallows, but he is an innocent man and is desperate to clear his name before it is too late. While most seem to be believe he is guilty, he finds a friend in Frank Griffin, who visits him in prison. Of course, Griffin happens to be the brother of the man who invented a serum that turns people invisible, so soon after his visit, Radcliffe is gone and officials are baffled. As Radcliffe tries to find answers that lead to the real murderer, Griffin is hard at work on an antidote to the serum, as if one isn’t found in time, Radcliffe will be driven to madness.
Entertainment Value: While The Invisible Man Returns isn’t up to the standard of the original, this sequel is a fun watch that feels connected to the first film, but also has some fresh blood. Vincent Price in the lead was a great start, then having an innocent man use the serum to clear his name adds a new twist, while the race for an antidote ensures suspense is consistent. The movie keeps the premise simple and delivers a solid story, as well as some fun special effects. These effects are well executed as well, pushing the invisible elements a little more than the original, including a very cool scene where a rope is tied into a knot by our invisible friend. So for b movie thrills and fun special effects, this movie delivers in spades. At the same time, the movie does drag a little at times and that can dampen the good times. I never found the film to be dull, but some minor edits could have worked wonders here.
A role in which Vincent Price is an innocent man is a rare one, but here he gets a chance to be the hero and he is fun to watch. As he is invisible for much of the movie, his voice does most of the heavy lifting and his unique tone is great for the part, especially as he slips a little into madness. The scene where he takes the clothes from the scarecrow is a perfect example of that, as his voice radiates shakiness and nervousness, just as the character needs at that moment. Cedric Hardwicke also turns in good work, but Price steals the show here, without question. The cast also includes Nan Grey, Alan Napier, and John Sutton. This sequel had some big footsteps to follow in, but it rose to the challenge and delivers a solid b movie experience. A good connection to the original, but able to stand as its own movie as well.