Ah, invisibility. It’s super hot right now, thanks to the release of Blumhouse and Universal’s reboot of The Invisible Man. The Elisabeth Moss-starring horror film flips the script, spinning a tale of domestic violence around the titular invisible man, and working in a lot of apt metaphors in the process. It’s a stunner of a movie, and we can’t stop thinking about it. We also can’t stop thinking about invisibility as a fictional concept and all of the possibilities than contains.
To celebrate this week’s release of The Invisible Man, we compiled this list of cinematic characters who are also invisible—be it occasionally or permanently.
ABC Video Enterprises
Bilbo Baggins – The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and sequel series The Lord of the Rings deals with a powerful, magical ring that makes its wearer invisible to the naked eye. Or rather, wearing the One Ring transports said wearer to the spirit—or wraith—realm. So, it’s not technically invisibility in the exact sense of the word, and putting it on can alert evil beings to your existence. But it can also come in handy–just ask Bilbo Baggins, who throughout The Hobbit uses the One Ring to escape imminent danger. Later, in The Lord of the Rings, his nephew Frodo also uses the ring to go unseen.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Harry Potter – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Another popular character with a knack for invisibility is Harry Potter. In the first novel and film in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone, if you’re not American), the boy wizard receives a very handy Christmas present from Professor Dumbledore. It’s a invisibility cloak, one that used to belong to his late father. Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione use the cloak through the rest of the series to get out of trouble. In the final chapter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn that the cloak is actually one of the eponymous hallows, and—when paired with the Elder Wand and the Resurrection Stone—makes its owner immortal.
Sony Pictures Releasing
Sebastian Caine – Hollow Man
When you think of the filmography of Paul Verhoeven, chances are Hollow Man isn’t the first title that comes to mind. That’s because this 2000 sci-fi thriller was largely panned—despite it being the director’s second biggest hit, after Basic Instinct. The movie follows a scientist named Sebastian Crane (Kevin Bacon), who volunteers to be the first human test subject for an invisibility serum. The serum works, but Crane’s fellow scientists are unable to reverse the effects, which drives him to insanity and violence. The film was loosely based on The Invisible Man, and the similarities are definitely apparent.
Invisible Boy – Mystery Men
If you’re of the MTV generation, then you probably remember Mystery Men, the 1999 superhero comedy film that boasted an impressive soundtrack (including Smash Mouth’s “All Star”) and an even more impressive cast. The movie starred Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, William H. Macy, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Reubens, and… we could keep going. It also featured Kel Mitchell—best known for his work on the Nickelodeon shows Kenan & Kel and All That—who played a character known as Invisible Boy, who can only achieve invisibility when no one is watching.
20th Century Fox
Millard Nullings – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Tim Burton’s built his career on a foundation of peculiarity, delivering original hits like Edward Scissorhands, Frankenweenie, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. When the new millennia rolled around, he started working his way through remakes and adaptations, including this live-action take on the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs. It tells the story of a boy named Jake (Asa Butterfield) who goes to Miss Peregrine’s and is tasked with protecting the peculiar children who live there. One of these children is Millard Nullings (Cameron King), a young boy who is completely invisible.
20th Century Fox
Sue Storm – Fantastic Four
Comics fans are well aware of Sue Storm, a member of the Fantastic Four and sister of Johnny Storm, who is known by her superhero name: Invisible Woman. She acquires this title after she and her teammates are exposed to a cosmic storm, each of them developing powers. She’s able to pend lightwaves, which can render both herself and other objects invisible. Movie audiences will remember Jessica Alba’s portrayal of the character in the 2005 film Fantastic Four and its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Kate Mara played Storm in the 2015 version of the film.
Harvey – Harvey
This 1950 classic film is based on a play by the same name by Mary Chase. It follows a middle-aged man named Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) who befriends a pooka—a mischievous creature from Celtic mythology—named Harvey. The invisible character presents himself as a giant bunny rabbit to Dowd, though others cannot see him and believe that the often-drunk and possibly mentally ill Dowd has made him up. The film deals with the possible existence of Harvey and what his existence—or non-existence—means for Dowd and the people around him.
Dr. Jack Griffin – The Invisible Man
The most famous invisible character is the Invisible Man himself, first brought to life onscreen in the 1933 Universal horror film of the same name. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man centers on a scientist named Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains), who stumbles on a potion that makes him invisible—with one of the side effects being insanity. The film was a major success at the time and spawned the notable sequel, The Invisible Man Returns, released in 1940.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures