Welcome back to FRIGHT FIGHT FRIDAY folks! This is round # 2 of our Classic Bracket! For a rundown and explanation of the rules, click here! To catch up on past fights, click here and type in FRIGHT FIGHT FRIDAY!
This week I have a fun matchup for you! Two men of science, both of whom concocted crazy potions that alter their lives’ significantly and in vastly different ways! What would happen if Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde got into a fight with The Invisible Man? We’re going to find out!
DR JEKYLL/MR HYDE
Based off the 1886 novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde”, Universal’s film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was released in 1931. It received wide critical acclaim with Frederic March receiving his first Academy Award for his portrayal of Dr. Jekyll. There was also a silent film released in 1920, starring John Barrymore. (Fun fact, John Barrymore was asked to reprise his role from the 1920 film but was already under contract, so the part went to Frederic March!) The first film version though was in 1912, starring James Cruze! That’s over a hundred years ago!
The most common misconception about the original story is that Dr. Jekyll makes a potion that brings out a separate monster-like being, Mr. Hyde, and that he is not in control when this happens. This isn’t the case. Mr. Hyde is not “the Hulk”. Let me explain…
Dr. Henry Jekyll creates a potion that allows him to experience his repressed desires in the form of another body. Think of it as a disguise, if you will. This potion alters his body and changes him into the short, ape-like man he calls “Mr. Hyde.” It brings out his most primal and animalistic desires and allows him to have no inhibitions. Not as a wealthy Dr. and man of status, but as a lowly commoner.
Here’s the thing though, he is in control the entire time. He remembers everything he does as Mr. Hyde. This isn’t an entirely separate personality created by the potion and the potion was no mistake. It did exactly what he created it to do. It brought out his bad side. His repressed desires. Not someone else’s. Fans of the novella will probably agree.
As the scientist Dr. Jekyll, he is a mild-mannered, decent man who is madly in love with his fiancé. He believes that every man has a hidden dark side and for some reason, decides to experiment with drugs that will release this “repressed evil”. He succeeds, and Mr. Hyde is born. A man who lives only to indulge his desires. As Mr. Hyde, he is violent, sadistic and sexually abusive. Everything Dr. Jekyll is not. (Or at least pretends not to be…)
Mr. Hyde is faster and stronger than your average man, but not superhuman. He can take increased amounts of punishment in this form as well but can be harmed. (In the 1931 film, he is shot and killed by the police.) His senses are heightened to that of a wild animal though, and he is shown to be quite cunning at times. He murders Ivy, a woman Dr. Jekyll saved, to cover his tracks and he takes the potion to turn back to Dr. Jekyll when he needs to hide. This proves he isn’t just some dumb animal. He knows what he is doing.
Dr. Jekyll is not capable of controlling his transformations, but it seems that stress and emotion can trigger it. It can also happen spontaneously and that makes him very unpredictable. As time progresses, the less control he has, even turning into Mr. Hyde in the middle of the night. Dr. Jekyll fears Hyde will take over completely, sooner or later. In the novella, this drives him to suicide.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
Released by Universal in 1933, the film “The Invisible Man” was based on an H.G. Wells novel of the same name, published in 1897. It was Claude Rain’s first American film and is a great, though not quite perfect adaption of the original story. There are minor differences.
Dr. Jack Griffin was a chemist, who also happened to be engaged to his boss’ daughter, Flora Cranley. While testing a drug named Monocane, he accidentally discovers the key to invisibility.
He disappears leaving Flora distraught. He takes up residence at The Lion's Head Inn in the English village of Iping in Sussex, appearing in bandages and a pair of goggles. After falling late on the rent, and making a giant mess in his room, the owners try kicking him out. He throws one of them down the stairs and strips naked, disappearing completely and laughing as he makes his escape.
Her father Dr. Cranley and his assistant Dr. Kemp search Griffin’s empty lab, finding a note with his formula on it. Dr. Cranley is disturbed by Griffin's use of Monocane, knowing it to cause madness and figures that Griffin must not know the dangers.
Griffin shows up at Kemp’s house and forces him to become his partner in crime. He forms a plan to dominate the world through a series of murders. In his deepening insanity, he derails a train, killing a hundred people. Then he kills Kemp. What a jerk! This obviously does not sit well, and a reward is offered for anybody that can capture him.
Eventually, this leads to the cops shooting him and him dying in the hospital from his wounds. He turns visible again as he passes.
Dr. Griffin has no supernatural abilities. He isn’t super strong or even fast. He can’t smell you coming or teleport anywhere. His only strength is his invisibility and his maniacal, worsening insanity. Don’t get the wrong idea, he is extremely dangerous. Mix in that big ol’ brain of his and you have a serious competitor!
His weaknesses are those of any mortal man. He can bleed, he can drown, he can burn, and he can feel pain. Just like anybody else.
The story itself is a classic and has spawned many an imitator, and even a sequel in 1942 titled “The Invisible Man Returns”, but it followed a completely different Invisible Man.
The main differences in the novel and the film are that in the novel, Griffin had no fiancé and he was already crazy by the time he made the potion. The potion just exacerbated it. In the film, he has a fiancé and is driven insane slowly after taking the potion.
The convention was rather boring this year, but to be fair the convention was boring every year. The greatest minds in London would meet up to talk about their ideas and experiments. Sometimes looking to collaborate, but mostly just looking for a chance to show off.
Showing off was never really his thing. He went mostly as a sign of respect for being invited. Not just anybody got to go. It was an honor. Just not an overly exciting one. He shook hands and mingled of course, but…
He’s more than glad it’s over now as he walks back to his hotel room. The breeze is refreshing as it gently grazes his face. The moon is bright and wonderous and stars fill the sky like tiny, glimmering jewels. Beautiful summer night. Perfect for a walk, he thinks as he passes a few common folks. He nods and smiles. Always the gentleman.
As he walks, his head begins to ache. His palms develop a thin layer of sweat. Not now, he thinks as he picks up the pace. He tries to get into the shadows and out of the sight of possible passersby. He reaches the nearest alley as a woman is passing by, knowing it’s already too late.
5 minutes earlier…
He watches the crowd exit the building, and then disperse in their own directions, heading back to their own lives. The greatest minds in London yet, once again he wasn’t invited. The various scientists pass him by with not so much as a thought. They don’t even know he’s there. How could they? After all, he’s invisible.
He is invisible. Not them. The greatest minds of London didn’t figure it out. He did. Dr. Jack Griffin. It didn’t matter, anyway. He’s been “missing” for about a week. If he just pops up and admits his discovery now, he won’t be able to have any more fun. (A young boy watches in awe as his ice cream cone leaves his hand with the slightest of tugs, then floats on down the street.)
He takes a lick of the cold, sweet treat, then tosses the cone to the pavement as he continues his evening stroll. “Mom…!” Yell’s the kid from behind him. The rest of the child’s sentence is muffled by the distance already between them.
He might not have the recognition these other scientists have, but what a life! He can do whatever he wants. They can keep their recognition and their stupid convention! This is much better, he reckons. Or, at least more fun.
He maneuvers his way through the crowd, slipping in between unaware strangers like a light-footed dance in the rain. It was a game to him. He reaches his arm out and gooses a young woman’s bottom as she passes by. She drops the bag of groceries she’s holding, spilling the contents out onto the street. Looking back, she hears a maniacal laugh fading away, but can’t tell where it’s coming from.
He should be down in the dumps. His fiancé must be sick with worry. He would let her know, but… he was really enjoying himself right now!
“No, get away from me!” The voice of a woman calls out from an alley across the street. “Stay away!”
Griffin makes his way in that direction. In the alley is a short, impish man. His posture is poor and pathetic. In one hand he holds a black cane, the other hand grasping the arm of a young woman clearly too tightly. She winces in pain as he pulls her toward him. “Let go of me!” He does as requested just as she pulls away, sending her flying backward. He stands over her like a shadow, ready to pounce.
Mr. Hyde’s head jerks back and a small drop of blood drips down his face from his nose. He wipes it away with a snarl. Seeing nothing and no one in the alley with them, he shifts his attention back to the woman on the ground, raising his cane high in the air with a grunt.
The woman looks up, expecting the cane to connect. She closes her eyes, anticipating the pain. She waits, but the sting doesn’t come. She opens her eyes and sees the cane floating in midair. At first, she assumes she must have bumped her head when she fell, so she blinks a couple of times. Then the cane cuts through the air fast, hitting the hideous, evil-looking man on the side of his skull.
The blow knocks Mr. Hyde to his knees, but he is quick to recover.
“Get up,” say’s Griffin to the woman.
“Get up and run, now!” He replies, paying no mind to her question.
Mr. Hyde is now back on his feet, and thanks to the sound of Griffin's voice, lands a punch square in his chest. This knocks Griffin to the ground, surprising him.
“Stronger than you look, huh?”
The woman stands up and tries to run, but Mr. Hyde reacts quickly, grabbing her arm. Griffin hooks his leg with the cane, bringing the vile man to his back.
“Go!” He yells to her as he brings the cane down on Mr. Hyde’s sternum. This time, she doesn’t hesitate.
He lifts the cane again, but Mr. Hyde watches this time as it comes down toward him. He reaches out, grabbing a hold of it with one hand and punching Griffin with the other. The Invisible Man relinquishes his hold of the cane and Mr. Hyde rolls on top of him. He savagely lands blow after blow with the cane, not stopping to catch his breath until blood covers the ground beneath.
The blood on Griffin causes him to be partially visible as he tries to defend himself from the vicious onslaught. Another blow causes him to lose consciousness. The last thought that passes through his conscious mind is of his fiancé, finally seeing the error of his ways.
Mr. Hyde lifts his cane again, his shadow looms over them, long and twisted. Then with a sick, satisfied smile, he brings it down one last time.
DR JEKYLL/MR. HYDE
In my mind this scenario takes place while Griffin is “missing” before he completely loses his mind and before he shows up at Kemp’s house. For Dr. Jekyll, this is right before he breaks it off with his fiancé.
The Invisible Man had the upper hand until Hyde got his hands on him, and that’s the way it would go down. That’s basically what it came down to for me. Sure, Griffin could have won if was as vicious as Hyde, but he isn’t. You might say, well if he had a weapon… Sure. But if he did have weapon that weapon would be visible, giving him away. As soon as Hyde gets the upper hand, he isn’t going to stop. He’s savage and pure evil. The only chance Griffin has is a surprise attack. Which only works once. Hyde was able to withstand that attack, grab a hold of him and pummel him before he could away.
You may also say, what about Hyde’s animalistic sense of smell? How could Griffin sneak up on him? Remember, this was in the city. City’s are full of people and smells. The alley probably smelled like a thousand different people. How would he know what to smell for?
Sorry, Griffin! We still love you though! What do you guys think? Did I nail it or am I way off here? Yell at me in the comments below and don’t forget to upvote your favorite fighter! FRIGHT FIGHT FRIDAY will return next week for round # 3 of our Classic bracket! Frankenstein’s Monster VS the Creature from the Black Lagoon! Until next time, keep on geekin’ on, my friends!
Joshua “Prometheus” Scafidi