X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

1963 science fiction horror film

Rating: 15/20

Plot: A scientist experiments with eye drops that temporarily give the owner of the eyeballs x-ray vision. Of course, there are some negative consequences. Otherwise, there wouldn't even be a movie.

Pretty typical sci-fi B-flick stuff but with some of that Roger Corman magic, a bit of visual flair and some wild ideas. This couldn't be more obvious thematically, but I can forgive that because the movie's fun, from the opening shot of a disembodied eyeball to the final chilling shot of the titular (come on!) character hanging with some religious folk. Ray Milland is good in the lead role. I really liked the costume he wore when he started working for a carnival, a colorful get-up that includes a scarf with an eye drawn on it worn over his actual eyes. I recognized Harold J. Stone who I recently saw as a detective in The Wrong Man. The biggest surprise, however, is seeing Don Rickles as a carnival barker. When you make over three hundred movies, you're bound to develop a good eye, and Corman shows off his in a few scenes of this movie, one with an injured girl and a well-placed scarf and another with Rickles looking through a window. The weirdo effects used to give the audience Dr. Xaviar's perspective looks a little dopey and don't make complete sense, but it's effective in giving his story a different flavor. I also like an effect where the camera zoomed through Milland's head after he used the eye drops for the first time. This has a good score, especially the song at the opening, and that ending really is pretty shocking. My wife was in the room and had to turn her head.

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