BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Doctor X: Warner Archive Collection (1932) - Blu-ray Review

Doctor X

Timeless TWO-COLOR Technicolor terror!  It’s the return of the Moon Killer and this time it is thanks to a superb 4K restoration!  That’s what awaits cult enthusiasts within the sheer horror that is 1932’s Doctor X, a pre-code murder-minded marvel in which rape and cannibalism get a headlining act courtesy of Doctor Xavier (Lionel Atwill) and his BIZARRO medical academy.  

"a pre-code murder-minded marvel in which rape and cannibalism get a headlining act courtesy of Doctor Xavier and his BIZARRO medical academy"

And why not?  This UNCLEAN place is an institution of CARNAL DESIRES.  It is where cannibalism is accepted, explicit voyeurism embraced, and the effects of the lunar cycle upon humans acknowledged, encouraged, and studied.  The lunatics here ARE in fact in charge!  Ho, ho!!

This NIGHTMARISH academy makes for a great list of primary suspects when a series of brutal murders hits New York City.  Call it an EASY target.  But there is a method to the target sign placed on its back.  The murders are committed during a full moon, the bodies are always cannibalized, and a monster or some sort of disfigured villain lies at the center of eyewitness’ accounts. 

What the hell are they seeing LUMBERING away from the fresh kills?  Leave it to the Warner Archive Collection to help us see through the dense night with its release of Doctor X.  Thanks to the restoration efforts of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the images found here on this blu-ray are the BEST this film has ever looked.  Doctor X

Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) and full of rampaging shadows, Doctor X is pure popcorn FUN as Detective O'Halloran (Willard Robertson) and his waterfront police officers find themselves stumped and having to work with the stubborn Doctor X, who chews the scenery as well as SOMEONE chews the MUTILATED bodies.  

Eventually, the coppers give Doctor X his space when it comes to apprehending the killer.  He can do it his way, but he has to do it within 48 hours.  Yet, when Reporter Lee Taylor (Lee Tracy) joins the investigation, his interest in Joanne Xavier (the screamtastic Fay Wray) leads everyone to an unorthodox beach-side interrogation.  

Who is the killer?!  Is it Wells (Preston Foster), the amputee with a keen interest in cannibalism?  Is it Haines (John Wray) and his sexual perversion?  Is it Duke (Harry Beresford), a paralytic with a touch of anger issues?  Or is it Rowitz (Arthur Edmund Carewe), who creeps everyone out with his talk of LUNAR MADNESS?  Find out in this cult classic!

Is there a MAD DOCTOR in the house?  The answer is, of course, Doctor X!

1/5 stars


Doctor X

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- April 20, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
: English SDH
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

An eminent scientist aims to solve a murder spree by recreating the crimes in a lab filled with all the dials, gizmos, bubbling beakers and crackling electrostatic charges essential to the genre. Lionel Atwill is Doctor Xavier, pre King Kong scream queen Fay Wray is a distressed damsel and Lee Tracy snaps newshound patter, all under the direction of renowned Michael Curtiz. Also includes the separately filmed B&W version, originally intended for small U.S. markets and International distribution, which has been unavailable for over 30 years. 


The 4K restoration is AMAZING.  With an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, this 1080p offering is delicious and clear and ripe with vivid details that only a striking technicolor process could offer.  The depth in the picture and in the shadows is amazing.  Focus is strong and so, too, are the crisp interiors as early horror is on display thanks to cool sequences.  The color transfer might be a bit primary, but it is solid.  That goes the same for the black-and-white offering.


Let the shrieking begin!  A wonderfully restored English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA completes the restoration perfectly as dialogue is front and center and screams are clear!



  • There are two commentaries.  Both are excellent and talk about all the other monsters that aren’t of the Universal kind.  They are recorded by Alan K. Rode and Scott MacQueen.

Special Features:

It’s a nonstop party on this release as fans get the black and white version of the film (and, yes, it is different but shot at the same time!), two commentaries, and a great offering of supplemental material which covers the horror career of Curtiz (he did three films), the restoration, and includes the original trailer, too.

  • Doctor X: Black and White Version
  • Madness & Mystery: The Horror Films of Michael Curtiz
  • Doctor X: Before and After Restoration Reel 
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

Doctor X

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
76 mins
: Michael Curtiz
Robert Tasker, Earl Baldwin
Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy
: Comedy | Crime | Horror
Startling! Strange! Awesome!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Something tells me if I go in that room tonight, tomorrow I'll be... in my coffin!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 27, 1932
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 20, 2021.
Synopsis: A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.


Doctor X

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