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The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963) - Blu-ray Review

4 beers

Writer, director, producer Roger Corman, the celebrated King of the B-movie, has very rarely let me down as a member of his audience.  I found his book, How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime, to be a sort of oracle guiding me across the California desert in a time of personal and career crisis.  I find his willingness to “cash in” on genre crazes legendary in their remarkable achievements and his discovery of new talent is, of course, monumental.  Everyone who becomes “someone” in this fickle film business knows, visits with, or has worked for Mr. Corman. 

During an interview with him that I was able to be a part of, way back in 2010, it was quickly evident that this artist will never receive the debt owed to him by Hollywood and, if I am honest, his humble soul is not one to seek it out.  For awhile Scream Factory was handling the remastering and reissuing of his catalog on blu-ray but – due to their profit losses – the stopped and switched over to old-school horror.  The move was a successful one but, in their absence, no one has picked up the Corman gauntlet to get his prolific output onto HD. 

Until now. 

With their release of The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, Kino-Lorber ends the speculation that started with their treatment of last month’s Tales of Terror.  Yes, indeed, the fine folks over at Kino-Lorber dare to stare into the eyes of madness and we are all the better for it.  Corman’s cult classic from 1963 is known more today for its impact upon future filmmakers and creative types than for its resonance with viewers at the time of its release.  While horror legends like Stephen King continue to praise the movie, my fear is that its appreciation has weakened over time.

Starring Ray Milland (The Premature Burial), The Man with the X-ray Eyes is a low-budget cult classic about the transformation of the brilliant Dr. Xavier whose experiments, after being turned away by his peers in the medical field, with x-ray eye-drops turns his own vision superhuman.  He can see through walls, clothes, and the human body.  Unfortunately, this new power turns insatiable and drives him to a maddening conclusion as he begins to see through the very fabric of time and space itself. 

Co-starring Harold J. Stone (The Wrong Man), John Hoyt (Blackboard Jungle), and comedy legend Don Rickles (Run Silent, Run Deep) as a dodgy carnival show ringleader who sees dollar signs where once there were eyes in Xavier’s condition, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is expertly directed by Corman and, thanks to his swift design, remains an engaging cult classic.  Kino-Lorber has cleaned the print up and issues it on blu-ray with a picture quality that cannot be matched.  Fifty-two years later, the elements on the transfer look practically ageless.

While its low-budget effects may detract some viewers, this visually strong science fiction works its ass off to double as intelligent horror and wedge in a whole new level of religious discussion on top of all that.  It’s one of Corman’s finest offerings and, most definitely, not to be missed if you are in the market for blu-ray offerings.    

The Man with the X-ray Eyes will “see” you now.

The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: No.
Runtime:
79 mins
Director
: Roger Corman
Writer:
Roger Corman
Cast:
Ray Milland, Diana Van der Vlis, Harold J. Stone
Genre
: Sci-fi | Horror
Tagline:
Suddenly he could see through clothes, flesh... and walls!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "My dear doctor, I'm closing in on the gods."
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 18, 1963
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 12, 2015
Synopsis: A doctor uses special eye drops to give himself x-ray vision, but the new power has disastrous consequences.

The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 12, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

The newly minted 1080p transfer is glorious.  Colors are bright and full of life and the detail is strong, ringing true in almost every scene.  Black levels are deep and keep their edges in the shadows.  Optical effect shots are clear, with some minor fuzziness, but the edges are usually quite sharp.  The 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack in two-channel mono is adequate for the at-home experience.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Corman provides an engaging full film commentary on one track and, on a second track, film historian Tim Lucas dryly provides the facts about the shooting of the movie.

Special Features:

Kino doesn’t disappoint with the batch of goodies included in the supplemental department.  Director Joe Dante discusses his feelings on the film in one featurette, a narrative prologue for the film is unearthed in another, and director Mick Garris guides viewers through the film’s original trailer.  Nothing is too important but it is all very, very fun.

  • Terror Vision! (6 min)
  • Rare Prologue (4 min)
  • Trailers from Hell (4 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer

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