X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

Year: 1963

Production: Alta Vista / AIP

Director: Roger Corman

Starring: Ray Milland, Diana Van Der Vlis, Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, Don Rickles

Screenwriter: Robert Dillon, Ray Russell

Based on a story by Ray Russell

80 minutes; Color

A surgeon, Dr Xavier (Milland), uses an experimental drug to develop X-ray vision and thus perform operations more skillfully, but the process affects his mind. He accidentally kills a colleague and hides in a carnival sideshow where he is exploited as a faith healer. His X-ray vision becomes a metaphor for insight into all the ugliness and sadness of life. A series of events bring appalling visions which alienate him progressively from ordinary, unseeing humanity. Finally he encounters an evangelist holding a religious meeting in the desert; when the man cries "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out!", Xavier does just that. Though close to being a Poverty Row product (the special effects are not quite up to showing Dr Xavier's ability to "see through the center of the Universe") this bleak film is sometimes considered Corman's masterpiece.
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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