29 July 2014

Doctor X (1932)
76 min.
Directed by Michael Curtiz.
With Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster, John Wray, Harry Beresford, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Leila Bennett, Robert Warwick, George Rosener, Willard Robertson.
“The Moon Killer” is at large!

Prowling the streets of New York City, this horrible serial killer strangles his helpless victims, and then feasts upon their warm flesh. (eww…)

Due to the medical precision with which the maniac extracts his pound of flesh, the police have come to believe the psychopath must be one of the scientists at the nearby Academy of Surgical Research.

But which egghead could it be? Could it be the presiding head of the Academy, the so-called Doctor X (Atwill)? Whoever it may be, is the Doctor’s lovely daughter Joanne (Wray) next on the psycho’s list?

We stamp this 1932 early Technicolor horror a bonafide ‘classic,’ not so much for anything that transpires in the first 70 minutes of its running time, but rather for the gangbusters finale that occurs in the last 10 minutes.

Oddly marketed as a “comedy mystery” upon its release, the crescendo climax of Doctor X switches effortlessly into full throttle horror…and we’re thankful for it.

Atwill is always underrated, and both he and Wray give terrific performances here, the latter utilizing the opportunity to showcase her stunning beauty and affable charm.

The notorious ‘synthetic flesh’ scene in Doctor X is a magnificent display of creepiness, and still retains all its power to make you shudder some 75 years after it was made.

Do yourself a favor and make this a double feature with Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933); you’ll be set for the night!

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