Wait a minute, this film has almost a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes? Mind blown! Anyway, this is a Roger Corman film, so you can probably guess that it is basically rubbish. It’s the kind of film that forces you to take a step back and think about how this guy has somehow had a steady film career. Surely there are better writers somewhere…right? Ah well, at least the concept here is fairly interesting, even if it cannot ultimately save the film.
We have a guy named Xavier. He wants to use eye drops to improve sight and ultimately make the world a better place. Unfortunately, he decides to test it out on animals and they don’t last very long as a result. Not realizing just how deplorable this is, Xavier decides to do it to himself next. The problem is that the drops work too well and have many side effects. They make him more violent and unreasonable and have an addicting effect as well. Throw in the fact that he can see through people and is likely blasting them with radiation and you have a very confused main character. His only hope now is to become a mystical doctor, but can he really pull this off or is he toast?
Whenever a character is roasted and toasted, you know that it’s going to be a long day. Unfortunately, I can’t even give the film that much credit because there is no witty dialogue to be found here. The film opens up with a very long scene of an eyeball in a jar of blood. It’s a very gross and disturbing way to start the film, but it helped set the stage for the rest of the film. While it may be old, The Man with the X Ray Eyes still tries to be violent for extra edge. The other big moment that is guilty of this is the very ending. I don’t think anyone cares about spoilers, but skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know the ending. Well, it turns out that Xavier gets so desperate that he rips his eyes out. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that it had any real effect and things will just get even worse for him. He began to see cosmic energy and the beginning of time so maybe he was just too far gone by that point.
It was definitely intriguing to have Xavier run into a church for that moment though. To his credit, the Pastor took it all in stride, but he seemed rather unhinged. He had already been yelling quite passionately and told Xavier that what he was seeing was the Devil. It’s a fairly bold claim since this pastor had absolutely no way to know anything that was going on, but he was on a role I suppose and Xavier took the words to heart. “If Thine Eye offends thee, Pluck it out!” While that quote can certainly be used literally, it’s definitely more of a figurative thing. Whatever is causing you to sin is something that you have to remove from your life. Whether it be a hobby, action, or an influence. I suppose that getting rid of a part of your body is a rather extreme way to solve that problem, but given that your body is special a created just for you, I would highly advise against taking Xavier’s route. At least it worked for the shock value I guess….
Either way, Xavier wasn’t likable from the start. He went crazy rather quickly and very quickly began to abuse his powers once he found that he could see through people. Xavier even murdered his partner because the he had a mild disagreement with the guy. The situation just kept getting more and more unsympathetic for the main lead. I suppose the gig that he got for being a mystic was a constructive way to use his powers, but it definitely seems rather limited. Sure, he can see what is wrong with a patient, but that can only help so much. I liked his business partner though as the guy figured Xavier’s past out and was very quick to bring out the blackmail card. I wasn’t expecting anything less from such a shady fellow. It does make the cops look rather bad though since they had no idea where to even begin looking for Xavier.
It’s a short film so there is not a whole lot of other content to discuss here. The film doesn’t really have a soundtrack and I can’t say much for the visuals. I suppose that they were almost okay for its time, but as it is, Corman is not exactly known for his high budget in these films. There were a few supporting characters like the business partner, the original partner, and the main heroine. Their roles are very small though with the heroine’s biggest moment being when she found the main character. Beyond that, they were all just bystanders who couldn’t do much to stop or help Xavier. The guy was on his own.
Overall, You should watch this film as a cautionary tale on why you shouldn’t overdose. The problems here would not have happened if Xavier hadn’t put a whole bottle into his eyes instead of the prescribed 2-4 drops. He just got super greedy and it led to his downfall. That being said, don’t think for a second that I actually recommend this film. You should stay far away from this title and I could recommend a few dozen other films that are much better than this one. The whole film is just rather depressing and dull. Nothing really happens and nothing good happens either. You’re essentially watching a film that lacks purpose and motivation. The characters are certainly not likable and the sketchy beginning and ending don’t help matters either. This film beats the Bucket of Blood, but loses to the Pet Shop of Horrors. Well, at least this film didn’t obtain the really elusive 0.