Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 29 - Movie 1

Dr. X (1932) is a pre-code mystery/ old dark house style movie in which a series of murders involving surgical precision and cannibalism lead police to Dr. Xavier (Lionel Atwill), not simply for a medical consultation, but because the hard to obtain medical instrument used in the murders is one that is in use at Xavier's research institute. Concerned that any connection will bring negative attention to his institute, he asks for the opportunity to flush out the killer from amongst his research scientists himself. He's given 24 hours to do so, and takes the suspects to a remote mansion where a series of tests are conducted meant to  expose the killer, eventually he is revealed, but not before he strikes again.

You'd think that starring Lionel Atwill in a movie about a killer at large would automatically lead the trail to him, but this movie is stocked with disfigured mad scientist types and a creepy butler, all of whom appear to be likely candidates, especially since three of the scientists have connections with cannibalism. There are some nice sets, and some great mad scientist and lab equipment moments, but overall this movie drags along and fills unsatisfying. Fay Wray also stars, as Xavier's daughter, but has little purpose except to be placed in danger in the final act, and to be pestered and mooned over by obnoxious reporter, Lee Tracy.

It's too bad this movie was so bland since it does have its great moments and a cast of suspects worthy of a Dick Tracy comic strip.

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