A paragon of queer perversity, Edgar G. Ulmer’s unfathomable Universal horror hit gave major stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff two of their greatest roles. In the first of many films together, the erstwhile Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster play a pair of intensely bonded frenemies locked in an epic sadomasochistic pas de deux.
After a curiously cutesy opening-credits sequence featuring Murders in the Zoo’s cast members mirrored with similarly posed animals, a quick tonal shift occurs, transitioning to perhaps the most gruesome film scene of its day.
A peculiar pre-Code concoction of horror, sci-fi, murder mystery, and slapstick romantic comedy, Doctor X was filmed simultaneously in two-color Technicolor and black and white (for the smaller markets and foreign distribution).
This pre-Code offering packs a lot of story into its typically brisk running time, with several plot threads weaving together a (not always successful) tapestry of spooky and criminal doings.