The Man With The X-Ray Eyes (1963)/Baxter
June 19, 2011
Les Baxter (1922-1996) is fast becoming popular with the soundtrack collectors with his third release in the last few months and there is more on the way thanks to La-La Land, Intrada, and Kritzerland. The ever busy composer of the 60’s who was forgotten for the contribution that he made has been revived in a big way and this reviewer is all for it. Bring on more!
“X” was one of five films for producer/director Roger Corman in 1963. This ‘B’ movie was filmed in only fifteen days at a cost of $300,000 and the return was many times that. ‘X’ was filmed in Spectarama, a process that was really nothing more than a processing technique, and just an advertising ploy to offer something supposedly different. Starring Oscar winning Ray “Lost Weekend” Milland it tells the story of Dr. Xavier (Milland) who has developed an amazing eye serum that he experiments on himself with producing the ability to be able to see through things and more. One can immediately see the possibilities that Corman was able to promote and get people to the drive-in his theater venue for the most part. The film also stars Don Rickles, Harold Stone, John Hoyt, and Diana van der Vlis.
The bad news about this release is some of it has been lost. For example, there is no main title without sound effects so the 1st track is the end titles which are a mini suite of the entire soundtrack. As a bonus track we do get the main title with the sound effects of some chemicals boiling an eye in a beaker and wind which really don’t distract from it very much. “Penthouse” is elevator music all the way, a two step dance that does little to excite. “Fast Twist” is a frantic track offering organ, a steady snare drum that is emphasized, trombone and trumpet solos jazz style. Keep in mind that the twist was the craze in 1963. “Nude Twist” is just more of “Fast Twist” with an improvisational sounding trombone and a frantic beat from the percussion. “Casino Lounge” is the same melody as “Penthouse” but is arranged for piano in a lounge setting. “Posh” is just a continuation of “Casino Lounge offering more piano in a bar setting. Dissonance is the key word for “Desert Chase…” enhanced with Baxter style percussion. “Pluck It Out/End Credits” is a very sad theme ever slowly moving forward.
Tales of Terror “Morella” while a scant nine minutes offers some true horror music complete with spooky and eerie sounding keyboards, female wailing in the background, dissonant brass with “Jaws” percussion. The “End Credits” have a more modern sound that could really fit other styles of movies such as a police drama.
This release is a limited edition of only 1200 units so you should act sooner rather than later as many Baxter releases sell out quickly. If you’re a fan of Baxter you probably already have this release and are enjoying it!
Total Duration: 00:41:58