The Invisible Ray (1936)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The Invisible Ray a science fiction/horror film directed by Lambert Hilyer is notable chiefly for its ground-breaking special effects by John P. Fulton, who also did the effects for The Invisible Man series. Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) using space and time travel, and aided by fellow scientist Felix Benet (Bela Lugosi) searches for a meteor which contains "Radium X," a substance more powerful than radium. Rukh is contaminated by the radiation and kills whoever he touches. Despite a short-term antidote, Rukh finds himself slowly going mad and has paranoid delusions that others are plotting against him, with deadly results. While the story and acting in this somewhat dated horror film are just average, the special effects are outstanding and should be seen by any fan of the genre.
Classics , Horror , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video


Boris Karloff
as Dr. Janos Rukh
Bela Lugosi
as Dr. Felix Benet
Frances Drake
as Diane Rukh
Violet Kemble Cooper
as Mother Rukh
Frank Lawton
as Ronald Drake
Walter Kingsford
as Sir Francis Stevens
Beulah Bondi
as Lady Arabella Stevens
Nydia Westman
as Briggs
Georges Renavent
as Chief of Surete
Frank Reicher
as Prof. Meiklejohn
Paul Weigel
as Monsieur Noyer
Adele St. Maur
as Mme. Noyer
Stewart Lawrence
as No. 1 Boy
Daniel Haines
as Headsman
Ynez Seabury
as Celeste
Winter Hall
as Minister
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Critic Reviews for The Invisible Ray

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (2)

As the story unreels, you realize that this is just another case of a man's manager bringing him along too fast. It is no wonder Karloff's mind cracks under the strain.

Full Review… | August 7, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

It's briskly staged with some fine camerawork, and Karloff -- turned into a radioactive killer and melting down a symbolic statue after each death on his vengeance trail against his wife and the colleagues he feels have betrayed him -- is great.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

other than being lightly entertaining, this science fiction pic is no Frankenstein.

Full Review… | April 5, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Lesser of Lugosi-Karloff pairings, still not bad

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

What really sells the film is less its impressive look and sound or unusually expansive length, but more the fact that it's completely all about its two stars.

Full Review… | February 4, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Passable but rather melodramatic hokum.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for The Invisible Ray

Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi teamed up again for Universal in this science fiction film (it is actually not really a horror film, despite it's two leads). Karloff plays a scientist who has invented a heat ray (and some kind of looking back in time device), who travels to Africa to search for something he had seen crash on Earth eons ago in his little past device. But while in Africa he starts to glow due to exposure to radium...and goes mad as a result. It is a fairly solid science fiction movie of its time, with a few elements of horror, as is to be expected of Universal in this time period. Decent, but not terrific.

Ken Scheck
Ken Scheck

Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) is an unorthodox scientist who discovers an African meteor containing an alien element. His colleague (Bela Lugosi) harnesses this element for the good of mankind, but the radiation gives Rukh a poisonous touch, an inhuman glow, and a diseased mind. These factors turn into a killing spree when Rukh's perpetually-ignored wife (Frances Drake) abandons him. The Invisible Ray isn't exactly a masterpiece, but it's worth checking out if one likes the Universal horror films of the 1930's. However, if one is new to Karloff/Lugosi pairings, I'd recommend the far superior Black Cat.

Ryan Valentine
Ryan Valentine

An OK movie but I really didn't start getting into it until Karloff started suffering from the effects of the radiation poisoning

Brody Manson
Brody Manson

Super Reviewer

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