The Invisible Ray (1936)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  20 January 1936 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,440 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 29 critic

A scientist becomes murderous after discovering, and being exposed to the radiation of, a powerful new element called Radium X.



(screenplay), (original story), 1 more credit »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames
Black Friday (1940)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Dr. Sovac transplants the brain of a gangster into his professor friend's body to save his life, but there is a side effect that causes a dangerous split personality.

Director: Arthur Lubin
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Stanley Ridges
The Raven (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A brilliant surgeon obsessed with Poe saves the life of a beautiful dancer and goes mad when he can't have her.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews
The Black Cat (1934)
Horror | Crime | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

American honeymooners in Hungary are trapped in the home of a Satan- worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners
Night Key (1937)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The inventor of a new top-of-the-line burglar alarm system is kidnapped by a gang in order to get him to help them commit robberies.

Director: Lloyd Corrigan
Stars: Boris Karloff, Warren Hull, Jean Rogers
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Mad scientist turns a man into an electrically-controlled monster to do his bidding.

Director: George Waggner
Stars: Lionel Atwill, Lon Chaney Jr., Anne Nagel
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and ... See full summary »

Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor
Stars: Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The juice of a rare Tibetan flower is the only thing that keeps Dr. Glendon from turning into a werewolf during a full moon.

Director: Stuart Walker
Stars: Henry Hull, Warner Oland, Valerie Hobson
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In the 15th century Richard Duke of Gloucester, aided by his club-footed executioner Mord, eliminates those ahead of him in succession to the throne, then occupied by his brother King ... See full summary »

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Barbara O'Neil
Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Dr. Savaard's experiment in cryonics is interrupted by the short-sighted authorities, his volunteer dies, and he is condemned to death. He vows vengeance if he can survive his own hanging.

Director: Nick Grinde
Stars: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Dr. Laurience, a brilliant but unstable scientist experimenting with transferring minds, becomes vengeful when his magnate patron withdraws his support.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Boris Karloff, Anna Lee, John Loder
Certificate: Passed Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When a nobleman is murdered, a professor of the occult blames vampires; but not all is what it seems.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi


Complete credited cast:
Dr. Janos Rukh (as Karloff)
Frances Drake ...
Frank Lawton ...
Ronald Drake
Violet Kemble Cooper ...
Mother Rukh
Walter Kingsford ...
Sir Francis Stevens
Lady Arabella Stevens
Professor Meiklejohn (Mendelssohn in end credits)
Paul Weigel ...
Monsieur Noyer
Georges Renavent ...
Chief of the Surete (as Georges Renevant)


Visionary scientist Janos Rukh convinces a group of scientists and supporters to mount an expedition to the African continent to locate and study an ancient meteorite of great significance. He exposes himself to the highly toxic radiation of the meteorite, and while an antidote devised by Dr. Benet saves him from death by radiation poisoning, his naked touch causes instant death to others. Back in London, the benefits of the meteorite's controlled radiation offer Dr. Benet an opportunity to restore eyesight to the blind. The antidote's toxicity excites Prof. Rukh into paranoid rages as he seeks revenge against the members of his expedition, who he accuses of stealing his discovery for their own glory. Written by Sister Grimm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Destruction to all he touched or looked upon! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le rayon invisible  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Noiseless Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The church in which Frank Lawton and Frances Drake get married, though called the "Church of the Six Saints" in the film, is actually the set of Notre-Dame Cathedral recycled from the 1923 Universal production "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame," starring Lon Chaney, Sr. See more »


The opening view of the Carpathian castle shows a starry sky. Stars are again seen through the telescope opening in the observatory roof. But there is highly inclement weather in other parts of the opening scenes. Diana and Mother Rukh are witness to much lightning and thunder. Plus, there is fog and howling winds when the car arrives with Dr. Benet and company. See more »


Dr. Felix Benet: There are only two people he wants to destroy: two... or
[looming over Ronald Drake]
Dr. Felix Benet: , perhaps three.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end: "A Universal Cast is Worth Repeating." This credit appeared on many Universal films of that era, not just "The Invisible Ray". It did not, however, appear on the cast list for the 1936 "Show Boat", which Universal also made. See more »


Referenced in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) See more »


Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Played on an organ for the wedding
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"If your men fail to capture him at the gate..."
9 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

Karloff and Lugosi - Together again! This is one of those films that casual fans will pass over and tend not to appreciate as much. It's not an all-out horror film like the duo's previous two hits, The Black Cat and The Raven. But, it is very worthy of both's talents and is a fun film when re-visited.

The Invisible Ray was directed by Lambert Hillyer, a director who mainly made westerns, but curiously in these final days of the Laemmles' reign at Universal, he found himself helming this and the Laemmles' final horror film, Dracula's Daughter. Both are crisp, clean-cut fantasies that are very light on horror content despite the fantastic elements.

Just as Lugosi went wild in The Raven, much needs to be said of Karloff's hamming in The Invisible Ray. The one aspect of the story that is particularly unsatisfying is that Karloff's character, Rukh, acts so madly before he is poisoned by Radium X, that there really isn't much of a change once he starts glowing. This is very similar to the complaint people have about Jack Nicholson in The Shining - He's basically a loony right from the start. There isn't any real transformation. Same here. Halfway through Karloff simply has an added purpose for revenge in his mind. I still enjoyed his performance, though, just as I did Lugosi's over-the-top antics in The Raven.

Meanwhile, Lugosi completely surprises you and gives a restrained, and thoughtful turn as Rukh's rival in science, Dr. Benet. Lugosi also has some of the best lines in the film, including a memorable warning to the police trying to catch Rukh, of which I am in alignment with horror film writer John Soister on - "And if he (Rukh) touches anyone?" the inspector inquires. Lugosi hesitatingly replies, in a way that only Lugosi could deliver, "They die". Just as Lugosi could be so off, he could also be more perfect than any actor. This is one of those moments.

Therefore, Karloff and Lugosi's interactions are all very good as we get the mad antics of Karloff pared off against the cool logic of Lugosi. Karloff would go on to play similar mad scientists many times, however, one wishes Lugosi would have gotten to play more straight roles like this one. He only had one more chance (Ninotchka).

The Invisible Ray is a fun film, and a real treat to the true Karloff and Lugosi fans. It is one of those films that improves on each viewing, not because it is a masterpiece, but because of the charisma and talent of its' stars and how this story complements the darker, more horrific pairings they had. The special effects, by the always innovative John Fulton, are terrific and the supporting actors are all adequate. Frances Drake looks as beautiful as she did in Mad Love and plays a strong woman, something seldom seen in classic horror films. The scene in the end when Karloff stalks her and she doesn't scream is one of the most haunting moments of the film. A terrific, fun film!

28 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Good Science Yxklyx
Bra wisemove-2
Boris ripely dramatic bushrod56
My, my, who else could be as insipid as Frank Lawton here ? Ariane67
Discuss The Invisible Ray (1936) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: