The Invisible Ray (1936)

Approved  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  20 January 1936 (USA)
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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 »
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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 »


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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
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Did You Know?


In 1986 actress Frances Drake recalled that the crew played a joke on star Karloff. They raised him up on a platform that was intended to lower him down into the radium pit. They raised him up high over the pit and left him there when they broke for lunch. According to Drake, the actor was a good sport about it. 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: We expected you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The character of "Professor Meiklejohn," correct in the opening credits, is listed as "Professor Mendelssohn" in the closing credits. See more »


Featured in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Man Made Monster (2014) 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 »

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User Reviews

Karloff/Lugosi...Need I Say More
17 November 1999 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

The Invisible Ray is an exciting story about an overworked scientist who works effortlessly in his Carpathian castle looking for secrets of the universe. Boris Karloff plays the scientist Janos Ruhk who travels with a band of other scientists to Africa for the spot where an unidentified element landed centuries ago. Karloff is very good as the scientist who accidentally poisons himself with this new radioactive element. Karloff is obsessed with the idea that his fellow travelers, amongst them the stately Lugosi as Dr. Benet, are after his honors and secrets of this new find. Because of this, Karloff goes on a maniacal murdering spree of his former friends. There are many good elements in this film, most dealing with the rather interesting story of science gone amok. Lugosi is good too, although his role is not very big. I must agree with many that this pairing of the horrific duo is a second to The Black Cat. Nonetheless this is a fine Universal science fiction/horror film.

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