As you might have guessed from the plot synopsis X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes – despite the cheesy title – isn’t exactly a comedy about a guy who hangs around the ladies’ locker room a lot!

It is somewhat humourless except for one scene in which the straight-laced Xavier discovers during a party that he can actually see through the clothes of some dancing ‘Sixties starlets. (Alas, they are all dancing with their backs to him for reason!) Later on Dr Fairfax doesn’t seem too concerned by the fact that Xavier can see through her clothes. Kinky.

Word has it that 41-year-old director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo wants to remake X for MGM. This Spanish director made his full feature-length debut with Intacto in 2002, a magic realist thriller about a man who “steals” other people's luck merely by laying a hand on them. Jon Popick of Planet Sick-Boy described the movie as “a very bizarre blend of Reservoir Dogs, Fight Club, Unbreakable and Croupier.”

Next up for the director was 28 Weeks Later, the better-than-expected sequel to 28 Days Later, the Danny (Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine) Boyle horror flick in which an unknown virus turns most of Britain into ferocious zombies. When one takes 28 Weeks Later into consideration it becomes clear that Fresnadillo probably isn’t interested in turning X into a comedy like the planned remake of The Incredible Shrinking Man (it will star Eddie Murphy!).

"One of the better genre movies of the era . . ."

And that is good news because X definitely counts as one of Roger Corman’s “better” movies and it has loads of remake potential. For starters the “x-ray” effects in X are pretty dated and one can only imagine what can be achieved with modern CGI (typical for a Corman movie the effects were pretty cheap to start with). Story-wise X is intriguing and counts as one of the better genre movies of the era because it wasn’t yet another veiled metaphor for the Red menace. In the hands of the right screenwriter, X can do a lot besides the whole hackneyed “scientist tampering with nature like Dr. Frankenstein” thing.

So far, so good. There is only word that can destroy one’s enthusiasm for an X remake, and that word is Hollow Man. Yup, Robocop director Paul Verhoeven’s ill-fated 2000 re-imagining of the invisible man mythos in which a scientist (Kevin Bacon) experiments on himself (that sounds wrong, we know) and becomes insane in the process. Hollow Man ultimately turned out be as swallow as its good-looking young cast: in the end Bacon turns into a serial killer who kills off his co-workers, an unimaginative route for an otherwise intriguing premise.

As long as Fresnadillo can avoid the trap of making his antihero turn into a deranged serial killer then we are onboard for a remake. In the meantime X is one Roger Corman movie we can recommend, so check it out if you’re not allergic to movies older than The Karate Kid . . .



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