I couldn't find any information on this issue, so when I solved it I thought I would post it and the answer on AskUbuntu in case anyone else has the same issue.

Virtualbox refused to start any virtual machines; told me to run /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup as root. Doing so resulted in:

Stopping VirtualBox kernel modules ...done.
Uninstalling old VirtualBox DKMS kernel modulesError! Could not locate dkms.conf file.
File:  does not exist.
Trying to register the VirtualBox kernel modules using DKMSError! DKMS tree already contains: vboxhost-4.3.18
You cannot add the same module/version combo more than once.
  (Failed, trying without DKMS)
Recompiling VirtualBox kernel modules ...failed!
  (Look at /var/log/vbox-install.log to find out what went wrong)

The virtualbox version was out of date compared to the dependencies. A complete reinstall was required. But first I backed up my dkms configuration and removed it:

mkdir ~/backup_dkms
cp -r /var/lib/dkms/* ~/backup_dkms
rm -rf /var/lib/dkms/vboxhost

Then after a bit of fishing around, running apt update, upgrade, and autoremove, I finally ran:

sudo apt install virtualbox

It works perfectly now.

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