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Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Horror, Romance  |  December 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,946 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 101 critic

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.



(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Directors: Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor
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Complete credited cast:
Arthur Hohl ...
Stanley Fields ...
Captain Davies
Paul Hurst ...
Hans Steinke ...
Tetsu Komai ...
The Consul


After his ship goes down, Edward Parker is rescued at sea. Parker gets into a fight with Captain Davies of the Apia and the Captain tosses him overboard while making a delivery to the tiny tropical island of Dr. Moreau. Parker discovers that Moreau has good reason to be so secretive on his lonely island. The doctor is a whip-cracking task master to a growing population of his own gruesome human/animal experiments. He does have one prize result, Lota the beautiful panther woman. Parker's fortunes for escape look up after his fiancée Ruth finds him with the help of fearless Captain Donohue. However, when Moreau's tribe of near-humans rises up to rebel, no one is safe... Written by Gary Jackson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TERROR! Stalked the Brush-Choked Island...Where Men Who Were Animals Sought the Girl Who Was All-Human!


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Island of Dr. Moreau  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Members of the new wave band Devo were fans of the film. The "What is the law?" sequence formed part of the lyrics to Devo's song "Jocko Homo," with Bela Lugosi's query "Are we not men?" providing the title to their 1978 debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Oingo Boingo is another new wave band who paid tribute to the film with their song "No Spill Blood," which featured the refrain "What is the Law?" The Meteors, a psycho-billy band from the UK told the story of the film in their song "Island of Lost Souls" on their 1986 album Teenagers From Outer Space. The Cramps, an American psycho-billy band, featured a song "The Natives Are Restless" on their Psychedelic Jungle album. Heavy metal band Van Halen paid homage to the film in the original version of their song "House of Pain", the early lyrics for which directly referenced the storyline of the movie. During onstage introductions of the song circa 1976-77, Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth routinely gave a brief synopsis of the film. The song was shelved for the better part of a decade, but eventually resurfaced with different non-movie-related lyrics and released on the band's 1984 album. The US horror-rock band Manimals based much of their stage persona on the film. Their 1985 Blood is the Harvest vinyl E.P. closes with the song "Island of Lost Souls". The track includes a "What is the Law?" section that fans would chant during live shows. See more »


As the beast-men attack Moreau's lab one of them brushes against a flaming torch and sets his furry head alight. See more »


Dr. Moreau: She's never seen anything like him.
Mr. Montgomery: No?
Dr. Moreau: You and I don't count. The only reactions we get from her are fear and terror.
Mr. Montgomery: That's understandable.
Dr. Moreau: But how will she respond to Parker where there's no cause for fear? Will she be attracted? Is she capable of being attracted? Has she a woman's emotional impulses? I could scarcely hope for a chance like this short of London.
See more »


Referenced in Wolfman Chronicles (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the greats
18 August 2000 | by (Somewhere in New Jersey) – See all my reviews

The basic plot:Edward Parker is picked up by a ship, and then thrown off by a drunk captain along with the ships cargo,the cargo being a ship of animals. The cargo arrives at an uncharted island with strange natives . He makes the acquaintance of Dr. Moreau , who turns animals into the natives which we see .....

The praise: Actually very creepy ,intelligent and entertaining .Charles Laughton gives an excellent, silky performance as Dr. Moreau, the perfect villain . All of it is perfect entertainment, and all of the scenes in the woods are still frightening, including the superb " What is the law?" sequence. Bela also turns in a fine performance as the keeper of the law. Creepy, simple makeup. All finely staged, structured , with a terrific script . The intelligent subtext about the line between man and beast and disturbing order is still interesting.Top-notch lighting, design, atmosphere and art direction. a must-see, and an all time great.

The flaws: Comic relief and the romantic couple date it somewhat.

Note: It's ironic that Paramounts 4 Horror movies( this, Dr. J and Mr. H, Murders in Zoo, and Murder by the clock) are darker than universals horror movies of that period, for Paramount wa known as a light entertainment company.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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