Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Horror, Romance  |  December 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,043 users  
Reviews: 86 user | 104 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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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!


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Island of Dr. Moreau  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


To create the language of the mutants sound-man Loren L. Ryder recorded a mixture of animal sounds and foreign languages, then played them backwards at alternating speeds. The effect: the sound induced nausea and caused the audiences to vomit in the theaters. See more »


On the first ship, a man carries a large bucket of slop and accidentally spills some slop on Captain Davies. In the next shot, as Davies punches the man and knocks him down, the slop bucket is sitting on the deck behind him. See more »


Edward Parker: Those poor things out there in the jungle. Those animals. They - They talk.
Dr. Moreau: That was my first great achievement. Articulate speech controlled by the brain. And it was a great achievement! Oh, it takes a long time and infinite patience to make them talk.
[Moreau gives an impish smile and a chuckle]
Dr. Moreau: Someday I will create a woman and it'll be easier.
See more »

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User Reviews

Waking Nightmare
22 April 2001 | by (Kansas City, MO, USA) – See all my reviews

Universal dominated the horror market of the 1930s, but every once in a while the other studios would produce a classic of their own. `Island of Lost Souls,' produced by Paramount, is one such film. It's tight, fast, and haunting.

The most striking thing about `Island' is its claustrophobic, nightmarish atmosphere. Some people criticize the hero, Edward Parker (Richard Arlen), as bland and colorless, but I think this works in the film's favor. Since he has no personality of his own, he can be more of an Everyman; he also has no strength to draw upon and is therefore powerless against the horrors around him. He sees the perverse monstrosities Moreau has created on his island, finds himself attracted to and then repulsed by the cat-woman Lota, and then struggles to free himself from Moreau's manipulative control. It's like those nightmares where you try to run away from something terrible but your feet won't move.

Charles Laughton steals the show as Dr. Moreau; his disarming, cherubic exterior somehow enhances his aura of menace. He may not look as blatantly evil as Bela Lugosi, but after a few minutes you just know there's something terribly wrong with this man. The irony is, the creatures Moreau creates are far more humane than he is. The creatures themselves live in a tight society, bound by the laws Moreau has given them; instead of dwelling on their physical awfulness, the film imparts them with a curious dignity and innocence. When the inevitable rebellion comes, I found myself cheering the creatures on, much like I felt my heart go out to the Frankenstein Monster or King Kong.

`Island' is one of those movies you need to watch on a humid summer night, when your clothes cling to your skin and every breath feels like it's coming through a wet towel. Feel the suspense and the terror seep into you, and then try to tell me the old horror movies weren't infinitely better than what passes for horror nowadays.

71 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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