In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
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 <email@example.com>
Bela Lugosi made the film for a salary of just over $800, which was less than any other actor on the project. Lugosi accepted the fee and the role because he was in the middle of bankruptcy. 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 »
For those unfamiliar, Island of Lost Souls (1933) is the earliest and easily the superior version of H.G. Wells' Dr. Moreau. This is a beautifully filmed movie that still supplies the creepy moments almost 70 years after being made.
The basic story: A man rescued at sea is dropped off at an uncharted island owned by Dr. Moreau. The island is filled with strange "natives". The man soon learns that the natives are actually the creations of Dr. Moreau. Dr. Moreau is a god to his creations. But, once the "natives" learn that Dr. Moreau is not a god, they turn on him with horrifying consequences.
Charles Laughton delivers one of the best performances in the history of horror as the mad Dr. Moreau. Dressed head-to-toe in white, he is as sinister as you get. A brilliant acting job. The rest of the cast is fine. Bela Lugosi, in a very small supporting role, is quite good. Kathleen Burke (Lota the Panther Woman) is also a stand out. But, this is Laughton's film and he makes the most of it.
The very simple creature makeup is effective. The cinematography, etc. are also quite good. For example, there are several scenes with Moreau standing in the shadows that are especially effective.
This is a film not to be missed. While it may not appeal to the hack and slash crowd, Island of Lost Souls is a wonderful horror movie. For what it's worth, I'll give this one 10/10. (It's a shame Paramount didn't make more horror films in the 30s.) One final thought, the ending of the film is very reminiscent of the ending of Freaks (1932) with the same savagery on display.
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