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“Are we not men?” Well, not all of us, but you get the idea. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Whitney Collazo, Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as they trek through the jungle on H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) as depicted in the pre-code classic Island of Lost Souls (1932).
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 98 – Island of Lost Souls (1932)
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A mad doctor conducts ghastly experiments on a remote island in the South Seas, much to the fear and disgust of the shipwrecked sailor who finds himself trapped there.IMDb
- Director: Erle C. Kenton
- Writers: Waldemar Young, Philip Wylie; H.G. Wells (novel)
- Cinematography by: Karl Struss
- Makeup artists: Wally Westmore, Charles Gemora
- Charles Laughton as Dr. Moreau
- Richard Arlen as Edward Parker
- Leila Hyams as Ruth Thomas
- Bela Lugosi as Sayer of the Law
- Kathleen Burke as Lota, the Panther Woman
- Arthur Hohl as Mr. Montgomery
- Stanley Fields as Captain Davies
- Paul Hurst as Captain Donahue
- Hans Steinke as Ouran
- Tetsu Komai as M’ling, Moreau’s loyal house servant
- George Irving as The Consul
- Harry Ekezian as Gola (uncredited)
The first time he saw Island of Lost Souls, Chad was blown away and remembers thinking, “How did they get away with this?” He ranks Charles Laughton’s portrayal of Dr. Moreau right there amongst his favorite horror film villains. Daphne is impressed with the cinematography and the pacing and agrees with Chad that Island of Lost Souls is right up there near the top of her list. For her, it’s also an important film in its treatment of colonialism, science, human cruelty, and passion. Whitney is on board with Daphne’s assessment of Island of Lost Souls as an important film, including the film’s portrayal of a scientist with a god complex tampering with life. She also digs the wild makeup effects. According to Joseph, the film has retained a lot of its shock value, even though it holds back on some of the onscreen violence. He adds that Charles Laughton’s portrayal of Moreau’s madness and perversity alone makes Island of Lost Souls worth the watch. Jeff loves the film’s bizarreness and is captivated by the performances of Laughton, Kathleen Burke, and Bela Lugosi.
The Decades of Horror: The Classic Era Grue-Crew gives Island of Lost Souls the highest recommendation! Unfortunately, at this writing, it is difficult to find a streaming source. The Criterion Blu-ray, however, is still available.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. In their next episode, they will discuss another silent classic, The Golem (1920), chosen by Daphne.
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