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Island of Lost Souls

USA 1932
produced by
directed by Erle C.Kenton
starring Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Bela Lugosi, Kathleen Burke, Stanley Fields, Paul Hurst, Hans Steinke, Tetsu Komai, George Irving, Bob Kortman, Rosemary Grimes, Charles Gemora, Harry Ekezian, Buster Brodie, Schlitze, Joe Bonomo, John George, Constantine Romanoff, Duke York
screenplay by Waldemar Young, Philip Wylie, based on the novel The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

Dr. Moreau

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Shipwrecked Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) finds himself stranded on the island of Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton), where the doctor welcomes him with open arms, offers his hospitality, and promises to personally take care of it that Parker returns to civilisation as soon as possible - but behind the scenes, he sabotages Parker's safe return in any which way possible. However, he sends Parker a girl, Lota (Kathleen Burke), to comfort him. Lota soon falls in love with him, but Parker rejects her because he is already engaged to another woman, Ruth (Leila Hyams).

Now why would Dr. Moreau do all of this?

Because he is making humans out of animals on this island of his, and have an animal and a human mate and procreate would be his ultimate scientific success. Parker eventually finds out all of this, and is disgusted about both the Doctor's experiments and becoming his guinea pig, but it seems he's stuck on the island. The only problem for the doctor is that Parker doesn't seem to want to mate with Lota, and she is already gradually developing back into a panther ...

Eventually, Parker's fiancée Ruth finds out which island he has found abode on and hires one captain Donahue (Paul Hurst) to take her there. Like with Parker, Moreau welcomes Ruth with the greatest hospitality - basically because he thinks it would be a much easier task to have her mate with (= being raped by) one of his animal man than make Parker get intimate with Lota. Now even Moreau's right-hand-man Montgomery (Arthur Hohl) turns against him though, and he warns his guests and heps them device a plan to escape. During this though, Dinahue is killed by one of Moreau's animal men acting under express orders by Moreau. This ruins the delicate balance of the animal-people held in check by the Sayer of the Law (Bela Lugosi), and now the animals turn against their master, ultimately tearing Moreau to pieces. The others escape though, only Lota is allowed to die a heroine's death.


It seems that H.G.Wells' novel Island of Doctor Moreau is doomed to spawn one weak adaptation after the next, and this is one of them. Problem here is that the film throws out Wells' perverse and gruesome elements along with the socio-political and even satirical undercurrents to tell a straight-forward adventure story with some sci-fi and horror elements. And even as that, the film isn't particularly good, just a routine, sometimes even a bit heavy-handed adventure flick that has a certain assembly-line feel to it and that totally underuses Bela Lugosi, who on top of that is hidden under ridiculous makeup. Well, at least the always dependable Charles Laughton makes a good villain ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD