ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932)

Dir. Erle C. Kenton

Although a box-office failure on initial release, thanks partly to censorship problems, this early horror film is now regarded as a cult classic and the definitive screen translation of H.G. Wells' novel The Island of Doctor Moreau. Although it sticks closely to his tale of a mad scientist (Charles Laughton) trying to transform animals into humans on a remote Pacific island, Wells didn't care for the adaptation, claiming it made the doctor too sadistic. Yet Laughton's characterization, reportedly modeled on his eye doctor, was a major influence on similar portrayals to come. Equally inspirational was Wally Westmore's makeup for the animals, with the beast men inspiring generations of werewolves and other screen creatures. Bela Lugosi, forced by financial problems to take a small role as the Sayer of the Law, is clearly recognizable under the fake fur. Some sources claim that future stars Buster Crabbe, Alan Ladd and Randolph Scott also appeared in heavy makeup. The film inspired numerous remakes and imitations, and a song by Blondie and the rap group House of Pain, named for Laughton's operating room.

ISLAND OF LOST SOULS
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