Island of Lost Souls (Masters of Cinema) (Steelbook Edition) DVD+Blu-ray
This product should be despatched within 2 working days. Despatched from the UK. Delivery timesUsually 2-3 days to reach UK addresses. Europe takes around 2 days longer and International destinations take 1-2 weeks
FREE to UK addresses.
Costs to other countriesUK: Free
Western Europe: £3.50
Rest of the world: £5.25
If you are unhappy with your purchase, you can return it to us within 14 days. More details
Related Special Offers
Directed by Erle C Kenton
Produced in 1932
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
A year after its masterful take on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Paramount revved up its efforts to capitalise on the contemporary Hollywood horror wave with this adaptation of HG Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau.
It succeeded almost too well; the re-titled Island of Lost Souls both out-horrored Universal’s Frankestein and Dracula while giving MGM’s Freaks a run for its money. At least this was the view of the British Board of Film Censors, who banned Lost Souls for 25 years for being ‘too horrible’ and ‘against nature’.
Indeed, this tale of a megalomaniac doctor with God-like pretensions indulging in gene-busting experiments on the mutant population of his isolated, South Seas island is, in its premise, as unsettling for modern audiences attuned to the possibilities of genetic modification as it was to those still reeling from Darwin’s theories at the turn of the 20th Century.
Throw in a permeating air of sexual danger – as the twisted Dr. Moreau encourages his shipwrecked guest Parker (Richard Arlen) to ‘mate’ with the sensual but only half-human Panther Woman, Lota (who is, admittedly, more woman than panther in her pre-Hays code bikini) – and you can see why the BBFC examiners nearly choked on their tea and biscuits.
The film is chiefly of interest now though for a barnstorming performance by a young Charles Laughton. As Moreau, he transcends the movie acting style of the period, staying just this side of chewing even this florid scenery with a sinister, grandiloquent, menacingly unctuous performance that is still pretty unnerving long after other horror turns of the period have become unintentionally funny. (Laughton reportedly based Dr. Moreau on his dentist; you can understand why he might have lived in fear of getting toothache.)
As the ‘real monster’ in this riotous yarn, Laughton towers above the other actors like a monument to high camp, but an unrecognisable Bela Lugosi gives spirited support as the lycanthropic ‘Sayer of the Law’ and Kathleen Burke (who won a competition to take part) is alluring as the darkly feline Lota.
Julian Upton on 25th April 2012
Author of 150 reviews
Regarded as the best screen adptation of HG Wells' classic novel The Island of Dr Moreau and banned in Britain for many years, Island of Lost Souls is a true classic of horror cinema from the early 1930s.
Originally rejected by the BBFC on its original release for being 'against nature', Island of Lost Souls is one of Hollywood's wildest, most notorious, pre-Code pictures. A taboo-flaunting, blood-curdling spectacular, it is the first and best screen adaptation of H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Shipwrecked and adrift, Edward Parker finds himself a guest on Dr. Moreau's isolated South Seas island, but quickly discovers the horrifying nature of the doctor's work and the origin of the strange forms inhabiting the isle: a colony of wild animals reworked into humanoid form via sadistic surgical experiments. Furthermore, Parker quickly begins to fear his own part in the doctor's plans to take the unholy enterprise to a next level.
Featuring a peerlessly sinister performance by Charles Laughton as the diabolical doctor, a sterling appearance by Bela Lugosi as the half-beast-half-man 'Sayer of the Law', and sensationally atmospheric cinematography by the great Karl Struss (Murnau's Sunrise, Mamoulian's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Island of Lost Souls now returns to claim a central position among the most imaginative and nightmarish fantasies from Hollywood's golden age of horror.
Publisher: Eureka / Masters of Cinema
Length: 71 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1 OAR
Cat No: EKA70074
Format: DVD+Blu-ray B&W
Subtitles: , Hard of Hearing - English
- 2 discs
- Newly restored high-definition digital transfer officially licensed from Universal Pictures
- Newly created SDH subtitles on the feature for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Exclusive video interview with Charles Laughton biographer Simon Callow
- Exclusive video interview with film historian Jonathan Rigby
- Original theatrical trailer
- A lavish booklet featuring rare production imagery, and a new essay by Kim Newman.
by Anon on 5th June 2000
This is clearly the best adaption of H.G. Wells' novel. The make up and costumes are just as incredible as the beautiful scenery. Still terrifying after all these deca... Read on
This is clearly the best adaption of H.G. Wells' novel. The make up and costumes are just as incredible as the beautiful scenery. Still terrifying after all these decades, "Island of Lost Souls" was a real kick in the head as to how horror movies should be produced. The entire cast put on a great performance, particularily Bela Lugosi as the sinister "Sayer of the Law". The entire movie is as captivating as it is horrifying, especially in the unbelievably gruesome and disturbing finale. A must see, whether you're fan of this stuff or not. Hide
Tod Browning, 1932
A lady trapeze artist marries a circus midget, then poisons him for his money. The midget’s frien...
James Whale, 1931-35
A double bill of first-rate Universal horror films from James Whale: Frankenstein...