Sunday, June 24, 2012

Island of Lost Souls 1932

I have no excuses for not writing for so long.  OK, I have a few.  Here we go:
  1. I am a lazy bitch
  2. Got a big job promotion (yeah me!). Increased drinking due to job promotion has prevented me from watching any films start to finish.
  3. I was reading 50 Shades of Grey.  It was so horrible I lost all faith in humanity and art. 
  4. I am so pissed that a horrible writer like the person who wrote 50 Shades of Grey is now a millionaire that I stopped writing.
  5. I am so ashamed of my envy over this 50 Shades of Grey thing that I stopped writing.
  6. Game of Thrones was on.
  7. I am so confused over Prometheus that I was worried if I absorbed anything else my brain would literally explode.


What got me out of my funk was not Prometheus, although I will speak to that at a later time, but a little ditty known as Island of Lost Souls.  I wasn't planning on watching this film, but I was SO LAZY that when it came on TCM I got sucked in.  The other choices were getting up or watching "Bitchin Kitchen" which I am convinced is produced by the Devil.  Island of Lost Souls is a Paramount film from 1932.  It features Bela Lugosi in a very small but disturbing role.  This was shortly after the release of Universal's Dracula so it is no wonder they put his name on the poster.  Small aside, 1932 was an awesome year for Lugosi.  Not only did he have a role in this film, but he also starred in Murders in the Rue Morgue and White Zombie.  Here he plays the "Sayer of the Law," a half man/half animal sort of creature created by one Dr. Moreau, played by the amazing Charles Laughton.

Laughton is absolutely bananas in this.  He is so freaky as Dr. Moreau that he made a guest appearance in my stress zombie nightmare the night I watched this.  Not only does Laughton look menacing (he looks a bit like a pig, I'm not gonna lie), every expression, glance, inflection, tells the audience that this is a very, very bad man.  I have never really been a huge fan of Laughton (except as a director: Night of the Hunter is the bee's knees) but I am now. 

OK, if you haven't guessed Island of Lost Souls is an adaptation of H.G.Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Wells apparently disliked the film, with it's emphasis on horror.  Island of Lost Souls is one of the last "Pre-Code" horror films and it has it all: torture (a "House of Pain" is mentioned frequently), animal experiments, the suggestion of bestiality, gore, murder, Charles Laughton.  What more could you want?  Plus, the "Panther Woman", played by the lovely Kathleen Burke, who won a nationwide contest to appear in the film. 

Spooky, atmospheric, over the top: Island of Lost Souls is just a perfect horror film.  It saved me from my rut.  Horror always pulls me out of whatever abyss I find myself in.  That is why I love it so.  Now tell me Bela: What is the Law?

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