we are not Devo, although that famed New Wave band was inspired by this
wonderfully twisted 1933 science fiction-horror film in their song, “Are We Not
Men?—We Are Devo!”Similarly, Danny Elfman
and Oingo Boingo used parts of the “Law” in their song, “No Spill Blood.”The above mantra is used in the picture by a
group of, well, unusual beings.
by Paramount to compete with Universal’s string of successful horror movies,
and directed by Erle C. Kenton, Island of
Lost Souls is nothing short of a masterpiece.Its unsettling nature is similar to that of
1932’s Freaks, in that the horror
comes from imagery of the physically grotesque.It is an influential film that many people have never seen.It was banned in the UK for many years, and
in America the picture was chopped up to varying lengths.It was never released on DVD until now.
movie is based on H. G. Wells’ novel, The
Island of Dr. Moreau, and it has been re-made a couple of times over the
years with that title, but the original version is by far the most effective
and scariest.Charles Laughton is superb
as the misguided Dr. Moreau, whose experiments turn animals into “man-beasts.”Bela Lugosi also appears in a small, but memorable
role as one of the creatures.The
expressionistic photography by Karl Struss could be called a major character of
the film, but the real star is the outstanding makeup on a cast of dozens of
has done the usual splendid job with the new digital restoration, presenting
the film in its completely uncut theatrical version.Film historian Gregory Mank provides an audio
commentary, but of the many extras, the most amusing and interesting is the
discussion of the film by director John Landis, makeup artist Rick Baker, and
genre expert Bob Burns.Also of interest
is an interview with Devo members Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, and a
little-seen early Devo promotional film.
is all great stuff, and Criterion’s release is just in time for Halloween.So pick it up, put on your favorite costume,
ignore the trick or treaters, and put on this movie!You won’t be disappointed.
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