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Island of Lost Souls (1932)

Horror | 67 minutes
3,24 76 votes

Genre: Horror / Scifi

Duration: 67 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Erle C. Kenton

Stars: Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen and Bela Lugosi

IMDb score: 7,4 (11.040)

Releasedate: 24 December 1932


This movie is not available on US streaming services.


Island of Lost Souls plot

"TERROR! Stalked the Brush-Choked Island...Where Men Who Were Animals Sought the Girl Who Was All-Human!"

Richard Parker is shipwrecked and ends up on an island where the mysterious Dr. Moreau is in charge. Richard's idea is to wait for the next boat to come by, but Dr. Moreau has other plans and tries to link Richard to the exotic Lota (who looks quite like a panther). Actually, all the people present look a bit like animals...

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Edward Parker

Ruth Thomas

The Sayer of the Law

Lota the Panther Woman


Capt. Davies

Capt. Donahue

Reviews & comments


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avatar van Halcyon


  • 9952 messages
  • 0 votes

Based on the book by SF writer HG Wells. The story is somewhat in line with Shelley's Frankenstein, in the sense that a scientist wants to create a hybrid race with humans and animals, but here it is told from a different perspective. It is not the monsters that are central, but a castaway who ends up stranded on the island of a certain Doctor Moreau. The viewer is soon introduced to the gruesome experiments of this “mad scientist”. The tropical island feels claustrophobic and oppressive, strangely enough the castaway does not immediately seem to realize the danger that threatens. That is a drawback because it takes the tension out of the film and it mainly becomes a circus attraction for the viewer. Because yes, there are plenty of weirdos. There is a scene where an uprising among the mutants is shown with several close-ups edited in quick succession and it is really - even by today's standards - strange. Although you can see the denouement coming from a mile away, it remains satisfying. Bela Lugosi plays a remarkable role in this film as the informal leader of the mutants. Scenes in which he enters into dialogue with his creator (Doctor Moreau) are intriguing and produce some curious phrases. I often thought back to Tod Browning's Freaks (1932), another film that has effortlessly stood the test of time.

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avatar van Collins


  • 6379 messages
  • 3816 votes

Withstood the test of time quite well.

Not very exciting, but the film does have an ominous atmosphere. The story doesn't have much to it. The progression is predictable. There is little action and the gaps are filled with a lot of explanatory dialogue that is often unnecessary. It occasionally took effort to keep my thoughts from wandering while pronouncing the lyrics. The fact that the quality of most of the acting is disappointing does not help in maintaining concentration, of course.

It's not too bad with the slowness. Assembly is fairly quick. The film's progression has a pleasant pace. The film therefore looks fresher and less dated than other work from the same period.

By the way, I noticed a camera transition that felt strange. I also read it again later on IMDB. When the hero starts at a certain point, he closes his book and takes his pipe out of his mouth. In the next shot he is again sitting with the book open and the pipe in his mouth. As if he wasn't shocked. A funny moment, but at the same time deadly for the tension. Still a nice miss.

The creatures look okay. The monstrous presence appears menacing. A number of crowd scenes are frightening. There is a very nice scene (I also read it in an earlier post) with individual shots of the creatures walking towards the camera in the crowd and shouting something threatening. It looks eerie. Creepy.

Laughton has a good role. Hardly anything is said about the sexy Panther Woman who is grandly announced on the poster, and who I was really looking forward to. Her performance barely impresses and is very well behaved in every respect.


Despite this disappointment, I still saw a nice film.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original