HEAVY MIDNITES: The Island of Dr. Moreau

Moreau FX artist Bruce Fuller in person! The ill-fated making of the notorious ‘96 H.G. Wells adaptation is the stuff of heavy-duty Hollywood legend. Seriously, the new doc Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s “The Island of Dr. Moreau” is a must-watch: an auteur’s years-long struggle to bring a groundbreaking new vision to screen, sidelined by ballooning costs, studio suits, huge egos, bad weather and total jungle madness. The fact that it was completed at all is a miracle — that it turned out so absolutely insane, and was actually released to an unsuspecting public is a godsend to fans of weird cinema. This final product is an f’ing wild ride of outrageous acting, indulgent excess and questionable decisions, all headlined by a lazy, get-me-off-this-set Val Kilmer, and a scene-devouring Marlon Brando truly stealing the show as the ice-bucket-hat Moreau, a gauze-clad god figure to his island of freaks. Throw in excellent Stan Winston creature effects, a feline Fairuza Balk, Ron Perlman as the Sayer of the Law and Nelson de la Rosa — a 28-inch, 22-pound actor forced to hold his own against the rotund Brando — and you’ve got one for the ages.
Dir. John Frankenheimer, 1996, 35mm, 96 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Island of Dr. Moreau”!
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