Coming to the UK from 101 Pictures, The Island of Dr Moreau is a film I am not familiar with. Blame my childhood and my obsession with all things blody and monstrous, but the idea of 'Humanimals' running around an island while a shipwrecked man hides from them just didn't sound like my cup of tea.
Doctor Moreau is turning animals into men on his island, but when a young man is shipwrecked, all hell breaks loose on the island, and events take a turn for the worse. The shipwrecked man discovers Moreau is quite insane as he continues to develop his process of turning animals into men.
After watching the film, I must say my opinion remains pretty much the same, although I can see why people claim this is a cult classic. Strong performances from both Burt Lancaster as Dr Moreau, who turns men into animals (or should that be animals into men) and Michael York as the shipwrecked man out to find out exactly what Moreau is up to both work incredibly well. The make-up creations, handled by John Chambers are rather reminiscent of his work on The Planet of the Apes, but fit the mood of the film perfectly.
The film does contain some rather scary and chilling scenes, but the movie is pretty much a camp sci-fi romp, complete with bare-chested male and an innocent and naive love interest, all pitted against the mad scientist and his hunter body guard. Mind you, it could be argued that Dr Moreau isn't evil at all. He merely takes all moral value out of his experiments, as he believes scientific exploration saves more lives in the long run. Perhaps I am nit-picking though. The movie does manage to make some very intersting points on Science versus nature, and does manage to confront the viewer, even if the movie seems to go nowhere and then hit the viewer with a very abrupt ending.
Another problem I have with the movie is that it seems rather static until near the end, and then the ending hits so abruptly, it leaves you in a state of "well what the hell just happened", and makes the movie feel much less remarkable, as it was just beginning to build up momentum before it ends.
The transfer is nice and clear, but having never seen the movie before, I can make no comparison to other releases of the movie. Unfortunately, there are no extras on the disc whatsoever.
All in all, if you are a fan of campy 70's sci-fi/horror crossovers, then you could do much worse than check The Island of Dr Moreau out. It makes for an entertaining if not a little underwhelming 100 minutes of action. The fact that it does throw some very interesting arguments of nature vs science at least gave me something to cling on to throughout the films running time.
You can buy The Island of Dr Moreau, released on Blu-Ray here in the UK from 101 Films by clicking HERE.