“His is the hand that makes. His is the hand that hurts. His is the hand that heals. His is the House of Pain. He who breaks the law shall be punished back to the House of Pain.” And you definitely don’t want to go to the House of Pain. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they take another trip to the tropics to visit H. G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 166 – The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)
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Synopsis: A shipwrecked survivor discovers a remote island owned by a crazed scientist who is carrying out sinister experiments on the island’s inhabitants.
- Director: Don Taylor
- Writers: Al Ramrus & John Herman Shaner (screenplay); (1896 novel by) H. G. Wells
- Cinematography by: Gerry Fisher (director of photography)
- Makeup department:
- Selected cast:
- Burt Lancaster as Dr. Paul Moreau
- Michael York as Andrew Braddock
- Nigel Davenport as Montgomery
- Barbara Carrera as Maria
- Richard Basehart as Sayer of the Law
- Nick Cravat as M’Ling
- The Great John L. as Boar-Man
- Bob Ozman as Bull-Man
- Fumio Demura as Hyena-Man
- Gary Baxley as Lion-Man
- John Gillespie as Tiger-Man
- David S. Cass Sr. as Bear-Man (as David Cass)
Chad picked The Island of Dr. Moreau because it “wowed” him as a kid. Watching it now, he can see its flaws but still likes it. Burt Lancaster, Michael York, and the Humanimal special effects makeup are high points for him.
Jeff loved the book and was irritated by the plot changes in this movie version when he first saw it in the theater back in the day. Now, the first half seems like a lot of running through the jungle, but the tension ramps up as soon as Moreau begins transforming Michael York’s character. When he first saw the movie, Bill had read the Marvel comic book and was bitterly disappointed that the ending of the film had been cut and didn’t match the Marvel version. For him, The Island of Dr. Moreau is not terrible but will always reside in the shadow of Island of Lost Souls (1932). He also laments that most of the story takes place in the daylight which hurts the makeup effects. When he first saw The Island of Dr. Moreau, Doc was not a fan and his opinion has not changed. While he appreciates the effort and the cast, it just seems like a weak sauce compared to the gravitas of Island of Lost Souls.
Despite the 70s Grue-Crew’s lukewarm reception, they all agree that The Island of Dr. Moreau is worth a watch. At the time of this writing, the film can be streamed from Tubi and several PPV sources. The film doesn’t appear to be currently available on domestically produced physical media.
If you’re a fan of H. G. Wells’ work, check out these other Decades of Horror episodes:
- FOOD OF THE GODS (1976) — Episode 28 — Decades Of Horror 1970s
- DEAD OF NIGHT (1945) – Episode 31 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era (The Golfer’s Story segment based on “The Story of the Inexperienced Ghost” by H. G. Wells)
- THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933) – Episode 50 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era
- ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932) – Episode 98 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era
- THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953) – Episode 125 – Decades Of Horror: The Classic Era
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule, chosen by Doc, will be A Reflection of Fear (1973) starring Sondra Locke, Robert Shaw, and Sally Kellerman.
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