Mini Review Day 13: Island Of Lost Souls (1932)
I am really not sure how I never ended up seeing this film until recently; sometimes they just slip through the cracks. Being a big fan of Bela Lugosi, I’ve managed to see a good chunk of his work and this was just one that I never got around to. Island Of Lost Souls is an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The Island Of Dr. Moreau; it has been awhile since I have read that. I do recall feeling unsettled over some ideas, and seeing them executed in this film left me feeling that same way, perhaps even more so.
The story is well known; Dr. Moreau lives on an island where he conducts experiments on humans and animals, which result in some gruesome creations. Everything is rather secretive there, that is until Edward Parker gets left there and finds out about the experiments. What really works here is how daring it was for its time, and it was not really well received. There are scenes that even now are not easy to watch, and the created creatures are rather sad. In some ways this film has elements of Tod Browning’s Freak and James Whale’s Frankenstein. With Dr. Moreau (Charles Laughton) baring a resemblance to the madness that sits inside Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive). And the creatures sharing a few things in common with ‘the freaks’ especially with how it turns out.
This is a fascinating and intriguing film; a really well made one with some fine performances. It is well worth seeking out and seeing if you have not, it is miles better than the mid 90’s film. There is a lot to love and admire about the film, and I really hope I can score the Criterion at some point.
Mini Review Day 14: The Hamiltons (2006)
I had been quite hesitant to sit down and watch The Hamiltons, and I am not even sure why. I guess the mixed reactions when it came out, and the difficultly in finding it just turned me off. Strange as I had no idea what it was even about, and with a sequel now out I felt compelled to look for it. I was driven to place this on the list from a recommendation by my lovely friend Zara. Now having seen the film, I am wondering why I was so hesitant, it was at least for me entertaining and not too bad at all.
The story is about a group of siblings, who are left to look after themselves after the death of their parents. But their behaviour is anything but normal; they are kidnapping victims and holding them in the basement. That is about as much as I feel comfortable in revealing, as this film really relies on the audience not knowing too much about it (which worked for me). Sure you can figure things out if you are paying attention, but it is the ride itself that contains the real interest, not so much the twist.
I felt the second half of the film was much stronger than the first, it started off okay enough but it felt a bit too much ‘been there and done that’ for my liking. But once it hits the middle it really becomes its own thing, at least it felt a lot fresher. It becomes harrowing stuff, and the characters feel a lot more interesting. Yes it is uneven but it is worth sticking through to get to the good stuff. It is a cheap film, but it made good use of its small budget, for the most part it was well handled. The acting is all right; some are better than others as a few just didn’t feel too comfortable with their roles. Overall this was a solid effort from the duo known as The Butcher Brothers.
You can view my entire list of 31 Days Of Horror 2012 HERE