Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)

lost soul the doomed journey of richard stanleys island of dr moreau poster 2014 documentary
8.5 Overall Score

Great, anti-Hollywood documentary

Sometimes a bit all over the place and feels like it is missing some important voices

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lost Soul:  The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau

Studio:  Severin Films

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  August 24, 2014 (London FrightFest Film Festival)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

lost-soul-the-doomed-journey-of-richard-stanleys-island-of-dr-moreau-dogman-mask-director-review

I cut the face off of one of the actors (or I stole this from set…I can’t remember there were a lot of drugs).

Richard Stanley has a vision of H.G. Wells’ 1896 The Island of Doctor Moreau.  When he sets out to make a film of this movie, he is hit back by Hollywood.  Crushed and driven out of his own movie, Stanley and the cast find that the director’s exit is the just the first of the problems as a long and horrible road leads to what is considered one of the worst big budget films of the ’90s.

Directed by David Gregory, Lost Soul:  The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (sometimes just referred to as Lost Soul) was released at London FrightFest Film Festival on August 24, 2014.  The documentary received positive reviews.

I saw The Island of Dr. Moreau in theaters in 1996.  I can remember being excited for it (the trailers promised crazy monsters, wacked out Marlon Brando, and a freak-fest in general).  In 1996, the internet was still taking baby steps so reports of problems with the film were much slower to filter to the public.  I recall watching the movie and thinking:  “What the hell?”  This documentary shows “what the hell?” by diving into the craziness that was the making of this film.

lost-soul-the-doomed-journey-of-richard-stanleys-island-of-dr-moreau-fairuza-balk-back-this-gravy-train-up-documentary-review

Say what?!?!

The Richard Stanley aspect of the film is a bit problematic.  Yes, he had a very, very interesting take on the story that could have been really cool…but in many ways he was a self-destructive force in the making of the movie.  It was too big of a project for him and he doesn’t appear to be very good at making concessions for the problems that pop-up in a major motion picture.  The movie isn’t entirely pro-Richard Stanley, but it definitely favors him.  The especially interesting part of the story is how he snuck back to the set and actually appeared in some scenes as a Beast Man…making for a weird post-modern filmmaking process.

The movie demonstrates a devolution of the cast which creates a weird verisimilitude to the Island of Dr. Moreau story.  The film (as portrayed in the documentary) just seemed to get more and more hostile with feuds between Val Kilmer (who comes off as a bully-brat) and Marlon Brando (who continues his weird reign).

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Frankenheimer is here…everything’s going to be ok now…right?

The movie is very similar to Hearts of Darkness which chronicled Francis Ford Coppola’s struggles with Apocalypse Now…but Coppola had the ability to have more control.  There are two other points of irony in this in that Brando was also involved in that mess and the relationship between Brando and Kilmer seemed very much like his relationship with Dennis Hopper, and Apocalypse Now adapted Heart of Darkness which H.G. Wells accused Conrad of stealing his ideas from The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Lost Soul:  The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau is a good watch, but you really need to see the mess that is The Island of Dr. Moreau first.  I wish that the film had been able to get opinions from the other leads David Thewlis and Ron Perlman who turned down offers to talk and that the movie had more behind the scenes footage or deleted takes.  Overall, the story is quite fascinating and keeps you involved by wondering what will go wrong next.

Related Links:

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

Island of Lost Souls (1933)

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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