Island of Lost Souls 1932



Welcome to my review of Island of Lost Souls 1932.



Island of Lost Souls 1932





…From the classic novel by H.G. Wells…





Starring: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen

Directed by: Erle C. Kenton

Ratings: Internet Movie Data Base; 7.6/10 …Rotten Tomatoes; 96%

Our Rating; 8/10

Available from: Amazon or eBay






Island of Lost Souls 1932Island of Lost Souls (1932). A man who’s become shipwrecked is picked up at sea by a freighter carrying a cargo of wild animals, on it’s way to the uncharted island of a Dr. Moreau.

After recovering he’s able to send a message to his fiancé letting her know he is ok and will be taken to Apia where they’re planning to be married.

However things take an unfortunate turn…

After a dispute with the hostile captain while trying to stick up for an unusual looking deck hand, the passenger, Edward Parker is knocked out and thrown overboard while they are docked with Moreau’s vessel.

(The special effect of replacing the actor with a dummy and the impossibly painful way it lands on deck is unintentionally hilarious).


Island of the Grotesque…

Parker is now a guest of the obliging Dr. Moreau and his crew of primitive beast-like “men”. Arriving on the island it’s evident that there are more of these creatures…they’re all around! They inhabit the jungle, caves, trees and even act as servants to Moreau at his “house”.

 This house is more of a zoo-like compound with more wild animals in cages and jungle vines and plants growing everywhere.


…The Exotic

Soon the mysterious doctors’ plans are revealed when he introduces Parker to the Panther Woman -“Lota”, a beautiful and exotic “native” of the island. It’s Moreau’s plan that they should mate to engage in a deranged scientific experiment.


and the Tragic!

It’s around here we are introduced to the “house of pain” as terrible, torturous screams are heard which don’t sound fully human. Parker investigates and is shocked by what he finds. Thinking he’ll be next he decides to flee Moreau’s zoological laboratory and take Lota with him.

They race through the perilous jungle with the intent of escaping on one of Moreau’s boats. However, it’s there that they stumble upon the full extent, the horror’s of the island!


Island of Lost Souls 1932

Beauty and the Beasts…


Aside from an average performance by leading man Richard Arlen (Parker), the remaining cast are excellent with Charles Laughton (Moreau) turning out a performance he seems to have been born for. It’s surely one of cinemas all time classic villains.

Bela Lugosi as the Sayer of the Law is brilliant also, as is Kathleen Burke (The Panther Woman), who won the role in a contest of 60,000 auditions! Her character Lota exudes both sensuality and innocence in the one. Ultimately we are left to feel deep sympathy for her plight.


It’s regrettable there are no sound effects during physical encounters as it’s noticeably lacking. The fight between the captain and Parker for example and later, Montgomery being pounced on from atop the trees.

A controversial piece in it’s time due to the ethical/religious material it presents and the incredible creature make-up, the film was banned in some countries upon release and knocked by the critics.

However, it stands to this day as a brilliant horror classic.





Thank you for reading my review of Island of Lost Souls 1932. Please feel free to offer your opinion or any other comments in the space below.



Available Here From Amazon and eBay




  • Victor says:

    These kind of old movies are great. The effects are so cheesy but it adds so much character. They really are timeless. Thanks for this review. I don’t think I’ve seen this one but I will definitely be checking it out. I really like the setting of the island and all the different types of characters that you describe.

    • admin says:

      Hey thanks Victor! I appreciate you reading. You’re right the primitive effects add to the character of these films. Indeed they are timeless. The first horror’s on film! That, in itself, is fascinating I think!

      Island of Lost Souls is truly one worth checking out as it has the exotic location/feel of the island and great (and somewhat shocking) subject matter. If planning on watching, make sure you find a legitimate copy as there are many bad prints out there. Jamie.

  • MelindaH says:

    Wow! Talk about taking somebody back. I don’t recall ever watching the original movie, but I did watch a remake. It was a pretty good movie. I can imagine what the sound effects sounded like back then. We sure have come a long way. I love watching old movies. 🙂
    ~ Melinda

    • admin says:

      Hehehe. They do take the viewer back don’t they! Even if you havn’t seen the originals, they seem to be familiar in a way. Like we instinctively know what they’re about. We recognize the imagery straight away and feel like we “know” it. The remake you mention may be one of the remakes from Hammer Studios of the 50’s/60’s? Or maybe even a more modern remake. It’s true, the sound effects can seem lacking now days. There are a few scenes in certain classics where I would love to hear even some basic sound effects. Would make a big difference. Studio’s hadn’t quite realized the potential of sound at the time, (Dracula being the very first horror moving on from the “silent era”) however, they would do so in a very short space.

      Thanks very much again for visiting and commenting Melinda! Much appreciated. Jamie.

      • Melinda says:

        I just realized, the movie I watched was The Island of Dr. Moreau, from 1996.

        • jamie says:

          That would be the one with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer yeah? Good movie. I feel like watching that one again myself now. It’s a direct remake of the original “Island of Lost Souls” from 1932.

  • Jason says:

    A classic horror from 1932! That’s awesome.

    I’m a fan of horror movies, just about everyone is I assume lol. But classics like this are nice to come by. No I have not seen this one, or heard of it, but it seems interesting enough.

    I think for me my interest in horror flicks started when I was young and we use to watch Dark Shadows which aired a lot on TV in the afternoon.

    You have a very interesting line up of movies within your website and wanted to thank you for that.

    Also with this particular movie, was there ever a remake?

    • admin says:

      Cool comments Jason, thanks very much. Yep! An undisputable classic from the 30’s. I get an extra sense of appreciation watching the old originals as they established the whole genre!

      Interesting to hear what it was that got you into horror flicks…I’ve never seen Dark Shadows believe it or not! Definitely looks like one I’d get right into though. Really liked the recent movie with Johnny Depp. Very darkly funny hehehe.

      Good question as far as a remake…There have been two! The first came in 1977 and was titled, “The island of Dr. Moreau” (starred Burt Lancaster). Then another in 1996 with the same title, starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer.

      I appreciate you stopping by Jason!

  • Alex says:

    Pros: I liked the review of the Island of the Lost Souls. It paints a good and intriguing picture without giving too much away. I’ll probably go ahead and watch it after what I have read.

    Cons: There is an issue with the youtube trailer. The message says that youtube account was terminated due to copyright infringements. That would cripple people’s trust in the site owner.

    • admin says:

      Jeeze, I’m glad I received your feedback on the YouTube trailer Alex. Thanks very much. I went directly to the page and uploaded a new trailer from YouTube. As these videos are ok to embed onto a site’s page, there must have been an issue with the original upload onto YouTube. I’ve gone ahead and checked all other trailers in other posts too just to make sure they were working ok.

      Again…I’m really glad you pointed that out Alex. It’s definitely not a good look when a video doesn’t work like that. I’ve experienced it myself. I’ll be sure to check on that regularly. Many many thanks friend!

  • Darren says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen this old horror movie before, and I’ve seen a lot of the really old ones. I have seen a more recent remake, though. Something about the old footage make them seem even creepier. I think this 1932 original would be a lot better than the more recent 90s version for sure. I’ll have to go and check it out.

    • admin says:

      You’re so right Darren, the old footage has an extra charm to it, I agree! There’s actually quite a good version from the 70’s starring Burt Lancaster and Michael York called Island of Dr Moreau. Then another from 1996 starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. This 1932 original is the classic superior version without doubt! Effective, unsettling and unforgettable!


  • Michelle says:

    Hello there,

    Thank you very much for the wonderful information, I actually haven’t seen any of these and I absolutely love horror films. Sadly I haven’t really seen any that gives me a good scare at all. I find myself more fascinated by the creativity behind the kills and such. The last thing I remember frightening me was the ring at age 8. Boy, I haven’t felt those creeps again, haha.

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