Island of Lost Souls (1932)


The movie Island of Lost Souls (1932) is an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel “The Island of Doctor Moreau.” Directed by Erle C. Kenton, the film follows the story of Edward Parker, a shipwrecked traveler who finds himself stranded on a mysterious island. The movie Island of Lost Souls (1932) introduces us to Dr. Moreau, a scientist who has established his domain on this isolated island.

Edward Parker, a castaway, is saved by a freighter en route to a secluded island in the South Seas, the domain of the enigmatic Dr. Moreau. A confrontation with the ship’s inebriated captain over the mistreatment of M’ling, a beastly passenger, results in Parker being cast into the sea, only to be picked up by Montgomery, Moreau’s associate. Upon arrival, Parker is greeted by Moreau and introduced to Lota, a woman purportedly of Polynesian descent. Disturbed by agonizing cries from the “House of Pain,” Parker uncovers the truth of Moreau’s ghastly experiments on a humanoid creature.

Moreau, attempting to placate Parker, recounts his scientific journey from accelerating plant evolution to reshaping animals into human forms through radical procedures. His work, once conducted in London, led to his exile after a hybrid’s escape caused public uproar. Moreau conceals Lota’s true pantherine origins from Parker, who is unwittingly part of Moreau’s latest experiment on human emotion and reproduction.

As Lota’s affection for Parker blossoms, her animal traits begin to resurface, prompting Parker to confront Moreau. The revelation of Lota’s nature and Moreau’s intentions ignites Parker’s fury. Meanwhile, Ruth Thomas, Parker’s fiancée, learns of his whereabouts and ventures to the island, where she and Parker are persuaded to stay overnight by Moreau.

Chaos ensues as Ouran, a simian hybrid, attempts to invade Ruth’s quarters, and Moreau’s control over his creations wanes. The beast-men, liberated from the Law by Moreau’s own transgressions, revolt, leading to Moreau’s demise within his own House of Pain. Amidst the turmoil, Parker and Ruth, aided by Montgomery’s change of heart, seek escape. Lota sacrifices herself to save them from Ouran, and the island is consumed by fire, eradicating Moreau’s abominable legacy.


  • Charles Laughton as Dr. Moreau
  • Richard Arlen as Edward Parker
  • Leila Hyams as Ruth Thomas
  • Bela Lugosi as Sayer of the Law
  • Kathleen Burke as Lota the Panther Woman
  • Arthur Hohl as Montgomery
  • Stanley Fields as Captain Davies
  • Paul Hurst as Donahue
  • Hans Steinke as Ouran
  • Tetsu Komai as M’ling


The film was controversial upon its release due to its disturbing content and was banned in several countries.

The makeup and effects used to create the ‘manimals’ were groundbreaking for the time and contributed to the film’s eerie atmosphere.


“The film is dripping with atmosphere: the dark forests, the great make up and prosthetic work on the beast-men, and Moreau himself all add to a sense of creepiness. ” [3]

“While Island of Lost Souls diverges from H.G. Wells’ original novel in terms of narrative focus and character portrayals, it successfully captures the essence of the story’s darker themes and explores them through its unique visual and atmospheric presentation. ” [4]


[1] IMDb

[2] Wikipedia



Last updated byCody Meirick on December 21, 2023