By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
In 1996, the sixth adaptation of H.G. Well’s novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau, hit theaters. This adaptation, directed by John Frankenheimer and starring David Thewlis, Marlon Brando, and Val Kilmer was actually not the version of the film originally intended for release. New Line Cinema had originally tapped writer/director Richard Stanley, whose previous films, Hardware and Dust Devil, had gained cult followings. Because of production problems and difficulties with cast members Brando and Kilmer, Stanley was fired by New Line and Frankenheimer got hired to take over. The result is perhaps one of the worst movies ever made in cinema and is definitely the worst adaptation of Wells’ novel.
Directed by David Gregory, Lost Soul reveals the details surrounding this doomed film production and makes its audience members wonder about the kind of film that could have been made had Stanley been allowed to pursue his ambitious vision. For those who can enjoy and appreciate documentaries about problematic film productions such as Lost in La Mancha and Jodorowski’s Dune, this is a must see. I rather enjoyed this film and the programmers of Fantastic Fest tied in a very special show by Master Pancake with this great documentary. The beloved Drafthouse comedy group presented and lampooned the infamous Island of Dr. Moreau movie with special guest Richard Stanley introducing the film and guest Nacho Vigalondo making jokes with the Pancake crew during the movie. The best part, however, was when the group, including Vigalondo, put on a hilarious reenactment of some of the film’s scenes in costumes. Vigalondo donned a Looney Tune’s Tasmanian Devil costume.