island of lost souls

dave kehr’s review of one of the disc releases of the year, one of the best horror films ever made, only a couple years out of the silent age

The enduring mystery of “Island of Lost Souls” is how these variously perverse elements were so well and suggestively blended together by Erle C. Kenton, a director known mainly for comedies. For a filmmaker who could be remarkably offhanded, Kenton’s work here seems amazingly controlled and inventive. In the movie’s most stylistically innovative sequence (which is also one of its creepiest) Kenton portrays the rising anger among Moreau’s victims by having a series of the island’s man-beast actors, led by Lugosi, stride one by one from middle distance into extreme close-ups, thrusting their disfigured faces at the audience in an effect that seems almost three-dimensional.

in great britain, it was banned until 1958, 26 years after its initial release. it’s still pretty disturbing 80 years later.

essential for laughton fans, and devo fans too.


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