Thursday, July 23, 2015

LOST SOUL: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley's The Island Of Dr. Moreau (Blu-ray Review) - Severin Films

Directed By: David Gregory
Starring: Richard Stanley, Fairuza Balk, Hugh Dickson
Color/100 Minutes/Not Rated
Region A
Release Date:

The Film
In 1995 Richard Stanley was an and up and coming horror director with two successful films (Hardware, Dust Devil) under his belt when he got the opportunity to helm his dream project - an adaptation of The Island Of Doctor Moreau. The film was to be an epic, and production was a much larger scale than any production he had worked on previously including starring roles from Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. Unfortunately just days into the production Stanley's plan began to unravel and quickly became one of the most infamous film production disasters in history.

Featuring interviews with Richard Stanley, co-star Fairuza Balk, and numerous production members and executives LOST SOUL digs deep into the story behind this doomed production which turned into something quite different than Stanley's original vision. We learn of everything from Richard Stanley being removed from the project to his disappearance and just why Marlon Brando wears an ice bucket hat in the film that eventually got made.

LOST SOUL leaves no stone left unturned and immediately pushes you deep into the circus world that was the production of The Island Of Dr. Moreau. With each passing anecdote from the set, or the hotel, or the jungles of Australia that surrounded the cast and crew you bear witness to a drug fueled frenzy of huge egos, strange personalities and ample paychecks while wasting away under the sun. This major motion picture turned into a carnival of insanity and debauchery filled with human/animal hybrids, midgets and Brando.

This documentary chronicles the single most interesting film production story of all time. While it would have been interesting to see Richard Stanley's vision come to life we instead get what could be considered an opus of film production documentaries. And a damn entertaining one at that.

The Audio & Video
Severin Films delivers a gorgeous looking Blu-ray chock full of beautiful sit down interviews in pristine high definition and heaps of behind the scenes footage from the production that doesn't look as sharp and pretty but has clearly been upgraded to HD. The English audio is handled with a 2.0 Dolby Digital track that sounds crisp and clear. There's no damage to the audio track or any sort of background noise. A stellar A/V job overall.

The Extras
-Outtakes - extended interviews including a largely extended segment with Richard Stanley
-Graham Humphreys Concept Art Gallery w/ commentary by Richard Stanley
-Archive interview with John Frankenheimer
-"Barbara Steele Recalls Moreau" audio interview
-The Beast Of Morbido featurette
-The Hunt For The Compound featurette
-Boar Man Diary featurette

NOTE: A 3 Disc Blu-ray set is available which includes an expanded selection of special features such as a recently discovered German adaptation of Moreau from 1921, and a reading of the story by Richard Stanley and more.

The Bottom Line
One day yet we may get to see a version of Richard Stanley's vision come to life but until then (and who am I kidding, even after then) LOST SOUL is a critical piece of film documenting the strangest, wildest and perhaps biggest failure of a film production of all time.

LOST SOUL is available HERE

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