Island of Dr. Moreau, The (1977)
An Englishman named ‘Montgomery’ is stranded with a lost companion on a deserted tropical island where he is rescued by Dr. Moreau, a genius in genetics, pursuing altruistic medical miracles to alleviate mankind from incurable maladies — although his methods are questioned, but it is maintained that the ends justify the means. He continues to make strides to this effect until perfidiously antagonistic organisms deem to thwart his noble efforts, who eventually become subjects themselves for his experiments, thus contributing far more to his vision rather than merely complaining about it.
Down in the jungle outside of his compound reside some of his genetic creations, man-beasts, veritable ‘humanimals’ of various species, from a bearman, boarman, to hyenaman, lionman, tigerman, bullman, and a monkeyman who is “The Sayer of The Law” (small portion follows):
“Not to go on all fours: this is The Law. Are we not men?”
“Not to show our fangs in anger. Are we not men?”
“Not to snarl or roar. That is The Law. Are we not men?”
“What Is The Law? Not to shed the blood of another man. That is The Law.”
An obvious treatise on civility to temper impulsive feral proclivities. Those beastmen who violate this law are taken to “The House of Pain” for ‘correction’… for Moreau elucidates that if this discipline is not enforced, the beastmen would run wild and surely kill their human counterparts. Much like the lion who must not be allowed to overtake the master even in jest, lest he begin to dominate the trainer.
What this film demonstrates is the necessary realization and connection to one’s natural animalistic state, lest imbalance tranform the denier into a broken creature. Dr. LaVey’s infamous quote comes to mind:
“There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised.”
One particularly notable scene depicts the stubbornly independant bullman fighting for his mental freedom, as he denies ‘the law’ and questions what is so wrong with realizing that one is an animal? Out in the bush, he vanquishes tiger with the obvious shedding of blood, and thereby becomes subject to the punishments of The House of Pain, but would rather run free and even die than suffer that indignity. Sadly for him, the consequence is lethal at the gunpoint of Montgomery, which then begins to raise other questions in the minds of the beastmen, as they slowly begin to realize the double-standards and hypocrisies enacted by the humans, in a likened “do as I say, not as I do” scenario, which does not sit well with them at all, and they begin to revolt. Revolution is the first step to evolution.
Beautiful resident orphan Maria (the gorgeous brunette, Barbara Carrera) who was also rescued by Moreau as a child falls in lust with Montgomery, and remains with him through his transformation into manimal at the hands of Moreau, after he displays inclinations towards betrayal and becomes an experiment — as his senses and instincts sharpen, excellerated pilose generation, legs to haunches, with an incessant desire to kill prey for food — but he remains in control of his civility nonetheless…
[- Draconis Blackthorne]