Man Bear Pig

The Island of Dr. Moreau

Based on an H. G. Wells story, The Island of Dr. Moreau started out in 1933 as Island of Lost Souls. Generic, but serviceable title. Then came the 1977 version (see below). Then came the laughably horrendous remake in 1996. I have yet to see the 1933 adaptation, but I will get to it as soon as I finish eating this here lettuce wrap.

For decades women have been calling men “pigs.” An eminent physiologist with a knack for vivisection, all Dr. Moreau did was run with that concept and turn pigs into men. And baboons and pumas and hyenas into men as well. No man-giraffes, though. Hard to find a collared shirt big enough to fit.

The Island of Dr. Moreau

Moreau genetically engineered a cultured society of beasts – half man/half animal – on his jungle island refuge. That was the easy part. The challenge was getting them to behave like humans. Difficult when all they want to do is rip open someone’s throat to get to the joy inside.

The Island of Dr. Moreau

As these “manimals” learned, there was a price to pay for breaking Moreau’s Law – and that was an escorted visit to the House of Pain, or as I like to call it, a bar. Moreau, acting more like a cult leader than a hybrid specialist, had a reinforcing litany he taught his creations: “His is the hand that makes. His is the hand that hurts. His is the hand that heals. His is the House of Pain. He who breaks the Law shall be punished back to the House of Pain.” Geez, what a hard ass.

The Island of Dr. Moreau

It wasn’t enough to get the hybrids house-broken. Now Moreau expects his experiments to strive for civility and act like human beings. As history illustrates, though, man excels at behaving like animals. Moreau’s argument: “How does a cell become enslaved to a form, to a destiny it can never change? Can we change that destiny?” The answer, of course, is not so much.

The Island of Dr. Moreau

So what exactly goes on in the House of Pain? For starters, you’re forced to listen to rap music. No wonder the animals reverted back to their hard-wired instincts and went shopping for fleshy groceries. In the end, Moreau discovered the animals were acting like men the whole time.

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