Island of Lost Souls (1932)

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Island of Lost Souls (1932) 71 Min. Erle C. Kenton directed Philip Wylie’s adaptation of H. G. Welles’ The Island of Dr. Moreau in this Pre-Code horror from Paramount Pictures, in which a man (Richard Arlen), thrown off a ship, finds refuge on an obscure island where a doctor (Charles Laughton) is transforming animals into humans.

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Written as a pamphlet against

Vivisection of animals, it sold

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As sci-fi allegory that quibbled

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Over Social Darwinism.

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 H. G. Welles hated this film.

It was banned in England.

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Typical Hollywood, Welles thought,

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Women as exotic panthers,

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Science luxuriating in sadism,

Sexual cannibalism, and ape rape.

 

Social colonialism subtexted

Moreau’s position, white suit and tails

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Sailing halos around his girth,

As he grinned at a gorilla.

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Like an atavistic child who loved

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Scalpels and knives, pensive,

 

Bemused, with languid pauses,

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His surgeon’s hand was firm

On raw meat. His natural selection,

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His, and not God’s, his

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Mutilations that he skinned

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To release the human inside.

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Quite pleased with himself,

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Butterscotch snobbery daubs

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Cherubic, condescending

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To the shipwrecked white hunk

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Whom he eyed with wary adoration,

Wondering if a transgendered woman

Could fool a sailor into bed,

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What might they engender?

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Charles Laughton preened

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Aristocratically divine, channeling

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Oscar Wilde into this character

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Whose trial Welles had attended.

The House of Pain refreshed Moreau;

he enjoyed the screaming things.

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But did Moreau really die?

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He became the Eucharist for

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Beast people, new wave rockers

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From Kent State University shootings

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Who sang about “De-Evolution,”

And then inspired The Mystic Knights

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Of Oingo Boingo, Danny Elfman’s

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Performance group who sang

“What is the law? No spill blood!”

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: Protesters shout "Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes" as (L-R) Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright wait to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee January 29, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Kissinger, Schultz and Albright on the topic of global challenges and U.S. national security strategy. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Look! Look! Look!

 

Look among you. How many

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Are still animals beneath your skin?

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[Disposable Poem June 15, 2016]

Dr. Mike

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

Witness to the Revolution 9780812993189

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