nathaxnne <3 [hiatus]’s review published on Letterboxd:
Although I would have LOVED for the world to have had a mid-90's Richard Stanley Island Of Dr. Moreau I am probably one of the few people (cast and crew of the film that was made included) to be even happier that the thoroughly mad big-budget studio disaster version we have exists. Most films like this get shut down and indeed there were forces at work trying to shut down this movie but it was in the end completed and the psychedelic collision of powers that were resulted in something that can be truly said to be without controlling authorship. Things happen in this movie that are not normally allowed to happen in Hollywood movies, things that are sovereign, which happen just because they did that day and people went along with them in order to make them happen. I saw Island Of Dr. Moreau when it was new in theatres and I could not believe what I had just witnessed and that sensation of stepping out of the theatre into the subtropical heat of 1996 Gulf Coast Florida, completely dazed and attempting to process is a state which has never left me, 21+ years later. Richard Stanley paid the most dearly for what occurred and the fact that we have not had a steady stream of Richard Stanley movies over the past 21+ years makes me the saddest and the anger and sorrow evinced by Fairuza Balk in her tears of fury and loss is painful to watch. What the world was given were the most eccentric performances of both Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer who apparently were locked in a fatal death-spiral with one another. This is one of my favorite movies which I have watched again and again, fascinated that it exists at all. I am sure this is cold comfort to anyone who put their heart and soul into the Richard Stanley film only to have it deliquesce into a seemingly never-ending nightmare. For that I am deeply sorry but know that 1996's Island Of Dr. Moreau has a lifelong fan in me, not because it is a terrible movie but because it is an awesome movie, something that never should have been yet lives, which makes it the MOST fitting adaptation of its source material in a way that would have been impossible to render through intentional acts.
PS: As a final note I must say that having watched now a bunch of footage of one of Richard Stanley's bookshelves, there is A LOT of overlap with my own now dearly departed library, even down to specific editions which in one sense seems like of course given age/interests but then also seems somewhat eerie too? It is like being put in that position where at a party in someone's house you don't know very well and are extremely nervous you check out their library/music collection and then really like that person based upon what you find there even though you haven't really talked at all and might not ever? Like that. I haven't even really READ books since sometime in the mid-00's because all I do is watch horror movies and carry on about them in the fashion that you, dear readers, have come to know and largely tolerate! <3