Say hello to King Kong’s second cousins

Island of Lost Souls isn’t as well known as The Most Dangerous Game, which immediately preceded it (in 1932), or King Kong, which came out a few months later. But the three films have a lot in common—starting with how much fun they are to watch.

Based on H. G. Wells’s 1896 novel The Island of Dr. Moreau, Island of Lost Souls features a young Charles Laughton (in a role Marlon Brando would someday play) as the master of an island where the natives aren’t at all what they first appear to be. (Contrary to popular wisdom, “The natives are restless” is not a line from the movie but was inspired by it. So was “Are we not men?”) Wells hated the film. But it stands up remarkably well, and some of its pre-Code shenanigans are still sexy, and shocking. We’re lucky to be seeing it again, on DVD and Blu-Ray. (Available on October 25.)

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. Say hello to King Kong’s second cousins