In the umpteenth take on H. G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, Charles Band takes the concept and runs with it, but takes it off of the island and sets it in a mansion where his evil doctor experiments on people, turning them into animal hybrids with varying degrees of success.
As with all films, some praise this movie as being somewhat authentic to its noir-themed roots while other think it one of the worst that Band has ever created. To be fair, it falls somewhere in the middle with cheesy dialogue that that mimics better films from the past, yet has some performances from the cast that make the best of which they are given, all that is except for John Patrick Jordan who is simply put, awful. The best of the bunch would include Peter Donald Badalamenti II as manimal Gallagher and Lorielle New as the feline-like Alliana who for the most part, would be nude throughout the film and look at least, far better than the practical effects used to bring the creatures to life. Surprisingly though, considering the minimalistic budget that Band usually works with on his films, those monsters looked decent, better than they had any right to.
The problem with it all was Dr. Moreau’s reasoning for creating such beings, of which there seemed to be none other than the fact that he was able to. As for Jordan who starred, he and his compatriots who found themselves in Moreau’s house of pain were only there out of curiosity and one would think, that after seeing a woman punch a hole in a man’s head, following her into a spooky old house would be the last thing someone would do. Despite the blood and gore and crazy antics of the creatures and only running a little over an hour long, the film still felt like it plodded along which took away from the horror that Band was looking to create.
Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain is Charles Band not quite at his best, but thankfully not at his worst. It is a nice break from the more ridiculous fare that he produces, but still a far cry from the classics he made ten to twenty years previous.
2.5 out of 5