Once upon a time, the creative force known as Richard Stanley (Hardware, Color Out of Space) got the opportunity to make his dream project: a big budget adaption of H.G. Wells’ The Island Of Doctor Moreau.
How would a somewhat quiet and totally creative man work within the studio system? Not well, it turns out.
Between witchcraft, natural disasters, changing actors and the sheer gall of stars like Brando and Val Kilmer, Stanley would be replaced within days of shooting his first few cans of film. And yet he’d never go away, somehow hiding amongst the many animals within the film, living within the heart of darkness itself.
Packed with interviews with stars Fairuza Balk, Marco Hofschneider and Rob Morrow, studio executives, crew members and even Stanley himself, the movie that emerges here — directed by David Gregory (Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson, Master of Dark Shadows) — is so much better than the actual film that it discusses.
For what it’s worth, Stanley claims that this film is only sixty percent accurate, with some of the darker events simply glossed over. He also said that he never had four lumps of sugar in his tea, which will make much more sense once you watch this.
I’m biased, as I find Stanley to be a true genius. For more on his life, I recommend the documentary The Otherworld, which is beyond belief.