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Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain
Directed by Charles Band
Written by Earl Kenton
Starring Peter Donald Badalamenti II, John Patrick Jordan, Lorielle New, Steve Quimby
Produced by Kurt Iswarienko, Johnny Nisbet, Mitchell Welch
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to be afraid. Be very afraid.
Not because of the scariness of the content you’re about to see if you’re dumb enough to rent you a copy of “Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain,” but because of how magnificently puerile and lousy the content is.
The only thing scary about “Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain” is that it got made in the first place.
So what we have here is the story of a young man with a rare blood disease. And when that young man heads out to get that rare blood disease cured by a fellow named Dr. Moreau, he goes missing.
His brother, thusly, sets out in search of our diseased young man, and what he finds defies explanation—an island populated solely by half-human, half-animal beings called “manimals” and their deranged genius creator, Dr. Moreau.
Who am I kidding? This doesn’t defy explanation. This no more defies explanation than the number of fingers on our right hands. It says right on the back of the box that this is some kind of sequel to H.G. Wells’ classic literary work: “The Island of Doctor Moreau.” Which, frankly scares me, and I’ll tell you why shortly.
So then, the brother, Eric, manages to find his brother, who has become a manimal himself, and thus convinces the other manimals to rise up against Moreau and rejoin civilzation.
Which is a pathologically stupid idea anyway—where, exactly, will they go, the suburbs? I can just see that one:
“Hey, honey…you see the new family who moved in across the street? I swear the husband looks like a pig and the children have been digging in our garbage for the last three hours. They killed a raccoon that was going after it about fifteen minutes ago.”
So as to why this scares me green, in case you haven’t been reading the above captions I add in, or you haven’t seen them yet, this has been directed by Charles Band. Longtime horror divas will know right away, Charles Band is the man responsible for a goodish chunk of Full Moon Entertainment’s direct to video library, among them the entire Puppet Master series, Tomb of Terror, Birth Rite, and a horde of others, on display here for the truly obsessed among you:
You’re going to put a classic work of literature, from H.G. Wells, no less, the father of modern American science fiction, in the hands of a man whose primary responsibility for the last thirty odd years has been direct to video titles that virtually no one has ever heard of.
Why am I forced to think that this can’t possibly end well?
This is like putting a Ferrari in the hands of a Hyundai repairman. This is roughly akin to having a Piper Cub pilot fly an SR-71 Blackbird. Just because he can work a calculator, he is not qualified as a quantum physicist. It just doesn’t WORK.
And it really doesn’t work well. The first ten minutes watch like a poorly done forties detective picture, complete with lines like “dame,” “gumshoe,” and “clam up.” In fact, the more you watch, the more it looks like Dick Tracy with more blood, primary colors and DeSotos and all.
And of course, it’s not a Charles Band picture until an unknown actress removes her top. Charles covers this particular waterfront within the first seven minutes.
The ending packs more blood, violence and disgusting things than you thought could be packed into a measly five minutes of film. There’s even a small but not too unexpected surprise waiting.
The special features include merely a pair of trailers for Doctor Moreau’s House of Pain and Puppet Master: The Legacy.
All in all, Doctor Moreau’s House of Pain is indeed what you’d expect from the truly brainless idea of giving the keys to major literary fiction to a Z-grade hack who wouldn’t know quality cinema if it crawled up his pant leg and started licking him.
Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.
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