The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) – WTF Happened to This Horror Movie?!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

A new episode of our video series WTF Happened to this Horror Movie?! has been released – check it out in the embed above! – and this time we're digging into one of the most fascinating "doomed productions" ever, the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau. (Watch the movie HERE.)

Based on an 1896 novel by H.G. Wells, the film was originally going to be directed by Richard Stanley, who was becoming a popular name in the horror genre at the time. Unfortunately, the production was a mess from the moment the cast and crew arrived on set. Stanley was fired, cast members quit, co-stars Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer exhibited strange behavior while dealing with tragedy and heartbreak. John Frankenheimer was brought on to replace Stanley at the helm, but he couldn't save the sinking ship. If ever there was a film to ask "WTF Happened to this Horror Movie?!" about, it's The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The synopsis: 

Dr. Moreau is a brilliant geneticist on the brink of superseding evolution. When a U.N. diplomat visits Moreau's laboratory, he uncovers fantastic but brutal experiments turning animal life forms into human-like beasts. As Moreau and his assistant race toward their barbaric goal of creating the perfect life form, the beasts revolt, threatening not only the island but ultimately all mankind!

This is what the WTF Happened to This Horror Movie series is all about: 

Hollywood has had its fair share of historically troubled productions. Whether it was casting changes, actor deaths, fired directors, in-production rewrites, constant delays, budget cuts or studio edits, these films had every intention to be a blockbuster, but were beset with unforeseen disasters. Sometimes huge hits, sometimes box office bombs. Either way, we have to ask: WTF Happened To This Horror Movie?

Some previous episodes of the series can be seen below, and more can be found on our JoBlo Horror Videos channel!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.