Thursday, June 3, 2010


The Arizona State legislature passed a bill about a month ago banning human-animal hybrids. Now, there are those who may think that this only adds to the impression so many people have of our state as a seething hotbed of batshit paranoid fantasists, but that’s only because, well, they haven’t seen enough movies. Wait until they get a load of Splice, opening Friday.


Monster-of-the-Week: … both in tribute to the AZ Legislature & in anticipation of Splice, this week’s Freak-of-Honor is The Sayer of the Law, the most eloquent of the animal-men from the 1933 movie Island of Lost Souls, the first & best version of the H.G. Wells novel The Island of Dr. Moreau.

The Sayer, unforgettably played by Bela Lugosi, leads his fellow unfortunates in reciting the quasi-religious Law set down by mad scientist Moreau (Charles Laughton), who’s obsessed with turning them from critters into humans. His unintentionally ironic responsorial:

Q: What is the Law?

A: Not to go on all fours, that is the Law. Are we not men?

Q: What is the Law?

A: Not to eat meat, that is the Law. Are we not men?

Q: What is the Law?

A: Not to spill blood, that is the Law. Are we not men?

By the end, of course, they’ve learned how to act truly human…

Devo adapted this liturgy for their beloved 1977 “Jocko Homo.” The film has been remade twice, both times using the Wells novel’s title. Richard Basehart played the Sayer in the 1977 version & Ron Perlman played him in the 1996 version—good actors both, but neither as memorable in the part as Lugosi…

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