Task: Translating H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau into a modern scare attraction.

I’ve compiled a list of the Beast People that narrator Edward Prendick encounters on the Island:

  • Old Vixen-Bear
  • M’Ling
  • Sayer of the Law
  • Hyena-Swine
  • Puma Woman
  • Wolf People
  • Sloth Creature
  • Ape Man
  • Swine People
  • Leopard Man
  • Ape-Goat presumed to be a Satyr
  • Bull Creature
  • Mare-Rhino
  • Bear-Bull
  • Saint Bernard Dog Man
  • Bloody Ocelot Man (with an injured foot)

Wildlife: moths, hogs, rabbits, rats (Wells 4). Artificial versions of these creatures will run rampant throughout the attraction.

According to the text, there are approximately sixty occupants on the island: “The population of the island, Montgomery informed me, now numbered rather more than sixty of these strange creatures of Moreau’s art, not counting the smaller monstrosities which lived in the undergrowth and were without human form” (Wells 112).

For the actual construction of the scare attraction, I will rely on descriptions of the island, Doctor Moreau’s home, and other scenery as depicted by H.G. Wells in the novel.

Some notes for the scare actors:

  • Those portraying the Beast People will wear synthetic fangs meant to act as incisors.
  • The scare actors will take on an anthropomorphic form through special effects, the combination of makeup and prosthetics alike, and by wearing contact lens.
  • Costumes will appear to be worn rags, off-color linens, or bloodied gauze to give the audience a glimpse of the surgical procedure the Beast People endure.
  • Prosthetics will convey the illusion of surgical incisions and stitches that reveal how the joints of the Beast People have been manipulated into a human form.
  • For my conceptualization of the Beast People, I wanted the sketches to depict anthropomorphic animals or some grotesque caricatures of humanity.
  • Use of fur pelts as possible clothing.

Regarding the attraction, I use the terms “scare house,” “scare attraction,” “haunted house,” and “haunted attraction” to mean the same thing interchangeably.

For all intents and purposes, the narrative for the scare attraction remains linear, but certain aspects from the novel have been cut out.

  • As the guest walks along the guided path, the story progresses. Towards the end of the haunted trail, scare actors will mimic the regression of the Beast People to depict a scene of chaos where they attack one another.
  • To represent the island, guests are escorted along a trail which will direct them to Moreau’s House of Pain.
  • The House of Pain appears to be an ordinary house with a seemingly locked room. This room unlocked as guests are ushered through the maze-like hallways to discover Moreau’s laboratory.
  • Following the House of Pain, guests will return to the trail until they encounter a hut. Within the hut, viewers listen to the Beast People’s recantation of The Law.
  • Guests listen to Moreau’s various monologues throughout the attraction.
  • Guests encounter a repetition of creatures in this Midas-like maze.
  • After listening to the recantation of The Law, guests will promptly encounter the Leopard Man which triggers a chase scene. The scene ends with the Leopard Man being fatally shot by Edward Prendick.
  • Meanwhile, the Puma Woman escapes from the House of Pain which prompts yet another chase scene. Guests witness the struggle between the Puma Woman and Doctor Moreau before both wind up dead in an unfortunate encounter.
  • Guests are never safe: chase scenes may occur at anytime. While the main, narrative scenes occur, other scare actors portraying different Beast People will attempt to rile the guests.
  • It takes approximately two to three hours to walk through the attraction.

Concept Art

In order to aid in the conceptualization process, I’ve created a series of sketches. Each page contains specific notes for the characters (Beast People & Moreau) that I’ve chosen to drawn. The concept art allows for me to decide my next step: choosing cosmetics and prosthetics for the scare actors. The application process will be shown in the final stage.

Concept art for the rabbit skull and bones found throughout the island.

Illustrations of hands.

Concepts for the Hyena-Swine, Swine People, Satyr, & Saint Bernard Dog Man.

Concepts for Moreau & the Puma Woman.

Concepts for the Bull Creatures, Wolf People, and the Mare-Rhino Hybrid.

Concepts for the Sayer of the Law, the Sloth Creature, and the Bear-Bull Hybrid.

Concepts for the Wounded Ocelot Man, Old Vixen-Bear Woman, & the Leopard Man.

Prosthetic Sculpts

Mannequin heads before the sculpting process.

Prosthetic sculpt for the “Old Vixen-Bear Woman.”

Another close-up of the sculpt.

Prosthetic sculpt for The Sayer of the Law.

Close-up of pointed ears for The Sayer of the Law.

I created the sculpts with Polygorm Model Air Clay; it’s an air drying modeling clay that sets within 24 hours. I decided to recreate heads for the Old Vixen-Bear and the Sayer of the Law onto a female and male styrofoam mannequin. Once dry, liquid latex will be applied. The finalized project will show these two pieces as painted.

Visualizing the Scare House

I’ve built a diorama for the trail component of the scare attraction that leads guests to the House of Pain.

I’ve spray-painted the back panel of the diorama to give the illusion of a starry night since the attraction occurs only at night. A bloodied, injured rabbit hides in dense shrubbery. A pile of bloodied bones are meant to emulate the rabbit carcasses strewn about the island; these will inevitably appear in all parts of the scare attraction. To the far left is a gore-splattered, serpentine creature which serves as a special Easter Egg in acknowledgment to a failed creation in the novel: such a monstrosity “lived in the undergrowth” and was “without human form” (Wells 112). The serpentine creature who slithers and wiggles along will be featured as an animatronic.

The trail component urges guests along a dirt path in the middle of a forest. The path ends upon the encounter of Moreau’s home.

The dark wood floor panel is the second floor. This part of the house is intended to be utilized as Moreau’s secret laboratory otherwise known as the House of Pain.

An overview of Doctor Moreau’s home, albeit crudely painted.

An exterior view of Moreau’s home which I assembled, painted, and added foliage to.

The house, which I assembled and glued together, pre-paint job.

A diorama I constructed to demonstrate the landscape surrounding Moreau’s home. Guests will bear witness to a house on the verge of collapse amidst overgrowth.

Digital Aspect

Here’s a Pintrest Board I created as a means of garnering inspiration for the attraction. The images compiled on this board are not my own; I claim no ownership over them. This is for aesthetic purposes. Here’s the board: https://www.pinterest.com/fhaborak/the-house-of-pain/

This is the Tumblr blog I created as a means of concocting some faux advertisement for the attraction. Currently, the blog is under set-up: https://enterthehouseofpain.tumblr.com/

Here is the Instagram page which will detail all works in progress and include make-up tests of the scare actors becoming the Beast People: https://www.instagram.com/enterthehouseofpain/

Regarding Sound

Free to use under Creative Common Licenses, sound effects from freesound.org and freetousesounds.com will be integrated into the attraction. Some examples include:

Next steps for entering the final phase:

  • Render a 3-D model of the attraction’s layout via Sketch Up
  • Generate makeup tests using the prosthetics as well as cosmetics. Prosthetics are kindly received from Cinema Secrets. Post the end results on an Instagram page generated explicitly for this fabricated scare house.
  • Finish turning the Tumblr blog “enterthehouseofpain” into a simulacra of advertisement for the haunted attraction.
  • Create false advertisement (posters) for the scare house (courtesy of interviews conducted on those who have participated in such attractions).
  • Design a few costumes for the scare actors.

Works Cited

Wells, H. G. The Island of Dr. Moreau. Random House Inc., 2002.