Sunday, April 24, 2016


Murders In The Zoo Movie Review

Eric Gorman (Lionel Atwill) is a zoologist intent on bringing the world its greatest zoo, filled with all the exotic animals he has rounded up from around the world--unfortunately, his hussy of a wife, Evelyn (Kathleen Burke), can't keep her eyes (or hands) off other men, driving Eric to a raging jealousy he cannot control. How ever will Eric seek his revenge on the objects of Evelyn's desires?

"Ooh, we'll help, we'll help!"

This 1933 movie is known as a "Pre-Code" film--simply put, it is a movie that was released before a bunch of people got together and said "Hey, there's a lot of stuff we ought not allow in widely released motion pictures!" and thus created a code, followed by ratings, and so forth (thanks college degree!). This is why, in this film, we see things such as Evelyn whoring around (though her portrayal is beyond tame by today's standard), animals used as murder weapons, and real animals having real fights with other real animals, something that REALLY turned me off to this film. The acting is fair enough--Atwill actually does a really good job as the psychopath, and Burke is effective as Evelyn.

She sees a's not her husband

We even get a look at western movie superstar Randolph Scott much earlier in his career. Though this movie has its fair share of horror and darkness, it, most unfortunately, is also filled with really, really bad humor, primarily at the hands of Charles Ruggles as drunkard Peter Yates.

"Watch me make an otherwise decent movie practically unwatchable!"

To put this into perspective--imagine watching The Exorcist but with occasional appearances by Jerry Lewis...and now I know what I'll be picturing as I drift off to dreamland tonight. In many circles Murders In The Zoo is considered a classic--to me, it comes off more as an early exploitation film that really wanted to push the envelope, but buckled and threw in loads of nonsense to soften the blow. With a run time of just 62 minutes it may be worth watching once, but once was more than enough for me.  

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

I couldn't find the trailer, so enjoy the first 105 seconds of Murders In The Zoo--at least it's Yates Free

1 comment:

  1. I need to post my review on this one as well this week. But I liked it for what it was. It was a different kind of murder mystery.