Friday, April 29, 2016

Quick Reviews: Black Zoo (1963)

Approximately 30 years after Lionel Atwill went crazy working for a Zoo, we got to see Michael Gough go crazy running one...
One night, this random lady is killed by a Tiger while out for a walk.  New York City, right?
Later at a Zoo, the Owner- Gough- leads a Tour.

Yes, I do realize that this is a terrible Print.  Big deal- wanna fight about it?
As it turns out, Gough is WAY too into his Animals.  He also has a mute sidekick on loan from House of Wax.

He also kills people.  Way to bury the lead, me!
One of his men kills his Tiger, so he is, in turn, fed to a Lion.  The circle of life?
He's also part of a weird Cult that worships the Animals and does a Ceremony to put the Tiger's spirit in a young one.  Nice hat.
After a couple more killings, Gough turns on his wife when she tries to leave.  We eventually learn that the mute sidekick is Gough's son, who went mute when he saw did kill his Mother.

What an ignoble death for Alfred.  The End.
Fun, but dated stuff.  Black Zoo is a fun little Movie that just goes for the crazy.  Tiger attack in the park- check.  Lion attack at home- check.  Sneak attack by a Gorilla- big check!  It is all a bit silly, while also trying to be really dark.  As a result, it almost feels more so at times!  For example, he has a dramatic moment explaining how he won't sell the Zoo to some sleazy guy and then sics a Lion on him (which was just calmly waiting outside).  It is treated so seriously that it really works on a different level.  For his part, Gough nails the role.  He is maniacal in private, but puts on a good show around others.  That said, there is some odd filler with some school children and a monkey show.  I don't know how necessary it was to see the whole performance really.  I guess it was either that or have a really silly Comic show up every 10 minutes.  All in all, Black Zoo is a bizarre, hidden gem.  It is apparently available on DVD, although MGM only trusts the market enough for a 'burn-on-demand DVD-R' release and not a full-fledged one.  If you would market it, this kind of thing might sell, guys.  Don't make me sic the Gorilla on you...
Considering the quality of Print available, not a bad Film.  It is a bit dated, so just bear that in mind.

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