Thursday, March 31, 2011
Murders In The Zoo
I like horror movies too. Today in 1933 Murders in the Zoo was released from Paramont. Featuring the great Lionel Atwill as sadistic killer (and zoo keeper/hunter) Eric Gorman along with some choice bits of pre-code dialogue -"You don't think I sat there with an eight foot mamba in my pocket, do you? It would be an injustice to my tailor" ,
Murders in the Zoo opens with one of the most shocking scenes in early horror cinema. In Indochina Eric Gorman (Lionel Atwill) is seen using needle and thread on a fallen man. We however soon see that he is not stitching a wound; the man rises and looks toward the camera, his hands bound behind his back and his lips stitched shut. Gorman has left him to die in the jungle because he kissed his wife. Back at camp, Gorman's wife Evelyn (Kathleen Burke -the "panther woman" in Island of Lost Souls) asks him if the man said where he was going. Gorman replies, "He didn't say anything," and nonchalantly lights a cigarette. Along with that we also get a fairly graphic snake strangulation, a bridge over an alligator pond (gee, wonder what happens there !?) and an early role for Randolph Scott.
A bit slow at times and the comedy relief by Charlie Ruggles gets old , but definitely worth a look. Available in a terrific box here from TCM’s Universal Vault Collection.