5.6/10
169
6 user 17 critic

Black Zoo (1963)

Approved | | Drama, Horror | 15 May 1963 (USA)
The owner of a small zoo uses the animals to kill his enemies.

Director:

Robert Gordon

Writers:

Herman Cohen (story & screenplay), Aben Kandel (story & screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Gough ... Michael Conrad
Jeanne Cooper ... Edna Conrad
Rod Lauren ... Carl
Virginia Grey ... Jenny Brooks
Jerome Cowan ... Jerry Stengel
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Joe (as Elisha Cook)
Edward Platt ... Chief of Detectives Rivers
Douglas Henderson Douglas Henderson ... Lt. Mel Duggan
Marianna Hill ... Audrey
Byron Morrow ... Coroner
Oren Curtis Oren Curtis ... Radu
Jerry Douglas ... Perkins - Lab Technician
Joseph Mell Joseph Mell ... Frank Cramer
Eric Stone Eric Stone ... Groom
Eilene Janssen ... Bride
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Storyline

The owner of a small zoo uses the animals to kill his enemies.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fang and claw killers stalk the city streets!

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Feras Assassinas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ralph Helfer's other African Lion Zamba Jr. and Lioness Tammy were in this movie. See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Maniacs (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Conrad is animal crackers!
19 May 2018 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Michael Conrad (Michael Gough) is the tyrannical owner of a successful private zoo that would give today's PETA activists a coronary, with wild cats in cramped cages, and a chimpanzee theatre-the act of Michael's downtrodden wife Edna (Jeanne Cooper)-that sees the chimps dressed in clothes and forced to perform circus tricks, the show culminating with one of the poor primates being rewarded with a cigarette.

Amazingly, Conrad is convinced that he is treating the zoo's attractions with love and respect, and even belongs to a cult of animal worshippers who believe in soul transferrence. Clearly off his rocker, the zoo owner uses his obedient beasts to kill anyone that might threaten their way of life, sending a tiger to pounce on a snoopy reporter, a lion to maul a pushy property developer, and getting his gorilla (played unconvincingly by a man in an ape suit) to bash in the skull of Jenny Brooks, an entertainment agent who offers a circus job to her friend Edna.

When Edna learns of Jenny's death and finally realises the true extent of Conrad's cruelty, she decides to skedaddle, convincing Conrad's mute son Carl (Rod Lauren) to join her. Of course, Conrad isn't about to let that happen if he can help it...

To put it simply, Michael Gough makes this film. The actor goes so over the top in his performance as the bitch-slapping, lion-hugging maniac that he takes the film into camp territory, making it a whole lot of fun despite the somewhat trite set-up. Gough chews up the scenery and spits it out with relish, his hammy histrionics hugely entertaining, with his meal-time altercation with Edna being particularly memorable, the argument resulting in a hilarious spot of casserole hurling!

Other highlights include Conrad inviting his big cats into his study where he entertains them with his organ (oo-err!), the zoo owner dealing with a sadistic employee by feeding him to a lion, and the eerie night-time funeral of Conrad's beloved tiger Baron.

7.5/10, rounded up to 8 for the completely pointless but welcome inclusion of three pretty young art students who come to the zoo to draw the animals.


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