If there ever was a movie that could be slapped with the title of “wild cat exploitation”, BLACK ZOO would be it, as much of the movie showcases lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, and other wild animals roaming around their cages in the zoo, lounging around Gough’s living room, attending a funeral for one of their fallen brethren, or being asked to murder some unlucky soul who made enemies of Gough’s Zookeeper persona. Part of me thinks the film only exists because the producers had a shitload of exotic animals at their disposal for them to do what they wanted, and making a movie about killer animals seemed like the best and most obvious choice. And while the animals killings are pretty savage and cool (and even gory by ‘60s standards), the real meat-and-potatoes is Gough’s woman-hating persona.
While subtle at first, Gough is damn scary as a controlling hot head who must keep his boy-servant in check and his wife in line by any means necessary. Slapping them around, belittling them in front of others, and getting into heated arguments because they’re not doing exactly what he tells them to do escalates to a point where it’s almost hard to watch how horrible he is to those around him. Of course, if he really doesn’t like you, he’ll sic his pet lion on you for a feeding frenzy. Gough rocks the creepy yet powerful persona that channels the very likeness of Vincent Price here. He’s well spoken, articulate, controlled, and yet there’s something so damn unsettling about him that would make you scared to ever cross paths with the guy.
Audio: The audio is fairly lackluster, being presented in a boring 2.0 Mono mix, but at the same time, it’s pretty standard for the time. I always prefer the more dynamic 5.1, but sometimes you can’t always get what you want. Right???