The most savage animal in a garden of beasts, animal-worship cultist and private zoo owner Michael Conrad (Michael Gough) has trained his lions well, siccing the big cats on any fool who dares get in his way. First it was a snoopy secretary, then a scheming realtor (Jerome Cowan). But only when his unhappy wife (Jeanne Cooper) runs off with his beloved chimps does Conrad unleash his inner beast, and the fur really flies. Shot by Academy Award®-winning* cinematographer Floyd Crosby on a soundstage stocked by famed animal behaviorist and Marine World creator Ralph Helfer, Black Zoo is the third and final collaboration of Gough (who later played Alfred the butler in four Batman movies) and producer Herman Cohen (Horrors of the Black Museum and Konga), a furocious last trip to the maul.
I had never seen Black Zoo before this week, which is a real shame because it is one the least subtle films I have ever seen and Michael Gough, who I am mostly familiar with from his work in Batman, is so over the top, so scene chewing, it made me wish their was a Black Zoo II, Black Zoo III and Black Zoo IV.
I read that when the film came out in the 1960s, they did promotion for the film on the Tonight Show using the cats from the film. I tried to track down some of that footage, but so far I have not found any of it online.
The Halloween season is upon us and this is the perfect time to try out offbeat, scary and downright odd films. The Warner Archive is releasing a slew of films, all that fit that bill. So if you want to see some interesting films, drop by the Archive and browse their ever growing selection.
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