Murders in the Zoo (1933)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Insanely jealous of his wife, wealthy zoologist Lionel Atwill uses his knowledge of animals to dispose of any would-be rivals. When his wife gathers up enough evidence to go to the police, Atwill unceremoniously dumps her in the zoo's alligator pit. However, a young animal specialist suspects foul play.
Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Paramount Pictures


Randolph Scott
as Dr. Woodford, Zoo Toxicologist
Gail Patrick
as Jerry Evans
Lionel Atwill
as Eric Gorman, Zoologist
John Lodge
as Roger Hewitt
Harry Beresford
as Professor Evans, Zoo Curator
Kathleen Burke
as Evelyn Gorman
Charlie Ruggles
as Peter Yates, Zoo Press Agent
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Murders in the Zoo

All Critics (3)

Lionel Atwill in the full-flower of lecherous perfidy is a kinky joy to behold.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A very funny, but also a very chilling macabre tale about an insanely jealous zoologist.

Full Review… | April 23, 2002
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

Full Review… | April 24, 2012
Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review Database

Quote not available.

August 15, 2005

Quote not available.

Full Review… | April 3, 2002
Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review Database

Audience Reviews for Murders in the Zoo


A bit of a forgotten gem. It's not the most original horror film of it's era, and it combines some elements of "Mystery of the Wax Museum" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue, but it's pre-code, so it's definitely one of the more graphic films of the time. Lionel Atwill plays a great villain, and he really makes you want to hate him. If you have a chance to find this one, and are a fan of 30's-40's horror, you should definitely check it out.

Todd Staruch
Todd Staruch

Next on my list is Murders in the Zoo from 1933. This movie is really something. The movie stars Lionel Atwill and Charlie Ruggles along side starlets like Kathleen Burke and Gail Patrick. Kathleen Burke has also starred in The Island of Lost Souls while Atwill starred in Dr. X. Eric Gorman, played wonderfully by Atwill, returns from a expedition in Indo-China, and brings back with him a number of vicious animals: lions, tigers, and a rare Green Mamba. The movie opens with Gorman gruesomely sewing a mans mouth shut and leaving him to die in the jungle. We learn that Eric Gorman's wife Evelyn Gorman (Played by the beautiful Kathleen Burke) has been cheating on him. This serves as the main motive of Eric Gorman's killings. He doesn't kill by his own hands though. He uses his animals and makes the deaths look accidental. The movie is directed by Eddie Sutherland, a comedy director by trade, he brings a ton of laughs in the form of a recovering alcoholic. This character is a perfect comic relief to contrast the viciousness of the animals and Gorman himself. The movie is also Pre-Code which means that the film has no boundary's about what can be talked about. They actually talk about "Making Love" which is unheard of in its day and age. The movies deaths are all at the hands, or paws, of animals. Tigers, mamba's, alligators, and *SPOILER* for Mr. Gorman himself, an anaconda. They are all equally brutal save for the tiger who we only hear about. I am safely going to give this movie a 6 of 10. It has a few flaws, mostly the running time, which is about 15 minuets too short. The movie is extremely creative but it just feels like it sags in certain areas. Rent the film if you are a classic horror fan. Why is it that everyone smokes in these movies? The most common line in all of these is "Would you like to have a cigarette?" weird. S!D The movie was made by Paramount Pictures and sold to Universal for distribution Has not yet been released on DVD Animals actually fought each other for the finale of the film.

Brandon Siddall
Brandon Siddall

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