Universal Horror Collection: Volume 2 - Murders in the Zoo Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Directed by Edward Sutherland
Written by Philip Wylie and Seton I. Miller
1933, 62 minutes, Not Rated
Released on July 23rd, 2019

Charlie Ruggles as Peter Yates
Lionel Atwill as Eric Gorman
Harry Beresford as Professor Evans
Gail Patrick as Jerry Evans
Randolph Scott as Dr. Jack Woodford
John Lodge as Roger Hewitt
Kathleen Burke as Evelyn Gorman



Evelyn is an unhappily married woman seeking comfort in the arms of a handsome man named Roger Hewitt. She plans to leave her husband, Eric Gorman, a big-game hunter whose latest safari brings a wealth of animals back for display at the local zoo. Gorman is a jealous and possessive man who will stop at nothing to keep his wife by his side. His ship is met by Peter Yates, the zoo’s new press agent, who humorously dislikes animals. Following a tragedy at a publicity dinner, toxicologist Dr. Jack Woodford and the lovely Jerry Evans are studying the venom of the deadly mamba snake that killed a guest. Soon there are additional deaths, but they may not be accidents, as the victims all have connections to Mr. Gorman.

Scream Factory follows the success of their popular Universal Horror Collection Volume 1 with the widely anticipated Volume 2. While the previous collection spotlights the works of genre legends Boris Karloff (The Body Snatcher) and Bela Lugosi (The Return of the Vampire), the focus this time is on charismatic villain Lionel Atwill (Tower of London), who appears in three of the four pictures included in this set. His name may not be as widely known to modern audiences outside the dedicated film history community, but his work on stage and screen rivals those of his contemporaries and leaves a lasting impression.

In this first selection, Murders in the Zoo, Atwill plays an unscrupulous man who exacts a deadly revenge and will do whatever it takes to cover his tracks. He is dastardly and it is fun watching him maintain his cool while performing unspeakable acts. Written by Philip Wylie and Seton I. Miller, the script contains many surprises when it comes to guessing who will survive the crime spree. Director Edward Sutherland (The Invisible Woman) keeps things moving at a brisk pace as the plot unfolds. Animals play a large part of this movie and while most are confined to cages, there is a frightening scene near the end where they are released and prove to be wild. This isn’t your typical classic Universal horror movie – in fact, it’s a Paramount picture included within their vast catalog, focusing on the evils of man instead of monsters.


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