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Zoo

2.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

ZOO is an extraordinary glimpse into the life of a seemingly normal Seattle family man whose secret sexual appetites led to his shocking death. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robinson Devor (Woman Chaser, Police Beat), the film explores the ensuing media coverage and public outcry that uncovered a secret community of zoophiles, who call themselves "zoos." This expressionistic rendering of how apparently upstanding citizens banded together and videotaped their journey into the most taboo realms of behavior, reveals the enormous gulf between what we appear to be and who we really are.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Coyote, Jenny Edwards, John Edwards, John Paulsen, Ken Kreps
  • Directors: Robinson Devor
  • Writers: Robinson Devor, Charles Mudede
  • Producers: Alexis Ferris Bridoux, Ben Exworthy, Daniel Katz, Garr Godfrey, Jeff Sackman
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: IMAGE/THINKFILMS
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Q66QFQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Zoo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Many people were probably very angry upon reaching the end of Zoo when they realized that they had not just watched a documentary, they had watched an art house film deceptively packaged as a documentary. Zoo eschews all standards of documentary filming such as factual content or video interviews, and instead strives to amaze viewers with flashy cinematography, a haunting musical score, and existential self-referential segments that have little or no connection with the subject matter of the documentary. The potential audience for this film should be warned ahead of time that it provides few solid facts about the events in question, sheds no new light on the subject of bestiality, and fails to provide any insight into why human beings would choose to make love with animals.

Zoo is nominally about the events leading up to Kenneth Pinyan's death due to a perforated colon when he engaged in anal intercourse with an Arabian stallion on videotape, as well as the individuals in Pinyan's life who encouraged or were at least indifferent to his interest in bestiality. The word "nominally" may be giving Zoo too much credit, as it never even provides Pinyan's name, instead solely using his online moniker "Mr. Hands". None of the individuals associated with Pinyan, from the group of people who identify themselves as living the zoo lifestyle that he met with regularly to engage in acts of bestiality, to his ex-wife and child, or even the police and prosecutors involved in the aftermath of his death, are ever shown on screen. Director Robinson Devor choose to use actors to create reenactments of events coupled with the occasional voiceover from audio interviews with a scant few people willing to talk about the issue.
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5 Comments 36 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I've always thought there had to be more. Ever since the breaking news of Kenneth Pinyan's death, I have never liked the treatment his story was given. Either the object of tasteless jokes or scathing condemnation, his death has left a void that needed to be filled. Mostly, famed director Robinson Devor's documentary, 'Zoo,' doesn't do much to fill that void, but maybe no documentary can.

Mostly a reenactment, 'Zoo' traces back the account by actors who go to the facility where guests would engage in bestiality with stallions at a stable just outside of Seattle. Hooking up via the anonymity of the Internet, Pinyan (bka "Mr. Hands") and others from many regions joined up to spend time with one of the prized horses. Using eerie, low-ebbed synthesizer music, the film has a lurid quality as it unveils alienated men who bond through tequila and space exploration videos, making their way later solo to pair off with horses often in the middle of the night. Much of the photography is meant to touch on the aesthetics of the environs and equestrian beauty, but the analysis of the human aftermath is few and far between. One of the better aspects touches on the profile of the men: Varying in socio-economic and religious backgrounds, all of them seem tragically alone.

Much of the footage focuses on Pinyan who died one night after an encounter ruptured his colon. As the news headlines flashed across, it became one of those tragic, novelty human interest stories. Devor survey's some of those reactions. Anyone from CNN to Rush Limbaugh is given space, but then they go to some witnesses. Part of the testimony is about the behavior of the key people; some of the rest of the testimony has experts going over evidence of alleged abuse to the horses.
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11 Comments 21 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Devor has created an aesthetic masterpiece with this film, which I first saw at Sundance this year. Don't let the debate over the subject matter impact your decision to watch this film. It is too weird and beautiful to focus on such a hollow point. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a good introduction to the Gonzo Filmaking that is sweeping the documentary world.
Comment 23 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
If they hadn't spent so much footage on seemingly endless tracking shots of highways and byways, the filmmakers could have gone more into depth as to what causes bestiality urges in some people, the online communities they are involved in, and more. As it stands, the documentary is not very insightful in the long run. It feels as if it's only the first chapter in a series that will probably not be continued.
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Format: DVD
I always find myself drawn to films that challenge our taboos. Little known director Robinson Devor may have known that many movie-goers do the same, and instead of exploiting his subject matter like so many documentarians do, he literally removes any sense of the provoking stigmas associated with the kind of subject matter he explores in Zoo. Interesting approach, because Zoo is an overview of the death of Ken Pinyan, who engaged in receptive penetrative intercourse with a full grown stallion on film, and died from it. Unbeknownst to this particular viewer, this was a fairly well covered story in the Seattle area and even influenced laws regarding lascivious actions using animals in the state of Washington, which were almost nonexistent.

Devor's film covers the story in a vague but provoking way. The atmosphere of the film is eerie but only a rare few of the landscape shots are oddly effective, albeit not incredibly impressive. In addition, the film touches base with quite a few people who were there and knew Pinyan personally, but unfortunately it is done using mostly audio, and that in turn means more mediocre photography. Still, Devor makes humans out of these people when I'd imagine the media wasn't so kind. By the same token, what they do and how Pinyan died is exactly what it is.

The nature of this bizarre subculture is hard to sympathize with and I'm not sure Devor and his team can be accused of doing so, but they still stare unflinchingly into this void. I found the film strangely fascinating and the style it was created with suggests that the filmmaker felt the same way. It's an uncomfortable but clean peak into a world many don't want to even know about.
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