Monday, May 14, 2007


Tonight I saw Zoo, a disturbing docudrama about a community of people who have sexual relationships with horses and other farm animals.

What possessed me to sit through this?

Well—the fact that the story it's based on made major headlines in my state, and that horrible curiosity I'm plagued with because I'm human. Thankfully, I had a friend who was just as curious as me, so we went to the film together (as this was not a flick I wanted to show up for alone).

Anyway, the movie details the events of the summer of 2005 as told by some of the members of the 'zoo' community who were present and the horse 'rescuer' who took possession of the animal after the incident.

What happened was, a group of men would meet at an Enumclaw, Washington ranch (after making initial contact through a zoo chat room), have drinks, watch movies and take the party outside. I don't need to be more graphic than that.

And what transpired one July night is what the entire film focuses on—one man—a divorced, father of one and engineer for Boeing, bled to death after intercourse with one of the horses.

Horrific, eh?

Yes. And what's more horrific is that by all accounts (save for the zoo habit), this guy was a productive, taxpaying member of society who boasted a promising career, loved his kid and had a great friendship with his ex-wife.

So how did he get there?

That's the problem with this movie. We have no idea.

Although the interviews are honest and meditative, they don't really offer any insight into why these individuals don't seek partnership with members of their own species. If I went into the theater wanting to learn anything tonight, it's how the hell some people find themselves so mentally messed up that they prefer the stimulation of an animal to a human.

But nothing about the film answered that question—and it's not exactly something you want to have in your browsing history should you decide to investigate for yourself.

If anything good came of the incident, it's that beastiality is now illegal in Washington state (it wasn't at the gentleman's time of death) and perhaps the awareness the movie will bring will make ranch owners check up on their livestock more often.

And I thought I'd seen it all...


Anonymous said...

Yesterday I saw this movie in New York. It had been recommended to me by an important American artist and I was curious to see how a film on such an unpleasant subject might be rendered.
You are mistaken in saying that the film offered no insight into why these men pursued their sexual abberation. Several times, "zoos" explain that the relationship with the animals is close, non-judgemental and thrilling. One even imagines that the "love" he feels for the other "intelligent being" is somehow reciprocated.
In speaking about their attraction, the "zoos" remind me of pedophiles who discribe the children they molest as loving them and desiring the molester.
The film is a little hard to follow because of the present-to-flashback editing and because the use of non-actors (actual participants in the incident) means untrained, mumbling voices.
I suggest you see the film again on a big screen (it will evaporate on the small screen) and use an audio headset to enhance understanding of the soundtrack. You will find that the motives of the "zoos" are well-explained, if delusional.

Tassoula said...

Thanks for your comments, but I still disagree.

We got no background on the lifestyles of the subjects before they became 'zoos' save for the man who died and the man at the very beginning.

Neither insight was especially in-depth.

And for the record, I did see the film on the big screen...(anything I post on this site I've seen in a theater)...and I won't be seeing it again.

Nonethleless, I'm glad you found it more informative than I did.