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Title: The Most Dangerous Game
Author: Richard Connell
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Rainsford is a big game hunter on yacht heading to his next destination. He falls off the boat one night but manages to swim to a nearby island. He is introduced to General Zaroff, a former General to the Russian Czar now living in exile because of the Red Revolution. Zaroff claims to be a hunter from birth and founded his life’s purpose on the thrill of the hunt. Sadly, the hunt against animals paled and Zaroff didn’t know what to do. Until he began hunting men. Now he rescues shipwrecked sailors or kidnaps them and then lets them loose on his island to hunt at his leisure.
When Rainsford refuses to join, Zaroff decides to hunt him. Armed only with a knife,Rainsford must not only overcome Zaroff, but also his killer servant Ivan and the General’s trained pack of hunting dogs.
Rainsford turns the tables and kills Zaroff.
A couple of months ago, The Film Authority reviewed the 1932 movie The Most Dangerous Game. It sounded extremely familiar and it turned out it was based on a short story that I had read “some time, some where, some how”. The original title was The Hounds of Zaroff written in 1924.
This was a fascinating little story and sure does pack a wallop for a mere 21 pages. I read a gutenberg “illustrated” edition, which just threw in random pictures of objects being talked about in the text, so I suspect the real page count is closer to the teens.
There isn’t much to actually talk about. The twist is well known, very well used. Using humans as hunting prey has been around since, well, there has been enough leisure time for hunting culture to develop. Humanity gets bored easily enough and it’s creative enough and broken enough to do something like this. There was an Outer Limits episode where some humans use humanoid androids as hunting targets and the twist there was that the androids turned the tables. Just like Rainsford does to Zaroff here.
Even knowing the story, I recommend reading this if you want a little Action/Adventure to tide you over some afternoon.