In the original story, General Zaroff is a Social DarwinistSerial Killer hiding behind a veneer of civilization. Bored with being a Great White Hunter, he has taken up residence on a hidden island, in which he maroons sailors so that he can hunt them for his amusement. While Zaroff prides himself on being a sportsman and gentleman and prefers a challenge, he has no qualms about "hunting" the weak, nor does he really play fair in the slightest. Anyone he captures who isn't interested in "playing" is turned over to his servant, a former knouter for the Tsar, until they are willing, and while he initially starts on an even footing with his prey, he ultimately uses a pack of vicious hounds against more elusive prey. Cementing the Morton's Fork nature of the game for his victims, Zaroff is non-committal as to whether he would actually let any survivors go unless they were willing to keep quiet about his crimes.
In the 1932 film, Count Zaroff is an Egomaniac Hunter who grew bored with big game, and decided to go after humans instead. To this end, he periodically shifted signal buoys to cause ships to wreck on his island, and takes any survivors to hunt, ostensibly letting them go if they evade him until sunrise. Before the hunt, he locks his victim in his trophy room for a few hours so the victim will be scared enough for a sporting chase. When Sanger "Bob" Rainsford becomes his latest foe, he threatens to make Eve Trowbridge into his Sex Slave if he wins. After Rainsford wins and he and Eve escape the island, Zaroff tries to shoot them both, showing that he has no honor at all.
Fight Scene Failure: The climactic fight between Count Zaroff and Rainsford is very poorly choreographed to the eyes of modern audiences.
Ho Yay: In the original film, Zaroff is absolutely ecstatic that the author of his favorite books on hunting is in his home.
Narm: The ship captain getting bitten by a shark ("Oh, he got me!") in the 1932 film.
Nightmare Fuel: The entire story. All the vampire imagery with Zaroff. And the heads on his wall.