Thursday, October 15, 2009


Original Title: La noche de los mil gatos
Year: 1972
Director: René Cardona Jr.
Writer: René Cardona Jr., Mario Zacarias (writer)
Genre: Horror/Exploitation

Millionaire playboy Hugo (whose lack of facial expressions give him the appearance of a Thundercat marionette) flies around Acapulco in his private helicopter to pick up sexy young women. He whisks them away to his secluded old castle, where he wines and dines them (among other things, *wink*). With the aid of his bald mute little helper Gorgo, he kills his dates, keeping their heads in a crystal cage and feeding their chopped up body parts to his 1,000-strong army of blood thirty, flesh hungry cats.

Holy fuckballs. I have been trying all day to figure out how to review this film.

See that poster up there? Well, you've pretty much seen the film now.

The end

Night of 1000 Cats is obviously more than that, but what it is exactly, I'm not sure. It is like a fever dream put to celluloid. Everything starts off pretty straightforward, then as the story progresses... probably partly due to sub-par directing and editing and partly to it being a reflection of the character Hugo's (Hugo Stiglitz) decent into deeper obsession and insanity... things just get strange, convoluted, and confusing.

Hugo seems like a your normal everyday rich eccentric. When he isn't water skiing, canoeing, motorcycling, and recreationally flying, he's chokin' a bitch, hovering outside people's homes in his private helicopter, getting high, collecting heads, and apparently comparing tan lines.

All in a day's... um, work?

Yeah, tan lines.

Seriously, there is one pool scene where I was sure Stiglitz was wearing a white speedo while he was underwater, only to see those pearly white chiseled cheeks make an appearance at the surface.

Stiglitz is stone faced and stoic as the odd Hugo. He shows hardly any emotion regardless of the activity. It is hard to tell honestly if it was a lack of acting or just how the character was supposed to be. Either way, it makes Hugo at the same time creepy and funny. The women in Hugo's life all blended together for me, so I am not really sure how to comment on the acting there. I assume this time that this is intentional, however, as we see Hugo moving from one woman to another, trying to fill some void in his psyche that we are never given an explanation for.

His outfits made my shorts a little damp though.

The lack of exposition in the film is a strength and a weakness. There's lots of filler... LOADS. Namely the scenes of Hugo flying around town in his personal helicopter. These scenes last fucking forever, but just when you think you've had enough scenery, there he is hovering 5 feet over someone's pool or balcony being a goddamn creeper.

These scenes are highly bizarre in their placement as well as their execution, as we get closeups of Stiglitz, a closeup of his hand on the controls, then confused but curious women watching him just hover there.

So THAT's what I have been missing. If only I had a helicopter, I could have been banging hot chicks all through college!

I guess I should have mentioned in Hugo's pastimes that he likes to also feed his cats. Supposedly 1000 of them according to the ominous title of the film, but we'll just say it's a lot. I could not imagine the piss smell in Hugo's creepy ass castle.

He feeds them what we assume are ground up victims, although this is never actually said in the film... only alluded to. We know from time to time that it's someone's ass when we see Stiglitz in a crooked zoom, see a face, then see some cats meowing.

I have no clue why he has the cats... or why cats even in general. Cats can be eerie I suppose, but I don't really get a threatening vibe from them.

And how women didn't run screaming when they see these cats, Hugo's run down, dank castle, his bald, grunting Igor-inspired butler, or his room of stuffed animals is probably just a question better left unasked.

By the end of the film, the only true way of telling what is current and what is flashback is the number of heads Hugo has on his taxidermy room table. It turns into a complete mess, and besides saying it is maddening like Hugo's personality, I have to attribute it to a mess of a script and shit direction in general. The film makes little sense outside of the obvious, and only gets more confusing as victims that all look the same fly off with Hugo. I'm not sure what Cardona, Jr. was even thinking with this besides piling scene after scene of a stone-faced serial killer explaining his collection and feeding his cats.

The pacing sucks. The special effects are abhorrent. The story is paper thin. The acting is remedial.

And all this said.... despite me dropping a hot deuce on this film, I really kind of liked it. I don't understand why, but it fascinated me. Had it been more straightforward I think it may have been a disaster of epic proportions. But it only manages slight disaster status.

Maybe I enjoyed watching the proverbial train teetering on each rail but being too fucking confused to fall off either side.

This is one bizarre film. It is far less about the movie than it is about the experience of watching it.

Score: 5.25 / 10

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