The Curator of Schlock #316 by Jeff Shuster
Night of a 1000 Cats
Was this the inspiration for Dr. Tongue’s House of Cats?
I apologize for my near meltdown last week. Everything’s fine. I’m fine. You’re fine. Well I may presume too much. Let’s get our minds off the global pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout. Think happy thoughts. Think fluffy thoughts. What’s fluffy? Cats are fluffy. I’ve got an idea. How about a Cats Month for this blog I’m writing from my remote location in the Florida Everglades? Doesn’t that sound nice? Doesn’t that sound peachy keen?
Tonight’s movie is 1972’s Night of a 1000 Cats from director René Cardona Jr.
It’s a tour de force of screams, snarls, and entrails. The movie centers around a millionaire playboy named Hugo (Hugo Stiglitz). So the main character is named after the lead actor in the film if we are to believe the IMBD. Frankly, I don’t recall hearing his name mentioned in the movie, but how often do I pay attention to character names while watching these things. Still, I will call him Hugo for the remainder of the review and trust in the IMBD. (Do not confuse him with the Hugo Stiglitz of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds—that would be irresponsible).
Hugo is a millionaire playboy as evidenced by the fact that he lives in an ancient monastery his ancestors inherited and the fact that he flies around in his own personal helicopter. This must impress the ladies since they fly up to his monastery to enjoy wine and cognac and to feast on meat dishes prepared by Dorgo (Gerardo Zepeda), Hugo’s malformed manservant. Hugo makes passionate love to these women before he tires of them and shows them his collection of severed heads.
Oh, yes. Hugo has a collection of severed heads in glass jars that he insists are made of wax, but none of the women buy what he’s saying since they know Hugo is a accomplished taxidermist. Are we to believe that he collects the heads of real animals, but would settle for wax replicas of human heads? I don’t think so. It’s around this time of discovery that Hugo chokes the life out of his latest female guest. Her head ends up in the collection, Dorgo burns her bones, and what’s left of her is ground into fresh meat.
What is this human meat for you might ask? The meat is for Hugo’s other collection, his collection of one thousand feral cats that he keeps fenced in and secured from the rest of the castle. Every night, he tosses handfuls of ground up human flesh to the cats for reasons unknown. I’m not really sure what motivates Hugo to do any of this. At some point in the movie, Dorgo beats Hugo at a game of chess so Hugo gives him the honor of being the one to toss the lady flesh to the throngs of feisty felines, only to push him over a mezzanine to be devoured by their hungry jaws.
Hugo’s latest conquest is a bored housewife. She figures out his plan and makes a run for it. Hugo would have caught up to her, but the cats manage to get through the fence and decide the bite the hand that’s been feeding them. The young housewife manages to escape as we see an army of cats parading around Hugo’s dead body.
What the hell did I just watch? I better watch it again.
Jeff Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
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