Hugo (Hugo Stiglitz) is a millionaire playboy who is proficient at just about everything. He also has all the latest toys. He has a boat, a helicopter and an old monastery that has been in his family for over a hundred and fifty years. He comes from a family of collectors. Various ancestors collected stamps, coins, weapons and other things. Hugo collects heads. He spends his time wining and dining beautiful women. Eventually he invites them to his monastery for an intimate dinner. After dinner he shows the women his collection.
After Hugo kills the women they are ground up. Hugo’s faithful servant is a creepy mute guy named Dorgo (Gerardo Zepeda). Hugo and Dorgo then toss the ground up meat down to a fenced in pit full of hungry cats. The cats compete for the pieces of human flesh. Hugo himself also occasionally indulges in some human steak tartare. The parts that aren’t given to the cats Dorgo burns in an incinerator, except for the heads. The heads go in jars and are all lined up waiting for the next victim to view them.
“Night of a Thousand Cats” AKA “La noche de los mil gatos” AKA “Blood Feast” was released in 1972 and was directed by Rene Cardona Jr. It is a Mexican horror film and a catsploitation movie, as well as your basic trash cinema.
The original Mexican film had a running time of about 91 minutes. The American dubbed version was cut down to around 63 minutes and titled “Blood Feast” and released somewhere around 1974. The American version was eventually changed back to “Night of a Thousand Cats” so as not to compete with an already existing film called “Blood Feast” 1963. There are several versions of the film available. Some with restored footage.
The main problem I see with the movie is that it tries to be arty but just comes off as basically boring. You could probably cut out an hour of the film and still not find it enjoyable. In among the boring are little slices of creepiness. Not enough to save the movie or enough to make it worth the small cult that worships it. The acting is wooden and the editing is haphazard. Hugo has about as much charisma as a slice of dry toast. If you like helicopter footage you’re in luck because there is a lot of it. Hugo buzzes beautiful women in his helicopter looking for his next victim. Some women find it cute but it looks more like he is a stalker, or at the very least, a peeping tom.
One unsettling scene shows Hugo throwing a white cat over a high fence and into the cat pit. Whether or not it’s a real cat is still a question. It’s also done in slow motion so I get the sinking feeling that the cat is real. There is also another scene where Hugo drowns a cat in a pool. This scene cuts away so you don’t see any actual drowning, but the cat that was roughly picked up by the scruff and pushed down into the pool was real. This is also a white cat so one wonders if it was the same cat that got manually catapulted into the pit. There are other various scenes where cats are tossed around to make them look like they are attacking. I don’t know if Mexico has the equivalent of PETA, but by the looks of this film, if they don’t, they should. If you’re a cat lover, this movie is not for you.
The only reason to watch it to the end is to see if Hugo gets what’s coming to him.