The Night of a 1000 Cats (Review)
The Night of a 1000 Cats
aka La Noche de los mil gatos
Hugo Stiglitz as Hugo
Gerardo Zepeda as Dorgo
Christa Linder as Christa
Teresa Velázquez as Woman who shoots doves
Barbara Angely as Barbara
Anjanette Comer as Cathy
Zulma Faiad as Dancer
Directed by René Cardona Jr.
True Title: Night of 30 Cats repeated on loop! What’s scarier than one cat? One THOUSAND cats! That’s still not scary, since cats aren’t very scary. At most, you run across some cat who’s a jerk and hisses at you, but in general cats are too busy sleeping to become a 1000-cat army menace. Sure, Hugo feeds his caged cats human flesh, but many cats won’t even eat 9 Lives with Morris on the label! Humans taste terrible; the 1000 cats probably go on a rampage to find some nice fish or birds to eat. More likely, the many many minutes of helicopter footage drove them insane, and they left in search of some catnip to clear their mind. I know I feel like some after viewing Night of 1000 Cats. The DVD contains the cut down 63 minute version, of which only 61 minutes consist of Playboy Hugo flying around in his helicopter harassing women and single-handedly getting stalking laws passed throughout the country. The VHS version contains fond memories, having discovered it back in college, lured in by it’s bright yellow tape casing, still a unique color for films. The yellow VHS tape was the sole point of imagination used in the film. NO1KC (as those of us in the “biz” call it) does have a crazy, Asian manservant named Dorgo. Dorgo, no relation to Torgo, is played by the not very Asian Gerardo Zepeda, showing a second example of a Mexican film using Mexicans for Asians, after The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (which, coincidentally, was directed by René Cardona Jr.’s father, René Cardona!) Night of 1000 Mexican Directors.
A montage opening with a topless woman waking, a bikini girl, and other images of Acapulco run by, as the film opens in Confus-O-Vision, finishing with horse riders riding into the ocean to cool off. These montages are not important, as the only thing you need to remember is a couple waking up. The man is Hugo, crazed millionaire playboy, who is a helicopter pilot and rich because of his family’s artifacts. Hugo has a collection himself, of the local girls who he seduces using his dirty beard and lack of normal social skills, as he’s just soooo rich that the girls overlook it for the lump in his pocket (and I don’t mean his package, but that gets some using as well!) His latest trophy girl tells him “I would like to stay with you…” and he replies they agree, but he wants her to “Stay where no one could touch you, like a crystal cage!” Hugo is wearing a goofy pair of glasses and is decked out with a pipe and a scarf while he delivers this line. the fashions in this film are very 1970’s, there will never be any confusion for when it was made.
We are followed with the first of many helicopter montages. We get much of the 63 minute running time filled with useless aerial shots as he flies around his ancient compound. Hugo lives in what looks like an abandoned Spanish monastery that dates back from early colonial times. It’s probably a real holy site that was used for the movie, the producers promising them “Sure, it will be a hit film and many people will come!” while on opening night, the owners slink out of the empty theater in embarrassment and never lease their compound again. The compound is empty except for Asian Manservant Dorgo. Dorgo is in reality about as Asian as the taco, but the only Asian guy in Mexico was busy that week, so they had to cast whoever looked big and hulking. Hugo exits his helicopter with the girl, who is named Christa. Besides their oversized sunglasses, Christa is wearing a black plastic raincoat straight out of the Matrix. Swallowing the Red Pill is a better alternative than continuing to watch this movie, for those of you laboring over that choice right now. Dorgo just gives an Of Mice and Men laugh upon seeing the lady, he is truly the Mexican Tor Johnson.
Dorgo limps due to an ancient injury, probably inflicted by 997 cats. Hugo has added three more cats to the mixture, making it unstable with feline fury. Only a madman would dare such an endeavor, and Hugo is beyond mad, he’s crazy! The organ music plays as Dorgo walks around, scaring Christa due to his crazy creepiness. Hugo tells the tale of his ancestors, who for 150 years have collected all sorts of things. Hugo didn’t like any of it, and donated it all, but now has a new collection. Hugo and Christa had been walking and talking in the villa area of the compound, but somehow Dorgo is now ahead of them, despite his walk-slowing limp. Dorgo used the motorized cart just off-screen. The hap-hazard impressing of the girl seems to go over well, despite Hugo’s extreme awkwardness. It’s nice Christa can look past all that, though she’s probably just looking directly at his bank account balance. At dinner, Christa wears her transparent tank top, as they are joined for dinner by two special guests, her nipples. Dorgo gets some menacing music as he serves dinner, Hugo says “meat is his specialty!” Dorgo seems unphased that a woman is sitting around with her two best friends popping out all over, perhaps he’s a eunuch. The dinner is interrupted as a cat races across Christa’s food, and Hugo grabs it roughly, then shakes it around a bit. Hugo then carries the cat to where a large cage is inside, and tosses the cat over the high fence into the other side. The actual cat appears to be tossed in this scene. I know when I want to impress my date, I sadistically torture cute animals. It’s what women crave the most. The cage the cat was tossed into seems to contain around 100 or so cats. All of this is still not enough to send Christa into faking an illness to get out of the date, thus pegging her 100% as a gold-digger. Hugo seems to sense this as well, and takes her to a special room full of weapons and stuffed animals. Christa sees three human heads in glass containers and an empty forth. Christa freaks (finally!), but Hugo says the heads are made of wax. Christa finally wants to leave, but soon becomes putty in Hugo’s hands after he kisses her.
Then he strangles her dumb ass.
Next up, Hugo is feeding his cats a big bunch of meat. Ground up meat. Girl meat! Ground Christa, $1.99 a lb! Hugo samples some as well, but for now, all the eating will be done by pussy. But for now, Hugo is girlfriendless, and we know what that means…
Helicopter Montage! Hugo must seduce the sexy women of Acapulco with his amazing helicopter skills. The montage of flying is briefly shanghaied by a quick shot of Dorgo putting a body-shaped item into the incinerators. It’s odd, because of all the meat that was feed to the cats, it was a large amount, like you would get if you put a whole body in the blender, not just the choice parts. Maybe it’s a big bag of dirty kitty litter. This Mystery of the Ages will have to wait, as we got more helicopter to helicopt! Hugo hovers right next to a woman sunbathing, who then goes inside, not to escape the crazy guy who is hovering just above her, but to answer the phone, in which she complains about they guy in the helicopter making it too loud to hear the speaker. More Hugo helicoptering, as he searches for more prey, but only finds a six-year-old girl waving back. Hugo is not discouraged, and soon begins circling the little girl, all as the movie has switched to 1970’s salsa jazz, and random shots of the 1000 cats are inserted due to the atmosphere the director was meaning to portray: Helicopters are sex machines that will get you lots of tail. Director René Cardona Jr. was conceived in a helicopter, thus in each of his films helicopters are featured prominently. Two of his own sons were also conceived in a helicopter, as well as six grandchildren and a litter of puppies.
The six-year-old’s mom comes out, grabbing her daughter just as Hugo swoops in to super-seduce the little girl, making Hugo one of the slimiest characters in film history. It’s time for the father of the girl is leaving, and she speaks, seemingly dubbed by an older teenager at the youngest. Hugo returns to fly over the sunbather, interrupting her after her shower. She is somehow charmed by Hugo’s antics despite her shutting her blinds on him. Later, Hugo heads home to play chess with Dorgo, checkmating him. We won’t be getting the movie Searching for Dorgo Fischer anytime soon. Having enough of bishop to e7, Hugo takes helicopter to sunbather-3! He drops a ladder, but she’s not the easy type, not one to go up the ladder of every helicopter that buzzes into the front yard, they must be special men. The sunbather is harassed by inches away hovering, which works well enough for her to give her phone number by hand signals. Hugo had the copter so close it’s struts were dipping into the pool! This is the most brilliant for of speed seduction ever, Hugo should sell courses on the internet!
Afterwards, Hugo goes to stalk the six-year-old girl some more. Except it’s really her mother, and Hugo is using his motorcycle this time. He watches as Momma helps the daughter onto the school bus, while he rubs his beard like it was just glued on that morning. Maybe he got it wet, and the unfamiliar feeling of cleanliness upsets him. Later, Momma jumps in her Mustang, and Hugo follows her in his chopper, as bongo drums play in the background. The director gets arty, inserting shots of Hugo golfing, having followed Momma to the golfing range, and balls go closer and closer to the hole as Momma watches with the look of anticipational despair. Finally, they make it into the hole simultaneously. So René Cardona Jr. found a way to get in 18 holes and still have it count for a days work, huh? Now if he could get away with watching film and still using it as film, I’d be set to become a director. This charms Momma enough she’s going to jeopardize her marriage and life for a creepy stalker.
The next day, Hugo drops a parachute, which turns out to be a doll for the little girl. Thus, with spawn distracted, mother is free to leave the house and get her rocks off by some crazed man with too much helicopter gas money. Hugo leaves for his place with Momma following, as music that sounds like samples from the Kronos Quartet played backwards screeches on the soundtrack. The director goes arty again, panning rooms of the compound until it crosses with the two of them in bed together. Is the entire town full of loose women eager to jump the bones of the first man with a helicopter to even nod in their direction? These women make the women of Desperate Housewives look like nuns. The music changes to the style of music from Bugs Bunny cartoons as the camera zooms in on the animal heads displayed around the compound. The sex is still ongoing, but Momma doesn’t seem to be having a good time, though Hugo is barely moving, getting outpaced by sloths in the thrusting department. A coma patient would be a better lay than Hugo, and wouldn’t ruin your neighborhood with noisy helicopter antics, or be raising 1000 meat-eating cats. Maybe only 25 cats. Director René Cardona Jr.’s latest arty job is to have quick power zooms of the animal heads stuffed on the wall, their sin being watched by glass eyes. Hugo takes her to the underground passageway, but is interrupted by a visiting doctor who needs help, as his car has broken down nearby. Hugo doesn’t want to help the doctor, being far too focused on trying to feed to woman to his cats, but she insists he help him. She declares she’s going to leave anyway, and lets the doctor in to call a taxicab.
Hugo says “Dorgo, the cats are hungry!” We then get to see Dorgo burning another body, and burning a medical bag! You were supposed to feed the cats, Dorgo! Not burn the body! Idiot! Okay, maybe it’s just more body-shaped kitty litter. Yeah, that’s it! Dorgo takes out a stethoscope to play with, and never does burn it, thus leaving police evidence in case they’re raided. Pretty sloppy, Dorgo! We get more shots of the two feeding the cats, so the cats are eating something, even if it isn’t doctor (which tastes like chicken.) Momma won’t be coming over right away, as Daddy’s home! Hugo watches from afar on his motorcycle. A cut back at his compound shows that the Doctor’s head is now in a glass case as well as the ladies’ heads. What happened to the previous girl’s head? And are these the only times the cats are fed? They seem awfully big for such a small amount of food! We get a nice FLASHBACK as Hugo reminisces about the redheaded head in the jar. Hugo remembers a horse-drawn carriage with jingle bells attached to the side. There is hunting being done of pigeons with a double-barreled shotgun, which is very similar to shooting fish in a barrel. How you can miss pigeons with a shotgun is a Mystery of the Ages, but our VP and his quail hunting shows things like that can happen. There is no accidental shooting here, Hugo is so enamored that he’s not going to kill her. The Redhead’s name is Paulette, but as Hugo goes to leave to get something, Dorgo stalks Paulette with hedge clippers, and thanks to a slow-motion chase sequence, Paulette soon falls down like women always do in these situations in these movies, and won’t be making it out of this flashback alive. We get some flashback within a flashback as we see Hugo shooting birds, and Dorgo feeding those birds to the cats, and finally Dorgo carving up Paulette’s body as Hugo returns with what he went to go get, an engagement ring! D’oh! FLASHBACK OVER.
Meanwhile, the married Momma is still with her husband, sexing it up, but is having frightening Hugo flashbacks. Scary flashbacks. She’s not liking the sex with her husband, either. Hugo was so bad in bed, it ruined sex for her for life. She’s scared by a stuffed cat, but it soon turns out to be a dream! A dream of Hugo’s, who is in bed with the sunbather woman. Hugo trails into his normal conversation where he tells the girl he will do everything in his power to keep her now. Each sentence in this speech is done in a different room, making Hugo not only slothy in bed, but slothy in speaking. At her place, the sunbather gets a phone call from the guy who pays for her apartment, and she kicks Hugo out. This enrages Hugo, who grabs her white cat and drowns it! Now we know what will set off the cats, feline murder! Somebody call McGruff! Wait, would McGruff care if a cat is drowned? I’m sure McGruff would be interested in what happens next. Dorgo checkmates Hugo in chess, so Hugo pays him back by shoving him into the cat pit! Bye-bye Dorgo! This scene is also the scene where they rented the most cats for use in the film, around 200 it looks like. That’s 20% of the title amount, which is still a failing grade, but as this is on a curve, makes it a high C! Congratulations, movie! We can celebrate by everyone’s favorite movie runtime padding: Helicopter shots!
Hugo flies around, buzzing the family as the father is home, Hugo getting more and more bold, as crazy people can do if no one stops them. These stupid women getting hooked for his dumb antics only encourages him to be creepy, stalkerish, and cat-feeding. A nice odd shot of a cat licking a dolls head is shown, then suddenly Hugo is at the beach with the Sunbather girl, but he’s too distracted by something he has to finish, a boat in the swamp! Um, yeah. I’m just as confused as you are, buddy. Hugo takes the sunbather girl and tells her that he’s at the place. She says “It’s getting late” but Hugo responds “It’s already too late, I found the right piece for my collection!” He whips out a harpoon and throws it at her, but misses despite her being only a few feet away. How did this loser manage to get the drop on gigantic Dorgo? She ditches the water and runs for shore; yes, runs in the very very shallow water, which they were boating over because they forgot their boots or something. It must be low tide. He follows her still in the boat, and chases her through the swamp. She eventually jumps back into the lake for some reason, which seems to be to allow Hugo to drown her (like her cat.)
This frees Hugo up to spend all his time stalking the married woman. Perhaps he shouldn’t kill his women so quickly, I bet Mexico has a limited number of women who would sleep with random helicoptermen, he shouldn’t blow through them like a chainsaw through tissue paper. Hugo celebrates by picking up the little girl with his copter. Instead of molesting her or drowning her or feeding her to his cats like you would expect, the two have a fun time and he drops her off. We finally find out the girl’s name is Kathy, as Momma calls her name repeatedly while looking for her. Momma seems less concerned when Hugo returns her than I would be, as it seems to re-seduce her, as I would be greeting Hugo with a shotgun blast to the face and burying him in a shallow grave covered in quicklime. That helicopter would be a good sell on eBay.
Back at Hugo’s a gigantic cognac glass is being used, comically oversized. Land of the Giants oversized. You’d die of alcohol poisoning before you even got 1/2 way through it. Hugo then decides it’s time for his standard speeches and introducing the girl to the heads in the jars, all the time he is lighting the way to the basement himself, as Dorgo is no more to help him keep things up and running. He shows her the heads, and Dorgo’s head is there! One small question now, do the cats not eat face? Only random body parts, I guess. Momma throws her glass at Hugo’s face, slicing it up and she runs for the exit. All of the previous women must have been too stupid to even fight back, as Hugo can’t chase her correctly. She grabs a spear and chucks it at Hugo, but it misses and hits the cat pit, causing a hole to be made in the fencing. The same shot of cats jumping out of the hole is repeated over and over again to give the illusion of 1000 cats. It’s as successful as the Bay of Pigs, as the 12 cats wander around the basement looking for treats. Hugo somehow manages to get himself eaten, despite it being so easy to avoid death the afore mentioned coma victims could do it. Hugo’s death would be ironic if not instantly foreshadowed by the fact that this thing always happens in these movies. They should have thrown in a twist, where he was killed by 1000 dogs or something. That would have been cool. Or the cats attack him on his helicopter, and he crashes. So Hugo is dead, and Momma is running as the cats are chasing her about as well as cats herded in someone’s general direction would be chasing someone. She manages to have the door locked on her, but the cats are taking their sweet time in getting downstairs to where the locked gate is to go eat her, despite being hungry, vicious cats. Finally, she gets it open, and shuts the door behind her, gets in her car, and drives away. Away from the cats, and away from the movie, as it’s now over. She had a convertible, so they could have gotten cute and had cats flinging into it and killing her as she leaves, but they were too uncreative.
This movie just did a litter box number all over the audience. Even cut down to the 63 minutes it is, it’s still a unholy mess. Cat shots are reused, even though there couldn’t have been more that 10 minutes of feline footage total. The helicopter shots would have been the easiest to reuse, but every shot seems individual and unique. Why was the director so focused on the helicopter aspect and not the cats? It’s not Night of 1000 Hours of Helicopter Shots, but it should be. Or Night of 1000 Confusing Cutscenes. Maybe Night of 1000 Stupid Women Sexing Helicopter Jockeys as all these women seem so smitten with the chopper antics. The rest of the film’s clichés play out like they were directly cribbed from the lamest of Hollywood horror flicks. There is little shock, little horror, little suspense, and no creativity. The borefest of a production is only redeemed by the occasional cat abuse by the crazed Hugo just because it breaks up the monotony. Even the Asian manservant Dorgo is a bore, a Tor Johnson ripoff. Cribbing from Ed Wood is never a good idea, especially since you cannot be committed enough to the idea to do anything with the film except film hours and hours of helicopter shots. With 1000 cats and Asian menservants wasted, the film becomes 1000 hours of wasted time, as it sucks your life-force away which cannot be returned, unless you go upon an epic quest to find the magical Wizard of Oz. But will the Wizard be able to solve the problems of the villagers? Tune in and find out!
Rated 2/10 (Night of 1000 Cat Art Pieces, Night of 1000 Parachuting Dolls)
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