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Thursday, August 26

Blood Feast - but not the H. G. Lewis one

I stumbled across this little treasure on VHS recently at The Great Escape, our local comic book and memorabilia store. The cover features a drawing of a cat under blood scrawled letters reading Blood Feast. It caught my eye because it obviously wasn't the H.G. Lewis version. I had to see what this film was about. I took it home and a little investigation on the internet led me to the discovery of its alternate title - Night of 1000 Cats, which explained the cat on the cover.

This is a Mexican film by director Rene Cordona Jr., and this version is dubbed in English. It tells the story of a rich playboy named Hugo (played ironically by Hugo Stiglitz) who owns a huge vacant monastery. He lives there with his mute butler Dorgo, who resembles Tor Johnson and walks with a limp. Turns out he's something of a collector and has a very unique collection in his basement... the severed heads of past lovers that are kept in glass boxes. He also has a huge collection of cats he keeps as pets in a special fenced off room of the monastery. He feeds them a unique diet - the ground up bodies of these lovers. In addition he also dabbles in a bit of cannibalism, as we see when Drago warms up some fresh lady-meat and feeds it to Hugo. Mmm mmm.

Brief aside here - I realize this was made in 1972 and there were little to no regulations regarding animal cruelty, but the way they treat the cats in this movie is shocking. Just check out the way Hugo manhandles the poor cat in the scene below before chucking it over what is at the very least a 20 foot fence.

There’s lots of gratuitous helicopter footage in this movie as our boy spends his days flying around in a private helicopter stalking beautiful sunbathers from the air until finding one that is susceptible to his oh so smooth charms. The helicopter scene goes on for close to 10 minutes with some groovy bongo and Latin guitar music playing underneath. Incredible.

We get a back story to why Hugo is murdering women and collecting their heads, but like much of the movie it doesn’t really make sense. Told in flashback, it turns out his henchman Dorgo murdered his first true love, and this drove Hugo to kill other women and collect their heads (The head of his first love is among these trophies, too). You see, Hugo's family were both collectors and taxidermists, so naturally he followed in the family footsteps, combining the two hobbies with a little good old fashioned murder.

The scene below is my favorite one of the movie, the moment where Hugo first reveals his collection to his current girlfriend (who unknowingly is soon to become cat food).

I love the organ music in the background of these clips. Great stuff.

This movie is high on atmosphere but not so much on plot. It sets up these bizarre scenarios and lets the story run its course with little thought to logic. Despite this it is a pretty entertaining movie if only because of the sheer bizarreness of it. This is the type film you have to see to believe – they don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

Here's the Trailer for Night of 1000 Cats:

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