I Saw A Film

There’s not much to this one, unless you really like watching helicopters flying around. Hugo (played by Hugo Stiglitz, a still working Mexican actor) is an emotionless wealthy playboy who picks up lovely ladies in his chopper and whisks them off to his castle where he and his manservant, Gorgo, treat them to fineries of food and pleasure and then, like the plot of a fifth-grader’s horror story, kill and feed them to a massive bunch of house cats kept in a giant meowing cage. There are many close ups of Hugo reaching into a bowl of chopped meat and tossing it to the goofy cats, tabbies, tuxedos, stripes etc. One wonders about the litter boxes. Also, there is some implied cannibalism. Hugo is a bit more gross than the average wealthy castle-living playboy.

Hugo also, and this is the really critical part, keeps the victims heads in glass cubes, preserved in alcohol one presumes. He talks at length about how amazing his “collection” is, but when he decides to show it off, to the next victim, no less, he’s only got like two. Two heads? You’re calling that a grand collection? Just the same, his habit of showing his project to the ladies he plans to add to the collection results in them very nearly kicking his stupid ass and escaping.

The storyline is very similar to the old Bluebeard goofiness in which a weirdo castle lord (in the version I know played by Richard Burton!) who marries gorgeous ladies, but immediately finds them too difficult to live with, and offs them and then hangs their pretty heads on his wall.

Another film of this ilk was simply called The Collector (I actually read the old novel!) which involved an amateur entomologist who had grown tired of collecting his gorgeous butterflies and had moved on to collecting ladies, or lady, at least. I won’t ruin it for you in case you find it.

So all of these tales have their roots in the Arabian Nights legend of centuries past, which in a nutshell is the story of a particular Middle Eastern (or sometimes believed to be Indo-chinese) king who through some malevolence of mind, comes to distrust and fear women. He beds a new one each night and has her killed in the morning. Process that for a second. We aren’t concerned about the many who die, we’re just charmed by the one called Scheherazade who manages to keep herself alive by entertaining the dastardly king with ongoing stories that she somehow manages to always provide cliff-hangers for. A horrible story really, but it’s where we have collected many tales about Aladdin, and Sinbad and the like. A whole load of culture was pressed into the framework of this dreadful, ancient, hateful tale, and probably expanded over the centuries by authors lost to history.

The Night of a 1000 Cats, and Bluebeard have their roots in this sort of tale, but only the horror side of it as if the clever though awfully threatened Scheherazade never arrived, and we only saw the king killing endlessly or at least until a mishap or hero ends the terror. Suffice it to say that Hugo doesn’t collect very many heads. He also doesn’t limit himself to the ladies, probably realizing it was harder than he thought it would be.

Look if you’re gonna collect heads (and collecting is a whole other issue I won’t delve into here), try Pez dispensers. Or take up hunting. You can line your apartment in animal body parts. This sort of thing has lost some of its epic gravitas in more recent environmentally friendly and humane modern culture, but it’s still legal at least (as long as it’s not protected species, or being footed by public funds). Or you can just take up some role playing games and try to satisfy your craving there, as I’ve seen some creative loons do.

This is a bad but curious movie with some oddball quirks. I do appreciate the lesson of ladies learning not to just be awed by wealthy playboys though. Well, at least be prepared that you might have to fight past (way less than 1000) cats and a desire to collect your head, that’ll probably be enough.

Free on Prime!

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