A rich playboy picks up beautiful women in his helicopter. After some sessions of casual sex, rather than go through a break up, he strangles them instead, adding their heads to his collection and feeding their remains to his large number of pet cats.
Mexican exploitation filmmaker Rene Cardona Jr really was a chip off the old block. His dad had given the world delights such as ‘Night of the Bloody Apes’ (1969), ‘Wrestling Women Vs The Aztec Mummy’ (1964), ‘Neutron Traps The Invisible Killers’ (1965) and ‘Santo and Dracula’s Treasure’ (1969). But these were just the jewels in the crown of many other titles featuring monsters, wrestlers, cowboys and killers over a career lasting almost four decades. He was also responsible for the distinctly unfriendly children’s film ‘Santa Claus’ (1959), which often appears on ‘worst film of all time’ lists and rightly so. In short, Junior had a hell of a lot to live up to!
And it’s pleasing to report that he certainly gave it his best shot. Hugo (Hugo Stiglitz) is independently wealthy; his days spent in playing golf, flying around in his helicopter, playing chess with sinister butler Dorgo, looking after his cats and adding to his collection of severed heads. lt’s a hard life, to be sure. When the film opens, he’s also romancing blonde Christa Linder, who seems perfectly ready to give up everything for our humourless leading man, probably because he hardly ever removes his cool shades. Anyway, he gets her in a boat and then kills her on a deserted beach. Oh, hang on, is she the one he kills later on after he shows her his collection of pickled heads? Hmmm. l’d have to go back and watch it again to be certain.
Because that’s the entire plot of the film right there. Boy meets girl, boy and girl have sex, boy kills girl, puts her head in a jar and feeds the rest of her to his cats. Again and again. Absolutely nothing else happens. The story is not the only thing that’s mindlessly repetitive. Stiglitz’s preferred pick up method is to buzz women in his helicopter. In a film only about 80 minutes long, literally about 15 minutes of it just consists of bits and pieces of that. Now, I realise that hiring a helicopter must have been an expensive item on the production budget so they couldn’t afford not to use it, but even so! What doesn’t help these sequences is that exactly the same piece of music plays on the soundtrack every time he’s airborne. lt’s seriously tedious at best. There’s little here for gorehounds either as all the kills are relentlessly uninventive and almost bloodless.
So why is Stiglitz doing all this? Well, we do see a flashback sequence to his romance with another pretty blonde, who it seems he intends to marry. Unfortunately, Dorgo’s a bit slow on the uptake and she ends up as dead as the rest. In other words, it’s just more scenes of a woman in peril that conclude in exactly the same way as all Hugo’s other relationships, only this time he’s not the actual killer. Dorgo’s still around so obviously it wasn’t all that big a deal anyway. Unlike when he finally beats his master at chess, which turns out to be a serious tactical error on his part.
Stiglitz actually co-produced this-project, which is a bit of a puzzle considering his DOA performance. Our main heroine (sorry, prospective victim) is played by Anjanette Comer whose career nosedive would probably make for a far more interesting story than what we’re given here. She’d got her big break in Tony Richardson’s black satire ‘The Loved One’ (1965) and followed it up by starring opposite some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. There was Marlon Brando in ‘The Appaloosa’ (1966), Robert Wagner in ‘Banning’ (1967) and Anthony Quinn and Charles Bronson in ‘Guns of San Sebastian’ (1968). She’d even appeared as a guest on ‘The Johnny Carson Show’ in 1969! How on earth did she end up in this?
Cardona Jr probably reached the height of his career with cheap ‘Indiana Jones’ knock-off ‘Treasure of the Amazon’ (1985) because that had Donald Pleasance, Bradford Dillman, Stuart Whitman and John Ireland. Ok, they were all at the end of long careers by then but it was a starrier cast than he’d assembled for ‘Jaws’ wannabe ‘Tintorera…Bloody Waters’ (1977) or ‘Zindy, the Swamp-Boy’ (1973) which starred his dad and his son!
Being charitable, there’s just about enough script here for a 25 minute TV episode. The decision to just to recycle events over and over again instead of actually trying to come up with more story proves predictably disastrous.
A very boring experience indeed.