The Night of the Sorcerers (AKA La Noche de los Brujos) (1973)

From Spanish director Amando de Ossorio, who brought us the great Bind Dead series, comes Night of the Sorcerers, a not-so-great film that thankfully was never extended into a series. The story is basically Tombs of the Blind Dead Redux, but set in Africa and with fur bikinis.

As with Blind Dead, this film begins with a bunch of baddies — in this case, sadistic African tribesmen rather than sadistic Knights Templar — torturing and killing a naked (and conveniently attractive) white woman, just before the cavalry arrives (You just had to stop at South of the Border, didn’t you?) and kills the nogoodniks.

Fast-forward to the present day, and some Euro-types come traipsing around the African jungle looking for endangered species. They stumble upon the site where the tribesmen were executed and soon realize that, in the immortal words of Whodini, the freaks come out at night. When the sun sets, the natives rise from their graves, Knights Templar-like, as do the victims of their sacrifices. Turns out that in this land — I believe they call it Sombonia (?) — victims of voodoo sacrifice (apparently, all white women) are turned into vampire-like “leopard women” who take the form of leopards by day and fanged bikini models by night. The cat women, who’ve somehow managed to acquire leopard-skin swim suits (with fringe!) from beyond the grave, lure other victims into the clutches of the undead natives, who sacrifice them and add them to their stable of sexy white women. You like…?

The Euro-types are aided by a local named Tomunga (Joseph Thelman), who, judging by the name, is perhaps supposed to be black, but the only thing that separates him and so-called “half-breed” Tunika (Kali Hansa) from the others is their dark hair. Maybe the director forgot to turn down the Aryan setting on his lens.

Night of the Sorcerers has the same deliberate pacing and haunting feel of the Blind Dead films, but you can’t take these Josie and the Pussycats rejects as seriously as zombie Knights Templar, or for that matter, the zombie tribesmen, who get much less screen time. Beyond their silly getups, the cat women prance about in slow motion like extras from an underwater performance of Jesus Christ, Superstar. How scary can they be when it takes them five minutes to flounce across the screen? Fosse!

Cheetara went both ways.
The plantation owner stumbled upon a new cash crop: the slave tree.
“What’s new, pussycat?”
Gargamel plotted his revenge from afar.
Tim was one horny dude.

What do you think?