Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Dating Game With Coffin Joe

Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver(This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse)(1967) José Mojica Marins
Coffin Joe continues to dazzle me. This black and white film is apparently a sequel taking up moments after the end of "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" (which I haven't seen and know nothing about).Joe survives the events of the last film, and the police are unable to arrest him from some crimes he committed. So he begins again in his search for the perfect woman, one who might be worthy of carrying his son (who is the future of humanity apparently). Joe's philosophy is a hodge podge of beliefs that children are sacred, instinct is stronger than rationality, God and religion are the superstitions of the weak and "inferior" races (who consist of everyone who isn't Coffin Joe). To decide who shall be his bride he kidnaps a bunch of women, and releases tarantulas on them in their sleep, the one who doesn't wake up screaming but inquisitively pets them, gets the job. The wedding night involves the rest of the girls thrown in a pit which is then filled with poisonous snakes, right next to his bed, so he can listen as he does his messiah mankind. Only things go awry when he learns one of the women he killed was pregnant, meaning he destroyed a child, "the most precious thing in the world".Racked with guilt he begins hallucinating the women's ghost is following him repeating the phrase "Tonight I'll Possess Your Corpse".In one ten minute scene, the only one in color, and magnificent technicolor at that, a corpse walks into his bedroom, drags him by the foot screaming out of his bed, down stairs, out of the house, through the woods, and into the cemetery, where hands burst from the ground and literally drag him to hell.Hell is full of color and tormented versions of all the characters he has meet throughout the film, while the devil (who he repeatedly insists he does not believe in), is a spitting image of himself; a mirror for all the suffering he's caused, and refuses to accept.The end is an atheist in a foxhole conversion scene, which is confounding (not to mention disappointing), but not completely out of place, just a surprisingly moral conclusion, to so many amoral proceedings (though Joe does save a child from being run over early on).Joe wakes and attempts to go about his creation of the master race, as the townspeople get wise, and finally decide to take pitchfork and torch to his ass.Jose Marins seemed to have created this series of avant-garde, no budget, Brazilian horror films, which he stars in, writes, and directs, as if no other films were ever made.He is Ed Wood and Alejandro Jodorowsky, at once, but exudes a confidence in his character, that make him feel as iconic as your Freddy, Jason, or Micheal Myers. Even if his terrors are largely he's just rambling about "the superior man", brow beating and hypnotising with his uni-brow, stroking his beard with freakishly long fingernails, or distributing the occasional bitch slap to a kidnapped women, or village strong man. These are strange films, but those I'm glad Ive seen. The trip to hell is worth the price of admission alone.This is the second Marins film Ive finished, and the first I could honestly recommend."Tonight I Will Posses Your Corpse" is a schlock horror film of irrepressible style that far outshines it's obscure b-movie trappings.

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