Marins’ most famous character is Ze do Caixao aka Coffin Joe, a figure who belongs alongside Dracula, Freddy Krueger, La Llorona and other horror icons from around the world.
Noteworthy movies include :
At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963) – Brazil’s first-ever home-grown horror film was also the very first appearance of Coffin Joe, an undertaker who relishes exploiting and mocking the religious beliefs of the community.
The transgressive, hypnotic figure lords it over those he considers to be ignorant peasants and lesser beings. Ze’s reign of terror sees him inflict physical and psychological torture on his victims, including gouging their eyes out with his incredibly long fingernails.
The vile but charismatic monster is searching for a superior woman to mate with while killing off male rivals as well as women who don’t meet his expectations.
This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (1967) – In this sequel Coffin Joe is even more powerful and depraved as he subjects Sao Paulo to another reign of terror. Ze is still searching for the perfect woman to bear his child and inflicting all manner of torture on his victims but this time around the viewer is treated to even more of the villain’s bizarre philosophy, which seems to be composed of equal parts Nietzsche and de Sade with a healthy sprinkling of Aleister Crowley tossed in.
This film is black & white like the original but features the acclaimed color portion featuring a trip to a Hell ruled by Coffin Joe himself.
The Strange World of Coffin Joe (1968) – Marins’ excellent anthology film presents three horrific tales: The Dollmaker, about a master dollmaker and his daughters who get attacked by would-be robbers and rapists; Obsession, about a hideous balloon peddler who sees the beautiful woman he is obsessed with get murdered on her wedding day.
Barred from the funeral the peddler breaks into the funeral home after hours for a macabre tryst with the woman’s corpse; and Theory, in which a demented professor (a sort of proto-Hannibal Lecter) imprisons and tortures a colleague and his wife. The stories in this nightmarish tour de force include Marins’ usual bizarre amoral philosophizing as well as a healthy dose of cannibalism in the final entry.
The End of Man (1970) – Marins entered Jodorowsky territory with this film in which he played a wandering – and naked – sage called Finis Hominis (“End of Man”). Very episodic in nature but very heavy on dark humor and social satire, making it a prime example of Brazilian Boca do Lixo cinema. Finis Hominis returned in When The Gods Fall Asleep in 1972.
The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe (1974) – Long before Wes Craven’s New Nightmare Marins went “meta” with his ouevre. Playing himself as actor and director Jose Mojica Marins, our hero tries to convince the world that Coffin Joe is just a character he plays. Horrific events surround Marins wherever he goes in this clever flick in which he also plays his most famous character, who orchestrates all the horror from a realm somewhere between fantasy and reality. The Christmas-time setting is a nice change of pace and provides us with the sight of a Christmas Tree decorated with tarantulas and snakes. Marins would do double duty again as both himself and Ze in Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind in 1978.
The Strange Hostel of Pleasures (1976) – A late-night ritual during a thunder storm causes Coffin Joe to rise from his casket and oversee a bizarre inn. An assortment of evil men and women seek shelter from the storm by checking into the hotel only to find monstrous surprises awaiting them. To say more would spoil the twists involved in this film.
Suffice it to say the movie plays like a combination of Hammer’s horror tinged with erotica plus harder material that would have fit in perfectly in the grindhouse theaters of old 42nd Street.
Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (1978) – A psychiatrist is tormented by recurring nightmares in which Coffin Joe kills him and steals his wife, pronouncing her “the perfect woman” through which to continue his bloodline. His colleagues arrange a meeting with film director Jose Mojica Marins to try to convince their friend that Coffin Joe is nothing more than a fictional character. Needless to say the horror is just beginning for the man and his wife.
Embodiment of Evil (2008) – The final chapter in the saga of Coffin Joe. Ze is released from a prison for the criminally insane after several decades of imprisonment and is still obsessed with continuing his blood line by finding the perfect woman to mate with. Coffin Joe finds a cadre of disciples ready to help him in his work of torture and killing as that quest continues. SPOILER: Coffin Joe is finally killed off for good, appropriately enough by a priest who impales Ze’s heart with a large crucifix. At the villain’s funeral, attended by his disciples and various murderer fetishists we see that some of Coffin Joe’s most recent female subjects are pregnant, meaning his mission of passing on his bloodline was at long last completed.
FOR THE FILMS OF ADDITIONAL HORROR DIRECTORS WHO PUSH THE ENVELOPE CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/07/21/push-the-envelope-please-sex-symbol-casey-james-and-horror-film-directors-who-pushed-the-envelope/
FOR MORE HORROR FILMS THAT TEST THE BOUNDARIES CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2012/10/23/four-gruesome-but-neglected-horror-films/
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