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Fantoma Films presents
Coffin Joe: This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1966)

"I am not insane. I am not perverse. On the contrary, I am the saviour of you and mankind! The only creature that fights without asking for anything in return pays for the survival of a race that is not awake!"
- Coffin Joe (JosČ Mojica-Marins)

Review By: Dan Lopez  
Published: November 12, 2001

Stars: Jose Mojica-Marins, Tina Whaler, Nadia Freitas
Other Stars: Jose Lobo, Antonio Fracari
Director: JosČ Mojica-Marins

Manufacturer: American Zoetrope
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, nudity, gore, disturbing imagery)
Run Time: 01h:48m:29s
Release Date: April 03, 2001
UPC: 014381060324
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- B+B-C+ B-

DVD Review

After the wild success of the first Coffin Joe vehicle, At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, writer/producer/director/star José Mojica-Marins found himself in a more comfortable position as a filmmaker. When approached by a professional production company to create a sequel, Marins was lucky enough to have a substantially increased budget and complete artistic freedom. The end result is This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, the next, insane stage in the Coffin Joe saga. Although he wasn't bathing in money, the professional support allowed Marins to make the sequel a much different movie that its predecessor. The cast is almost triple the size of Midnight, the effects and sets are slightly better, and the storyline is more complex and utterly bizarre, though Marins would use the term 'sophisticated.' More importantly, he was able to heap more gore and blasphemous horrors at an audience eager to see it.

This Night opens with the last few minutes of At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, except a small, clever, change is made to make a quick excuse for a sequel. The demented opening credits begin, featuring wavering writing drawn onto the negative itself and a montage of scenes introducing the cast; all accompanied by dissonant, banging music. When Joe recovers from his experience in the first film, he is unleashed in his town again. The local law enforcement are unable to prove he committed any crimes, so Joe resumes his business of undertaker. Much is not explained, but that's part of the charm of the film. Joe now has an "Igor"-style henchman named Bruno, and the town is now controlled by people who openly despise Joe, including Tracador, a strongman with a discolored eye. Joe, with an improved suit, cloak, and even longer fingernails, gets back to his old tricks of generally menacing and abusing the people around him.

He is blamed for the disappearance of some local women and, of course, he is responsible. Still obsessed with his quest to father a son, the 'perfect' child to rule the world, Joe has kidnapped a handful of women and decides to "test" them to see which one is fit to be his wife. This is only the first in a series of plot devices that further the film. As Joe mercilessly tortures these women, he begins to grow stronger and is then able to attempt exterminating anyone else who stands in his way of the perfect woman and son. He unleashes a variety of horrors upon people, from hordes of snakes to a machine that smashes heads with a large boulder (actually some painted plywood and a giant piece of Styrofoam). He dumps dead bodies in pits of acid and allows his servant, Bruno, to molest the women he kidnaps. Obviously, this film is even more Coffin Joe than the first; letting loose with both barrels, so to speak. There's more gore, nudity, and just about everything that would create controversy and heighten interest.

Director Mojica-Marins goes pretty wild, turning Joe into more than just a creeping terror, but a sort of weird hybrid mad scientist/philosopher/serial killer. It's wretched excess and, for the most part, it's amazingly entertaining. The story moves at a good pace and manages to throw something into the mix at every point to either shock the viewer or make them laugh at how utterly despicable Joe is. Perhaps the most sanity-challenging point in the film is a sequence, about midway through, in which Joe has a vision of hell. This portion was filmed in full color (unlike the rest of the film) and is so visceral, surreal, and unrelentingly freakish that even Salvador Dali or Luis Buñuel might run for cover. Although there are a few laughable moments (especially the forest and swamp scenes where one can easily see the walls of the set in the background), Marins manages to actually craft the film in such a way that it's hard not to get involved. It sounds silly, but that's the point; it is so maddeningly insane that Joe is really scary. It's a b-movie that one can root for and really get into: visionary, abnormal, and probably scarred the minds of everyone working on it. I've never seen anything quite like it.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The transfer, approved by the director, is a lovely restoration that removes much of the horribly damaged and deteriorated portions by replacing them with a better source print (from Mojica-Marins' own copies). There is still a lot of age damage and the image often moves around in the frame, but it's light-years beyond many previous versions. There is some slight pixelization and movement in some of the muddier background greys, but you really have to look for it. The balance between light and shadow detail is very fine and obviously took some effort to improve. The color sequence (the vision of 'Hell') explodes off the screen with its wild hues of neon green, purple, red, orange, and yellow, showing just as much attention to repair and using the best quality elements.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoPortugueseyes


Audio Transfer Review: The mono audio is, overall, very listenable and obviously tweaked so as not to be too flat or harsh. Unfortunately, some source problems like hiss and pops/crackling are present throughout most of the film. It isn't too distracting, but some of the earlier scenes also have a very high-pitched tape noise that may be slightly annoying, but brief. Again, though, it would seem the most effort that could have been done, was.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, Awakening Of The Beast
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Interview with Joé Mojica-Marins.
  2. Reproduction of an original Coffin Joe comic book.
Extras Review: A brief, 8-minute interview with JosČ Marins exposes some bits of trivia about the making of the film. Unfortunately, it fails to delve into some of the more important facets of the movie (especially the altered ending), but is a satisfying peek into the mind of the director. There are trailers for Fantoma's Coffin Joe films released on DVD so far, and a nicely styled menu presentation. For a two-hour movie, a few more chapter stops would have been nice, but they're adequate as is. The case contains a small insert with an essay about Coffin Joe by Andre Barcinski, and a 37-page reproduction of an original Coffin Joe comic book, translated from Portuguese. In these comics, Joe is not really the central character, but rather an onlooker while some other poor fellow makes evil dealings with black magic.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Unfortunately, JosČ Marins was forced to drastically change the ending (which is easily obvious), but it still doesn't diminish the creativity and frenzied power of his heretical horror masterwork. While it may be difficult to comprehend, this film really did cause such a national stir in Brazil that, even today, controversy surrounded its recent theatrical re-release. A must-see for horror fans, This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, is everything the first Coffin Joe movie was, and much more.

 


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