• Coffin Joe Trilogy, The (Limited Edition Box Set)

    Released by: Fantoma
    Released on: 10/22/2002
    Director: Jose Mojica Marins
    Cast: Jose Mojica Marins
    Year: Various
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    The Movies:

    Brazil’s own ‘Prime Minister of the Sinister’ gets repackaged in this new release from Fantoma. Previously available separately, and costing way too much money, these three classics have been bundled up all fancy-like in a special box at a reasonable price.


    Jose Mojica Marin’s stars as Coffin Joe, the local undertaker in a small Brazilian town, who wants nothing more than to find the perfect woman to bear him a son. Joe has inspired fear in a lot of the locals, as he has strange habit of blurting out rampaging blasphemous tirades at inopportune times. When Joe starts scoping out Terezinha to be his baby machine, things take a turn for the worse, as she happens to be engaged to Antonio, Joe’s only friend. But Joe, being as immoral as he is, doesn’t value the friendship enough to let it stop him from killing Antonio and raping Terezinha. When the deed is done, she hangs herself, cursing Joe and promising to drag his soul to hell. Joe’s none to happy about this, as he realizes that he’ll have to continue looking for a main squeeze to impregnate, which is no easy task when you’ve got crazy fingernails, a mono brow, and a crazy top-hat that you refuse to take off. Wandering back home through the cemetery, things start to take an odd twist, and Antonio appears from beyond the grave, where he sees the fate that will likely befall him.


    This second tale takes place directly after the first film, with Coffin Joe still searching about Sao Paulo for a mate in the same tired, old town. This time he has a Quasimodo-like assistant named Bruno who does his best to help CJ with the task at hand. Joe has also constructed a crazy torture pit of sorts in his house, where he traps women and tests them by dropping big freaky spiders on them and tossing handfuls of snake in with them. Joe meets Laura, and is instantly attracted to her, but when he finds out that one of the women he offed in his pit was pregnant with his child, he wigs out a bit. That night in his sleep, he has one of the most insane nightmares ever committed to celluloid, when he is dragged off to a freezing, snow covered Hell by a skinny black zombie thing, where he sees himself as Satan, beating and tormenting the damned.


    The final film in the series takes a different approach. The first third of the film consists of a series of seemingly unrelated vignettes about junkies, all of which end in some form of tragedy, be it death by vaginal stick impalement by a hippie who looks like Moses, or other assorted and sundry incidents. A doctor who has written a book on drugs and drug related incidents relates all of these to a panel of experts, including Jose Mojica Marins in his real life persona. It turns out that the doctor had acquired four of the survivors from the previously related tales of debauchery and gathered them for an experiment to base his book on. He has them all indulge in a room with a giant poster of Coffin Joe hung prominently on the wall and takes them to a showing of his film (as well as a strange theatrical event and a nightclub), where they are deeply disturbed by what they see. Once they’ve been exposed to Coffin Joe, he doses them up, and we see their individual hallucinations that all lead up to a very strange conclusion.

    While the plots may not sound all that unique, these are some of the most original horror films I’ve ever seen, and while Coffin Joe may be one of the most despicable and misogynistic tyrants to ever frolic across the screen, you can’t help but be enthralled by his on screen presence. Full of scenes of violence that still have the power to shock even today’s jaded viewers and twisted, demented hallucinatory scenes of depravity, the Coffin Joe Trilogy is a must see for any self respecting horror fan. Coffin Joe is just too damn cool.

    Each of these three movies has been remastered from Marin’s original negatives. Presented in 1.66.1 (unfortunately not enhanced for anamorphic TV sets), there are specs, scratches and print blemishes evident throughout the duration of each film. That being said, these are drastic improvements over the prior VHS releases and I don’t think they’ve looked this good in a long time. The color scenes seem to have held up better than the black and white ones, though it could be that the print damage is harder to see that makes it appear that way.

    All three films are presented with their original Portuguese language tracks in Dolby Digital Mono. There is oft times background hiss and other forms of mild audio distortion noticeable, but they certainly sound a lot better here than they ever did on VHS and despite the imperfections, everything is easy to understand. Crisp and clean removable English subtitles are provided on the disc for the feature and the extras as well.

    Each disc comes with the same three trailers on it (one trailer for each of the films in the set). In addition to the trailers, which are a lot of fun, each disc also has a separate interview with Marins where he discusses the making of each film and some of the interesting things that happened during the productions (i.e. escaped tarantulas and snakes finding their way into the homes that neighbored the sets) as well as a great reproduction of a Coffin Joe Comic book (in English) and liner notes. The box set also includes and exclusive comic book available nowhere else. The comics read like the old EC Tales From the Crypt comics, and are definitely worth taking a look at for Coffin Joe fans. Everything is wrapped up in an ultra cool coffin shaped package.

    The Final Word:

    This set is an affordable way for Coffin Joe fans to pick up the three Fantoma releases and enjoy these underrated cult classics. A must own.