Released by: Synapse Films
Released on: January 31st, 2017.
Director: José Mojica Marins
Cast: José Mojica Marins, Tina Wohlers, Antonio Fracari, Jose Lobo
Purchase From Amazon
This second Coffin Joe tale takes place directly after the first film, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul. It begins with Coffin Joe (once again played by writer/director/actor José Mojica Marins) somehow cleared of the crimes he committed. With that out of the way, he is still searching about Sao Paulo for a mate in the same tired, old town. This time he has a Quasimodo-like assistant named Bruno (Jose Lobo) who does his best to help Joe 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.
And then Joe meets a beautiful young woman named Laura (Tina Wohlers). He is instantly attracted to her, but when he finds out that one of the women he tortured and then murdered in his pit was pregnant with his child, he snaps. That night in his sleep, he has one of the most insane nightmares ever committed to celluloid. Here we see him dragged off to a freezing, snow covered Hell by a skinny black zombie where he sees himself as Satan, beating and tormenting the damned.
Working with a slightly bigger budget this time and having improved a fair bit as both an actor and a filmmaker, with This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse we see José Mojica Marins evolve and improve as a filmmaker considerably. One of those rare sequels that betters the original film, this picture takes everything that was great about At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul and amplifies it considerably. The character of Coffin Joe is somehow even more sinister this time around. Effectively given a second chance by the local law enforcement agencies, one that he really didn’t deserve, he quickly throws it all away and gets back to his old tricks. While in the first picture he was content to rape and beat his female captives, this time around he throws some bizarre torture and further degradation into the mix – he keeps them in a pit for God’s sake… one that he fills with snakes! On top of that, he’s also a bit more of a murdering psychopath this time around, taking out some of his foes with conventional weapons like a hatchet but also by using some razor blades he’s had fitted into his shoes.
All of this plays out with Marins’ rotty, almost primitive visual style, the black and white cinematography providing some interesting atmosphere and then BAM. That color sequence where we’re dragged into Hell with Coffin Joe comes at you out of nowhere and leaves you with your eyes bugging out of your head. It’s here that the movie really takes off, changing from a misogynistic horror picture grinding an axe against Brazil’s Catholic mores to something far more subversive and surreal. Marins’ vision of Hell is insane, it’s awash with an array of primary colors and literally populated by devils with pitchforks poking away at the poor souls damned to spend eternity with them. But it doesn’t end there – without wanting to spoil the big finale, Marins proves he’s not completely immoral with his big finish, one that brings everything full circle and brings this chapter of Coffin Joe’s story to a fitting conclusion.
Synapse’s DVD release of This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse is presented in 1.33.1 fullfame from what the packaging touts as a ‘35mm negative scan supervised by director José Mojica Marins.’ These are basically cleaned up versions of older scans – rumor has it that the elements for Marins’ early films are in such bad shape that the licensors aren’t allowing for a new scan (hence, no Blu-ray, unfortunately) – so keep your expectations in check. There’s a fair bit of print damage evident throughout playback but contrast is pretty decent with solid blacks, good mid tones and clean whites. The black and white footage shows decent enough contrast, all things considered, while the color sequence looks decent, if a little bit faded.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, in the film’s native Portuguese with removable subtitles provided in English only. Audio quality is on par with the video quality in that it is imperfect but probably as good as we’re going to get any time soon. There’s a bit of hiss here and there but the levels are generally well balanced.
Extras, which appear to be ported from the 2002 Cinemagia DVD boxed set that was released in Brazil, start off with an eight minute featurette entitled The Making of This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse. Here Marins talks about the making of the picture and all that this entailed, such as the difficulties of working with live spiders and snakes as well as casting the film with amateur performers. Interesting stuff. Synapse also includes a five minute piece entitled A Visit To The Coffin Joe Museum that is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a guided tour hosted by Marins in which he shows off his collection of memorabilia from throughout his career.
More substantial is a twenty-five minute featurette called The Universe Of Mojica Marins, a short film directed by Coffin Joe protégé Ivan Cardossa in 1978. This is quite an interesting piece that follows Marins about as he appears in public as Coffin Joe, deals with various coconspirators on some new projects and even hangs out with his mother. There are a lot of great photos from Marins’ childhood here, plenty of clips of him just going about his daily life, working both behind and in front of the camera and interacting with some seriously rabid fans. The documentary also uses some interesting clips from throughout his career up to this point, both in color and in black and white but really, it’s the interviews with Marins that gives this most of its weight as he’s just an interesting guy with a pretty bizarre world view.
Also on hand is a second interview with José Mojica Marins in which he covers other aspects of his career as Brazil’s most infamous horror icon. Outside of that we get a quick video introduction to the film by Coffin Joe, the film’s original theatrical trailer, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.
The Final Word:
This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse is a genuinely great film, a truly subversive masterpiece of low budget horror moviemaking that is as twisted as it is unforgettable. Synapse’s DVD release presents the movie in decent shape and with some solid extras, highlighted by Cardossa’s The Universe Of Mojica Marins short film.