This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse (1967)

aka Tonight I Will Enter Your Corpse, Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadaver
Article 3714 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-30-2011
Posting Date: 10-15-2011
Directed by Jose Mojica Marins
Featuring Jose Mojica Marins, Tina Wohlers, Nadia Freitas
Country: Brazil
What it is: Bizarre philosophical horror

Coffin Joe, cleared of his crimes, moves to another town to continue his search for the superior woman to bear his child, and embarks on a campaign of terror and murder to achieve his goal.

This is my first encounter with Jose Mojica Marins and his most famous character Ze do Caixao, or as he is better known in this country, Coffin Joe, though he’s never referred to as such (even in the subtitles) of my copy of the movie. As luck would have it, I watched the sequel first, but it seems self-contained enough that I don’t think I need to have seen the first movie to follow the second. Coffin Joe is a sadistic murderer, but what really makes him interesting as a character is that he has a philosophy behind his actions (which is not to say that his philosophy is necessarily right, even within the context of his movies) which occasionally results in him doing something heroically good; one of his first acts in this movie (once it really gets started) is to save a child from an accident. He is also fatally flawed, in that he is given occasionally to mistakes that compromise him, and is subject to hallucinatory nightmares. If there’s one thing I can say about the character, he’s a fascinating talker. The movie itself has a real sense of surreal and jarring horror, but its main problem may be its lack of subtlety; the themes come across as blatantly obvious and a little too self-consciously articulated. Furthermore, since Coffin Joe’s philosophy isn’t really that complex, you can really only listen to his talk for so long before it starts to get tiresome. Still, there is something compellingly unique about this movie, and I’m looking forward to comparing it to some of his other work.

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