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Thursday, October 05, 2006


directed by Jose Mojica Marins

You want a real evil villain? I submit the one and only Coffin Joe. Certainly one of the most despicable characters to slime across the screen in horror history, he was created and portrayed in several movies by the infamous Brazilian director Jose Mojica Marins. Wearing a top hat and black cape, bearded and wielding long curling fingernails, Coffin Joe is an undertaker who does not believe in God and who has cultivated a powerful hatred for all things superstitious in the process. When he gets pissed his eyes go bloodshot and then all hell breaks loose. His philosophy is summed up in a memorable sequence when he bellows drunkenly at a gathering wind that is presumably filled with the spirits of the dead, "Nothing is stronger than my disbelief!". Since he has the townsfolk cowering in fear and he is not fettered to any conviction in judgment after death, he freely indulges in his sadistic whims and the list of his atrocities in this film is sickening: He murders his wife, drowns his best friend after bludgeoning him, rapes his best friend's wife and is responsible for her suicide, gouges the eyes out of a nosy physician and then lights him on fire and that's not all. The grainy low budget appearance of the movie somehow makes the violence more convincing and distressing. It's obviously not a nice story but through the progression of these uncomfortable sequences it becomes clear that ghastly retribution awaits at the hands of the angry dead. Even though it's some four decades old it is not for the faint of heart but I've always found it's sheer nastiness oddly compelling. Coffin Joe appeared in a sequel two years later called "This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse" where, after more behaving badly, he is literally dragged into Hell by a faceless demon. Upon meeting the Devil Coffin Joe yells at him "You do not exist!". Now that's some powerful atheism.


Blogger scottra said...

I have never thanked you for turning me onto this amazing film. Ze' makes Frank Booth sort of look like a pussy.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to hunt down the sequel, but my search shall continue!


8:09 AM  

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