Monday, January 21, 2008

Coffin Joe - A Pioneer of CACA

Joe gets busy with the blasphemy in an early scene

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul
(1963) is the debut of Brazil"s "Coffin Joe" character - part philosopher, part demented genius, part plain old bad guy with the nastiest fingernails you ever saw. Played by director/auteur/fruitloop Jose Mojica Marins, Coffin Joe is an underground institution in Brazil.

Gravedigger Ze do Caixao is a bully who's got everybody in the little town buffaloed. Not only are they scared of him physically - he attacks anyone who crosses him, quite viciously - but his defiantly blasphemous attitude really gets folks right where they live.

So Ze discovers his wife cannot bear him a son and kills her. Then he tries to rape his best friend's fiancee but she bites him. She dies too, in childbirth, as does the best friend. And so on.

Eventually even the timid villagers get fed up and they track ol' Ze down- to the crypt where, perhaps luckily, the supernatural has already caught up with him.

Bear in mind this was made in a Catholic military dictatorship in 1963, and then consider the following laundry list of CACA-tatiousness: One hand mangling with bottle; one barren wife vs. tarantula; one eye-gouging with nasty long fingernails; one attack with crown of thorns. Also gratuitous bad teeth, long speeches about the futility of life (in general) and religion (in particular), and eating meat on Friday.

With all this going on, I figure At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul would be a good entry for an Easter double feature. A heart-felt three coils.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great review! I knew this would be right up your alley. It does leave me wondering how a movie gets a full set of coils though.

Hm, have you seen Jodorowski's 'El Topo'?