I won't go into the plot development because there is no plot development. Another example of a basic story shoehorned around a number of scenes of (mainly) women being skinned, tortured etc on the flimsiest pretext. 'Coffin Joe' has been released from prison despite the small matter of having killed 'nearly 30' people during his incarceration for 40 years. He wants to find a lady friend to continue his bloodline. That's your lot.
Matters are not helped by the appearance of the portly, geriatric killer of this lamentable film 'Coffin Joe' who looks like a cross between a 1920's silent film villain and a nursing home resident. He wanders around the streets of Sao Paulo repleat in black cape and black top hat, large silver medallion accompanied by a club-footed hunchback called Bruno.
This aged svengali, without much trouble or explanation attracts a small group of devoted followers to aid him and whilst the bodies start to mount the police are left to scratch their heads and wonder how on earth they are going to find an elderly, long finger-nailed, Victorian-style attired pantomime villain in the company of a club-footed hunchback.
This film epitomises a lot that is wrong about modern horror and the pity is that there are people who will really like this misogynistic drivel.
Special dishonourable mention must go to the actor who plays Coffin Joe for his delivery and performance. To match his flamboyant attire he also plays it deliberately over the top like he is in a theatrical production of Hamlet at the Old Vic. His delivery of lines really got on my nerves after a short while and just contributed to the running theme of ridiculousness in every scene of this film.
This is the type of film that would have done the rounds in our school playground with everyone having their favourite 'bit' There was lots of pointless unerotic nudity and you could fast forward past the old bloke talking until you got to the bit where they inserted the rat into that woman.
This film isn't (emotionally) shocking or scary; it is as hackneyed as employing a hunchback manservant. This film enjoyed cliches so I will end on one. I am giving this film 1 star as I cannot give 0.
Watch a horror with some effort and intelligence behind it instead. There are lots out there.
on 5 September 2014
This is the third installment of a three part series. The first two parts took place in 1964 and 1967 an the modern film doesn't expect anyone to have seen them as there are many flashbacks to those films.
This feature opens with a monologue about the perfect child being born in and imperfect womb, someone above God, but below Satan. Josef Zanatas (no backward masking there) is released from a mental asylum/prison after spending decades there for his bad acting and murderous deeds in those 60's films. He immediately has an entourage of followers and women who want to have his child, but can't seem to find the perfect, imperfect womb. He also has a child killer cop after him as well as the priest son of a man he killed. He is also troubled with visions of the people that he killed in previous features...which we watch in black and white.
This is a gory cult film, better then the ones from Mexico. Some of the torture scenes reminded me of something from "Hell Raiser" while others seemed inspired from "Blood Sucking Freaks." The film is in Portuguese with English subtitles. I watched the Blu-Ray version which exhibited above average cinematography for a "B" film. The blind old witches flashed me back Macbeth.
This is a macabre exploitation masterpiece for all the sick pups out there.
Perv Guide: F-bomb, sex, full frontal nudity, gruesome torture scenes.
on 1 August 2009
Ah...Coffin Joe, creator of a fascinating cycle of horror films from the 1960s-70s, culminating in the remarkable "Awakening of the Beast" which is a must-see for any fan of surreal cinema.
However, comebacks are rarely satisfying, and the fact that Joe is now a pensioner had me very worried about this film. I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the blu-ray edition, and I am very glad that I did. This is a lovely presentation of a very visually psychadelic film, and I can only hope the same care can be lavished on other oddball films from around the world.
This will certainly not be to everyone's taste, and this review is not for those people. This is a film for people who like Jean Rollin, who have purchased DVDs from Mondo Macabro, or who own anything from Turkish cinema. If you think horror films start and end at Saw, then don't bother.
Embodiment of Evil is silly, anachronistic, gory, misogynistic, laughably bad and beatifully stunning. It is a real modern mondo mess, and I love it. Long live Coffin Joe.
This 2008 film completes the Coffin Joe trilogy, started back in 1963. Gone is the fuzzy black & white and poor sound of the two originals as the murderous undertaker is released from 40 years in prison and unleashed upon the unsuspecting people of Sao Paulo. In comes lashings of colour and a clear sound, however that means much of the menace and character have gone as well.
To fully understand this film I’d suggest you see “At midnight I’ll take your soul” and “This night I’ll posses your corpse”, both of which form the first two films in the Coffin Joe box set. This is recommended [but not essential] because the film makes numerous back references to these earlier films and can leave you at a loss to their relevance if you haven’t see them. The old footage has been revamped [pity they didn’t do that with the remaining 6 films in the box set] with a sharper picture and sound, but Coffin Joe hasn’t changed his ways at all, but the film content has. The action is much more sadistic in style, reminding one of ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘the Grudge’, but the style is unique, bordering on the edge of pornography [without the explicit sex]. Having said that, some of the earlier scenes have been edited to reduce the violence and satisfy ‘modern’ tastes.
The disc has limited features of a 30 minute ‘making of’ and the film trailer, other than that it’s 5.1 sound or 2.0 stereo with or without subtitles, but the English subtitles come on as a default [as the film is in Portuguese]. Not everyone’ cup of tea but it has more blood than ‘The Shinning’ and much of the violence is left to your imagination, but most is visible. Why only ****, because the story hasn’t developed from the originals.
on 5 August 2009
''Well, at least it wasn't a remake'' were all the comments I could muster as I ejected this latest direct to video horror flick from my player. To be fair, I had high hopes for this latest Coffin Joe adventure, but after sitting through 90 minutes of what seemed to be nothing more than a little old man run around the city of São Paulo as if he had taken a wrong turn on his way to an old folks' home halloween party, I hope you can forgive my sarcasm towards the material.
Anyway, onto the story: Released from incarceration after serving a 40 year prison sentence, Coffin Joe (a sadistic undertaker) is back to his evil old ways and hellbent on impregnating a young lovely with his very own demon child. This is purely so he can carry on his devlish bloodline - which I believe has been his intent since the series began way back in the 60s. I know it's hard to find the right woman, but I'm thinking he could have found someone in 40 years - surely?
As the movie progresses, we meet Joe's hunchback servant Bruno (I didn't know if he was supposed to be a cliche. But, he was) and a bevvy of beautiful young women who seem to fall at our anti-hero's feet at the ... er, drop of his hat. With this much luck with the opposite sex, I couldn't figure out his problem with the ''lack of demon baby'' situation? Thrown into the mix are a vgilante cop and a crazy priest who are both obsessed with bringing Joe down and they seem equally as unhinged as he - the sequence where the priest is introduced has to be one of the best ''what the..?'' moments in recent horror cinema.
Hobbling towards the finish line, ''Embodiment of Evil'' throws up old man/young woman sex with blood gushing down from some old witches hanging off a washing line, a drugged lady forced to eat her own buttocks, a penis eating orgy in a 'Doctor Who' style quarry and a man of the cloth who has taken to electrocuting his own nipples - this latest Coffin Joe entry does on the surface offer goofy and splatter happy thrills, however this is all undone as the script seems to have been written by a 13 year old boy and the acting leaves a lot to be desired thus taking you out of the action on a regular minute by minute basis.
José Mojica Marins returns as Coffin Joe, but as with most cases in life - age hasn't been kind and what seemed like a creepy character 40 years ago now comes across as if your grandad had accidently smelled some glue. Granted, he does infuse the character with all he can, but ultimately all you see if an old man trying to get it on with young ladies with a silly hat.
As always, Anchor Bay's presentation is flawless (this review is from the UK Region 2 release). I only saw this on DVD, but I wager the Blu ray is very excellent as the dvd has superb sound and picture quality - the blacks are midnight blacks and the blood is bright red. The extras are minimal and only include a standard 'making of' and trailer. All in all, not the 40 year comeback fight I was hoping for, but if you are in the mood for some bonkers old man leering over young woman and moaning about how everything has changed since the 60s - then, this could be for you. Think Victor Meldrew crossed with Freddy Krueger in a Dario Argento film and you may be near what you can expect. Worth a rental, proceed with caution before purchase.
As far as I know, Brazil isn't famous for great horror films. But this one is excellent. I didn't recognise any actors but my Brazilian girlfriend did. The dialogue is in Brazilian Portuguese but the English subtitles are very clear.
Most performances are excellent, really gritty and lifelike. Well above your usual horror standard of acting. Curiously, I found the main exception to this to be Mr Coffin himself. He projects his voice and speaks slowly, as if he is on a theatre stage or even in a pantomime. It's as if he's always addressing the whole world instead of whoever he's talking to in the scene. Quite Karloff-esque!
The scenes are shot and lit really well, although I thought some of the favela locations looked suspiciously clean(!) From the beginning it seemed to have a slightly raw, grainy look to it like an old '70s film. I don't have HD telly but those that do may have to adjust to the 'Grimehouse' quality of the picture. Conversely, I thought the 5.1 sound was good and clear.
There's a good helping of freaky horror moments with victims meeting rather unpleasant fates which make you wince and say "Ouch!" (or something).
There are flashbacks shown in retro-style monochrome. If they are skillfully created for this flick, they are very good. If they are snippets of a previous film, I definitely want it; I find that what some older horror films lack in technical detail they often make-up for with true suspense. Sadly, I think that's one thing lacking from this offering. I found myself thinking "Oh look, she's going to get it." rather than "Is she.. is she... EEK!".
Highly recommended all the same.
Hey -I just noticed from the cover that there are indeed 2 films preceding this one which were made in the 60's. I shall seek them out and review them if possible.
on 24 July 2012
This film is an excellent conclusion to the Coffin Joe trilogy started by At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul and This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse.
It's a lot gorier and sexier than those films because they were made in the 1960s but this is 40 years on and censorship is more liberal. It has flashbacks to both films but mostly concentrates on Joe's release from prison into modern day Brazil and his quest to sire a son.
There are interesting counter culture points as well as commentary about how violent society is nowadays, but mostly this is a wallow in nudity, surrealism and mega gore. The special effects are out of this world and most of them are not CGI.
Synapse bluray is region free and therefore playable worldwide. It blows Anchor Bay UK's bluray away.
The picture is much sharper and brighter with natural grain but such detail its amazing. The sound is better too, and we get the same extras as the ABUK disc plus an extra featurette. Also this is a 2 disc set with a DVD version of the film.
on 30 July 2012
If you have seen other films by Mojica Marins, including the documentary "O Estranho Mundo de Zé do Caixão", you really know the artist and creator he is. He's a great director and was a hard critic of Brazilan favelas' problems, religion and drugs, in his former films . His films were banned or some scenes were cut by the goverment. With a very low budget he has created one of the most interesting characters of horror movies, the misogynist Zé do Caixão (Coffin Joe). If you want to see something different, with an open mind, buy it now and create your complete Coffin Joe Collection! If you are not interested in art films, there is "The Twilight Saga" for your light enjoyment!!
In Portuguese with English sub-titles.
After 40 years in prison a man is released and quickly renews his search for a woman who can help him to continue his bloodline by giving birth to a perfect son. I'm not sure that there's much point in going into more detail than that, because this is like a porn movie with a paper-thin story attached and people only watch it for the porn anyway - or horror, in this case.
Well, it is pretty horrific in places. I'm not just referring to the acting and script, but also to those parts which were deliberately designed to horrify because there were more than a few toe-curling moments. From that point of view, then, if horror's your thing (and I'm no connoisseur) I would say there is much to satisfy here. But the glaring weakness is the man at the centre of it all, in more ways than one. In Brazil I guess he's something of a cinematic hero but I had never heard of José Mojica Marins before, the man who not only plays the leading part of 'Coffin Joe' the liberated undertaker, but he is also the writer and director as well. He looks like a film producer I suppose, maybe a businessman, but he doesn't look like any of the other roles, not least the supposedly scary actor because there was really nothing scary about him at all. This was a big weakness, imho. The film could have been greatly improved by replacing 'Mojica' with a truly sinister character, and while I think of improvements that could have been made, there were quite a few stereotypes among the cast and film sets that reminded me of black and white horror films of the 1930s, such as Mojica's sidekick the club-footed hunchback Bruno whose script seems to be little more than saying 'Yes master' with bowed head. There have been more than a few films of many years gone by with vampires looking for the perfect procreation (Devil's Advocate being a relatively recent example) so as a story there was little of originality here despite its Brazilian origins.
And that leaves the horror set-pieces themselves, which I would like to describe but that might spoil things for anyone thinking of seeing this. As trash horror it hits the mark and most of the special effects are done well, in fact some are done extremely well. As I said, horror isn't my genre of choice and it's hard to suggest that I derived any enjoyment even from this film's strengths. The distractions of a mis-cast central character, poor editing and continuity and a really rather unoriginal story made pleasure hard to find; I think the best I could describe it as would be 'watchable' but in all honesty it was a relief when it was all over. I accept however that horror fans might love it.
A sad point to note is that one of the leading support characters Jece Valadão died before the film was completed, and apparently only about one third of the scenes he was scheduled to appear in actually reach the screen.
Coffin Joe rises once more to wreak havoc upon the modern world. In a fascinating blend of horror, black humour and social satire our now-aged anti-hero cuts a swathe through moral boundries in an attempt to blacken his name.
While this lacks some of the punch the earlier Coffin Joe movies had, the movie isn't afraid to pile on the gore and dance across the line of good taste. It's not going to please everyone, so it's worth checking out Joe's back story before indulging.