This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver)

(director/writer: José Mojica Marins; screenwriter: Aldenora De Sa Porto; cinematographer: Giorgio Attili; editor: Luiz Elias; music: Herminio Giménez; cast: José Mojica Marins (Coffin Joe), Tina Wohlers (Laura), Nadia Freitas (Marcia), Antonio Fracari (Truncador), Jose Lobo (Bruno); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: José Mojica Marins/Augusto Pereira; Fantoma; 1967-Brazil-in Portuguese with English subtitles)

“Tedious and overly preachy supernatural horror film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Hack legendary Brazilian pop culture schlock horror filmmaker José Mojica Marins (“At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul”/”Awakening of the Beast”) assumes the following roles: writer/director/actor/producer and stays true to his mediocre form by turning out such a tedious and overly preachy supernatural horror film that’s made even worse with its absurd religious overtones (it climaxes with an obnoxious ranting Devil capitulating to the invincible power of God as represented by a cross held by a priest). It’s so amateurishly accomplished that it could pass for a schoolboy’s film project. All the actors are nonprofessionals and it shows. This cult film is the middle leg in the director’s Coffin Joe trilogy. It’s in black-and-white but goes into cheesy color when it chronicles hell.

The film’s antihero is Coffin Joe (José Mojica Marins), who is detested by the good citizens in his small village because they think he’s the ‘incarnation of evil.’ Coffin Joe roams around the rustic village adorned in an all black outfit consisting of a cape and top hat, and has overgrown fingernails and a Devil’s goatee. He’s a nonstop ranter and is obsessively searching for a bride who can bear him a male child in order to ensure himself immortality. Bruno (Jose Lobo), a simpleminded hunchback, acts as his assistant as they try to locate a woman “immune” to terror and when they think they got such a candidate they kidnap her and put her through the “fear tests.” This involves placing tarantulas on their nude bodies and evaluating their reaction. Of the six girls held hostage, only Marcia (Nadia Freitas) passes the giggle test and shows no fear. The other girls are sadistically put to death in a snake-pit. Their deaths, watched gleefully by Coffin Joe, turn Marcia off and the lovebirds break up. Coffin Joe knows she won’t rat him out to others because of their love bonds, as he releases her from captivity and talks himself into believing she wasn’t tough enough to bear him a child.

Coffin Joe finds a soul mate in the sultry atheist Laura (Tina Wohlers), the daughter of the village’s most respected figure. They become sex partners and she becomes pregnant. But her pregnancy brings on health complications and her family must choose between the life of the mother and the life of the baby. This incident gets the entire village riled up over Coffin Joe, and the fanatical Devil worshiper gets his “punishment” in hell via an electric light show that neither the rock impresario Billy Graham from the old Fillmore theater days or the evangelist Billy Graham who knew God personally would ever sanction for even a New York second.