| Coffin Joe returns for a third time and he sure hasn't mellowed a bit
Embodiment of Evil is the third in José Mojica Marins' Coffin Joe / Zé do Caixão trilogy. In them all Marins plays the said anti-hero who is an atheist grave-digger who antagonises the folks who live around him. In the first two movies his antics were restricted to a small village but in this latest instalment he his released from prison and immediately starts wreaking havoc in São Paulo. So the scope does seem to be a little bit wider and the budget does seem to be noticeably larger. I am guessing that cinema fashion had finally found Coffin Joe's type of movie in vogue in 2008. In the past ten years or so there has been an increase in horror films that focus on sadism and torture. Well, it has to be said that this was precisely the kind of thing Marins was doing in his Coffin Joe films back in the 60's. So the resurrection of the character forty years later sort of makes sense.
The first two films in the trilogy were At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964) and This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967). Both were pretty extreme for their time in terms of sadism but both also were generally pretty weird with elements of surrealism thrown in for good measure. With Embodiment of Evil there is no way on Earth you could say that Marins has mellowed out. In fact, this latest instalment is up there with all the latest sadistic horror films in terms of sheer grotesque depravity and excess. However, what sets it apart from most of those is the demented imagination on display. In amongst the sadism is a twisted imagination and many striking visual moments. It wouldn't be a Marins movie without this. So, in the end, this is a very worthwhile end to the trilogy and one that will certainly be appreciated by Coffin Joe aficionados as well as those who like the more visceral side of the horror genre.