A Tribute to Coffin Joe

For America, it was Bela Lugosi. For Spain, it was Paul Naschy. For Brazil, it was José Mojica Marins. These were horror icons that built a dozen sequels, whether they were in the films or not. You’ll of course know who Bela was, as often as his face is plastered everywhere when Halloween rolls around. If you’ve ever seen clips or illustrations from the 60s of wolf men, you were probably looking at Paul Naschy in all his hairy glory. But what of José Mojica Marins? The man’s absolutely amazing. He’d already been involved with 80 films by the time he was 18!

I think I may be sick...

I think I may be sick…

 

Coffin Joe: He’s a sadistic murderer with long nails and a top hat, a terrifyingly thick mono-brow, as well as mind-numbing monologues about his search for the perfect woman to bear his seed. You may also know him by another name, Zé do Caixão. Every time I see a really long translation of a Spanish or Brazillian, or even Italian title…this man springs to mind. ‘At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul’, and ‘This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse’ are his most infamous films.

 

esta-noite-encarnarei-no-teu-cadaver

Most of his films were low budget, and they’re indescribable. Imagine a sort of zombie trip through both a world that is real and unreal, then being punched in the face by a sudden explosion of color, and finally you’re shaken awake (quite rudely) for an epic climax. If that description was confusing, don’t worry. That’s just ‘This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, my personal favorite.

They’re films that you can hate and love at the same time. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that strongly for any non-Coffin Joe films.

José has a personality in his role that drives you to press on through the evils of Coffin Joe, rooting for him and yet wanting him to get caught at the same time. When he dies or gets punished in the end, there’s always a secret the audience realizes: he’s going to come back, and when he does…he’ll be bigger, badder, and even more long-winded.

Sadism and personal grooming aside, he's got a great personality.

Sadism and personal grooming aside, he’s got a great personality.

 

Don’t let the length of the films intimidate you. His trilogy in particular is an experience every horror fan needs to have at least once in his or her life. Do it one go, though, or you may not have the strength to try again…oh, and just for good measure, this awesome skit by Ray Castile sums Coffin Joe up perfectly. You should probably check this guy out on Youtube.

 

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