Jose Mojica Marins
Rubens Francisco Luchetti, Jose Mojica Marins
Mario Lima, Luis Sergio Person, Miller Vany
ONE EYED FILMS Limited
Just months before Marins made AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, the Brazilian military – with the help of the U.S. government – staged a coup d’etat against President João Goulart that saw the country fall under a military dictatorship until March 1985. As a result, media and cinema were heavily controlled by the State, meaning the director would often come up against problems with censorship. THE STRANGE WORLD OF COFFIN JOE is a perfect case in point, with the government taking issue with the film’s portrayal of necrophiliac foot fetish, cannibalism, nudity, and extreme torture. It is perhaps not surprising, given the strong exploitation elements in this, and many of Marins’ other work from the same period, that the director’s films would become firmly aligned with Brazil’s Cinema da Boca do Lixo (Mouth of Garbage) movement, even if he always saw himself as more of a lone wolf.
The first segment of this anthology film, The Dollmaker, takes the form of a slightly traditional Gothic tale, albeit with extra savergy, whilst the gloriously perverse middle chapter, Obsession, is weirdly romantic, regardless of its deeply disturbing themes including necrophilia. Yet, it is in his final story, Theory, that Marins tackles his favourite theme, disgust for the human race, in a gloriously shocking piece de resistance that remains one of the most memorable scenes in his entire filmography. And it is for the deeper meanings inherent in the last scene’s gross festival of degeneracy, themes which explore the animalistic side of humanity, that THE STRANGE WORLD OF COFFIN JOE lingers in the mind long after viewing. – Kat Ellinger
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