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This Night Iíll Possess Your Corpse (1967)

Synapse Films
DVD Released: 1/31/2017

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/9/2017

We probably think of the concept of making sequels bigger, but not necessarily better than their predecessors as being a modern idea, but it is not. You can go back and look at the old Universal Monsters movies and see how they embraced this idea by adding more monsters to each movie. Even low-budget foreign films got in on this practice. When his At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul took off in his native Brazil, filmmaker Jose Mojica Marins decided to bring his "Coffin Joe" character back for another adventure in This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, a movie which almost plays like a remake of the early movie, but with more sets and characters.

Having survived the supernatural onslaught at the conclusion of his last outing, and having been exonerated of his crimes due to a lack of witnesses and evidence, Coffin Joe (Marins) returns to his village. The locals, who once cowered in fear at the sight of this man, are beginning to grow weary of his superior attitude. Meanwhile, Joe continues to search for a perfect mate who can carry on his bloodline. He decides that the best way to do this is to kidnap every young woman in town. The process actually works, as this is how he meets Laura (Tina Wohlers), a woman who shares his dark view of the world. As Joe begins to ponder domestic bliss, the townspeople finally decide that they must stop him once and for all.

From the outset, two things become very obvious about This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, which go hand-in-hand, especially if you watch this one back-to-back with At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul. First of all, I don't know if Marins was working with more money or a larger scope, but you immediately realize that, as noted in the opening, that this movie is bigger. Again, if you've just watched the first movie, it becomes very obvious that most of that film took place on small sets. From the opening of This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, Marins takes us outside to show that the townspeople actually live in a town. Whereas Coffin Joe's first outing contained on spider, this one contains a menagerie of creepy-crawlies. Apparently Joeís near-depth experience in the previous film caused him to move, as he now lives in a much bigger house which, for some reason, has one room filled with many feminine twin beds. And then we have the infamous color sequence. Joe envisions himself going to hell, which is in color for some reason. While Marinsí films offer some weird ideas, it is in this famous sequence that he busts out his insane visual concepts, as this evil place features body parts coming out of the walls and blood dripping form the ceiling. Does it make sense or add to the narrative? No, but itís certainly memorable.

The other thing that you will immediately note about This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse is that itís essentially a remake of At Midnight Iíll Take Your Soul. The major difference is that this time, Joe has an Igor-like assistant named Bruno (Nivaldo Lima), who is cursed with a terrible case of wandering hunchback. As in the first film, we hear Coffin Joe rant about life and death, and his desire for an offspring. He kills some people and then plays it cool around the locals. Instead of simply hounding some women, in this movie, he kidnaps a bunch and has a weird audition to find a mate. And, as in the first movie, Joeís evil actions lead him to a supernatural retribution. Some things have been changed slightly, but the plot points are almost identical to the first outing, save for the fact that Joe comes off as a bit more human here.

Without sounding too jingoistic, I would have to assume that life is a little different in Brazil, especially 50 years ago. But, I still canít wrap my mind around the scene where Coffin Joe is able to crash a party simply by showing his business card. Are funeral directors allotted that much power in Brazil. In any event, This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse is another super-weird entry by Marins and, again, itís certainly unique. The movie does earn extra kudos for one particular moment which precedes the color sequence. Iím the kind of person whose never seen the appeal in old, black & white horror movies, as they simply arenít scary to me. However, this one scene is undeniably creepy and hints at what Marins could have accomplished if he wasnít so busy being strange.

This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse shows that there are some brave actresses in Brazil on DVD courtesy of Synapse Films. The film has been framed at 1.33:1. The transfer reveals some defects from the source materials, such as minor scratches and white dots. There is also some grain in some shots. At other times, the image is very sharp and clear, including an unfortunate moment where we get a close-up of Joe kissing a woman and we can see her moustache. The color sequence does present some nice colors, but the scratches are very evident here. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital Mono audio track which delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. There is some mild hiss in some scenes, but those speaking are audible and the subtitles are easy to read.

The This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse DVD contains several extras. "The Making of This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse" (8 minutes) is essentially an interview with Marins, who describes his approach to the sequel and some conditions on the set. "A Visit to the Coffin Joe Museum" (4 minutes) has Marins giving us a tour of this rather elaborate display in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which contains costumes and memorabilia. "The Universe of Mojica Marins" is a 25-minute documentary on the filmmaker which examines his childhood and upbringing, his entry into the world of movies, and an explanation of Coffin Joe. This features a great deal of candid footage of Marins. "Interview with Jose Mojica Marins" (8 minutes) is another modern talk from the director, who talks about his early movies. The extras are rounded out by the ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER and a STILL GALLERY of rare photos.

Review Copyright 2017 by Mike Long