What's Yours Is Mine
'This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse'
In 1967, Brazil – and specifically São Paulo – had been through coup after coup, courtesy of LBJ and the CIA, and the horror on the streets was directly reflected in the cinema of director/actor/rebel José Mojica Marins. Playing his own version of the devil/death figure – Zé do Caixão or "Coffin Joe" – Marins created a black-clad, top-hatted figure that mirrored his country's chaos.
Marins first introduced Coffin Joe in 1963's At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul. The demonically suave character was such a success that Marins made a sequel, This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse, in 1967 and resurrected the character multiple times, including in the 2008 film Embodiment of Evil, thus creating one of the most bizarre and exquisite depictions of politicized evil ever committed to film. Stalking through the ultra-low-budget sets with the haughty mien of a true prince of darkness, Marins cut a truly awesome figure that represented everything from Brazil's broken bureaucracy to the influential but often corrupt church. Neither villain nor hero, Coffin Joe is the very definition of the dark "other." He's a horny devil, and he commands an army of tarantulas, the perfect metaphor for the creepy-crawly CIA spooks who trained and bankrolled the real nightmares in the Sixties in South America.
But forget about all that. What's the dirty history of the Americas compared to the outlandishly amorous actions of Coffin Joe? Both a personification of devilry and a sexual liberator (sort of) by way of arachnophobia, Marins' creation is unforgettably weird and utterly unique.
This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse screens Saturday, March 17, noon, Alamo Ritz, accompanied by Gary Lucas' live original solo guitar.