Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse

Coffin Joe is not dead.

Despite appearances at the end of the previous film, Joe has not been struck down by angry spooks, he's merely been rendered catatonic. And blind. And under arrest on some very serious charges. You remember all those murders, that rape, the lesser charges (the whipping, the dismemberment.) Seems the authorities have had enough and want him to pay for his crimes.

Unfortunately, the charges don't stick and Joe is freed. I think maybe the prosecution team was from L.A. So, Joe returns to his home and, having regained his sight, resumes his mission to find the perfect wife to spawn him a child. This doesn't involve him taking out a personal ad in one of the weeklies. No, he abducts the five most eligible gals in town.

But how can Coffin Joe determine which one of the women is most worthy of his seed? He locks them in their communal boudoir and dumps a couple thousand tarantulas on them. The only one who doesn't screech her head off earns Joe's love. It's sort of like Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire, but with giant arachnids.

And the losers? They're sent down to Joe's underground lab and fed to the snakes by his hunchbacked assistant. Yeah, I didn't know Joe had an underground lab or a hunchbacked assistant, but such is the Secret Life Of An Undertaker.

But all is not well in Joe's life. No, it seems Joe's crimes are so vile that Satan himself wants a word with him. Joe is sucked through the ground (headfirst into a freshly dug grave, no less) straight into the underworld! And what a psyche-fuckin-delic Hell it is! For the next ten minutes the film switches to full-colour, and we're witness to muscle-bound demons pitchforking the damned. Sinners writhe and bleed, are whipped and beaten, all for the merriment of Satan. It really has to be seen to be believed! (Click here to view the scene.)

Joe is returned to Earth, and he's a better man for it, having learned the error of his ways. Okay, I'm lying. He's still a miserable son of a bitch, but the townsfolk have finally had enough. A mob gathers, and pursues Joe through a swamp, and to his doom. Again.

As sequels go, this one is pretty decent. Marins is clearing operating on a bigger budget. The hunchbacked assistant and underground lab are great, if incongruous, additions. And the trip to Hell must be seen. Seriously, I suspect Marins must've been on the really good acid when producing this segment. On the down side, the tacked-on moralizing ending comes across a bit forced, but this is otherwise worth seeing.

Directed by José Mojica Marins • Unrated • 1967 • 108 minutes

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