utorak, 4. rujna 2012.

Jose Mojica Marins - Kralj brazilskog horrora

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Možika Marins nije samo autor bizarnih, "primitivnih" horror filmova nego jedna od najosebujnijih figura lebdećeg svijeta nekoliko metara ispod zemlje.

At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul (À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma) (1964) .
Cijeli film:

Damned - The Strange World of Jose Mojica Marins

The Universe of Mojica Marins





































Trilogia do terror

Strange hostel of naked pleasures

Strange World of Coffin Joe

Awakening of the beast


Demons and Wonders - José Mojica Marins


A Cult Figure Conjures the Macabre

Coffin Joe Lives On: Larry Rohter discusses the horror films of José Mojica Marins, otherwise known as Coffin Joe.

SÃO PAULO, Brazil —  SEATED on a sofa in the living room of his modest apartment here, dressed in shorts and flip-flops, José Mojica Marins seems inoffensive. He is mild mannered and soft-spoken, and nothing suggests he has made a career of writing, acting in and directing provocative horror movies with titles like “Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind.”
Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times
The Brazilian filmmaker José Mojica Marins.
But Mr. Mojica’s cinema alter ego, Coffin Joe, a crazed and sadistic undertaker who always appears in a uniform of black, complete with top hat, cape and gruesome fingernails, is a different story altogether. His extreme behavior and demented look, starting with a pair of low-budget black-and-white 1960s films, “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul” and “This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse” — enhanced versions of which are to be released next year on DVD with new subtitles and improved prints and supplemental material — have made him a cult figure for fans and creators of the horror genre all over the world.
Some admirers see Mr. Mojica, who has directed, written or acted in more than 50 movies, as a kind of South American Roger Corman, a B-movie auteur whose films contain references to Nietzsche and Dante. Others view his work as pure camp — more in the tradition of Ed Wood and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” than Luis Buñuel or John Waters — or simply trash.
“I’m an original, unlike anybody else, but it’s been a hard road,” said Mr. Mojica (pronounced moe-ZHEE-kah). “I know that because of Coffin Joe I’m considered to be crazy, a blasphemer, and that some critics spit on me, but I’ve maintained my independence. I’m not connected or beholden to anyone.”  
Mr. Mojica was born here, in South America’s largest city, on a Friday the 13th in 1936, into a pair of Spanish immigrant families. His parents were circus performers who, tiring of life on the road, became managers of a movie theater, where Mr. Mojica intently observed every film that was shown, sneaking into the projection room to watch those his parents did not want him to see.
“You know the kid in that Italian movie ‘Cinema Paradiso’? ” he asked, speaking in Portuguese. “Well, when I saw that movie, I said ‘Jeez, that kid is just like me.’ That was my life. There wasn’t a movie I wouldn’t watch.”
An only child, he was given his first camera when he was 8 and never thought of anything but a life in cinema. His big break came when he acquired an abandoned synagogue here and turned it into a studio and academy, where he trained actors and technicians.
Both “At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul” and “This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse” were partly shot there, with scenes that featured eyes being gouged out and snakes and other creepy critters crawling over actresses’ faces; later films would even show cannibalism. But Brazil was under a right-wing military dictatorship, so Mr. Mojica’s eccentric look and activities aroused suspicions: in the name of authenticity rats, spiders and scorpions were allowed to roam the studio, and episodes in which actors or crew members died during production (though the deaths were unrelated to filming) added to his reputation for the macabre.
“The police thought it was all a facade behind which terrorists could be hidden, and it was hard to get that idea out of their heads,” Mr. Mojica recalled. But his biggest problems were with government censors, who were shocked and disgusted by his mixture of gore, sex and blasphemy, perhaps most notably a scene in “I’ll Take Your Soul” that has Coffin Joe eating a plate of lamb as he mocks a passing Good Friday procession.
“This film is of terrible bad taste, using and abusing beatings, torture, sex and extreme violence” one censor complained in a report that the writer and director André Barcinski obtained for his biography of Mr. Mojica, “Damned: The Life and Films of José Mojica Marins, Coffin Joe.” As a result several of the films had to be “mutilated,” as Mr. Mojica put it, in order to be released; one was prohibited, and an injunction prevented him from even beginning to shoot another.
Broke and with producers unwilling to finance projects that ran the risk of also being banned, Mr. Mojica was forced to put aside his own scripts and become a director for hire. He initially did low-budget westerns, science fiction and adventures, but as the 1970s wore on, he drifted into soft-core pornography, shooting movies like “The Virgin and the Macho Man” under the pseudonym J. Avelar. When even those opportunities dried up, he worked as a master of ceremonies at parties and dances.
“People confuse him with his character a lot, and it’s his fault,” said Mr. Barcinski, who is also the co-director of the documentary “Damned: The Strange World of José Mojica Marins.” “He used it as a means of making a living for 20 or 30 years, and it makes him a magnet for all kinds of strange people any time he is in a public setting.”
Over the years Mr. Mojica also dabbled in comic books and television, as the host of shows with names like “Beyond, Far Beyond the Beyond.” At the moment he is the host of a weekly horror-oriented talk show called “The Strange World of Coffin Joe” on a Brazilian cable channel, but he admits to being hopelessly incompetent with his own business affairs, so he has never made much money from any of his endeavors. 
Mr. Mojica seemed destined to remain in obscurity, but technology and globalization eventually came to his rescue. As the Coffin Joe films became available, first on VHS and then on DVD and YouTube, inquisitive horror fans outside Brazil discovered them and, beginning around 1990, started inviting him to film festivals in North America and Europe, where he would appear in character and invariably make a strong impression. 
“There was no real analog to him in American horror films,” explained Michael Gingold, the managing editor of Fangoria, the leading magazine covering the genre. “He grabbed a lot of attention, because these films were more extreme than many of those being made in America at the same time, and Coffin Joe was a singular figure, a precursor to characters like Freddy Krueger and Jason, in that he was a human being who chooses to do evil, and not a monster like Frankenstein or Dracula, for whom you could feel sorry. So there was a sense of great surprise that a rich collection of films had not yet been discovered.”
Mr. Mojica said the distinctive look of the Coffin Joe character first came to him in “an awful, violent, heavy nightmare” in the early 1960s. At that point he had filmed a couple of dramas and cowboy movies, with titles like “My Destiny in Your Hands” and “The Adventurer’s Fate,” but the dream made him realize that Brazil had no tradition of horror films, and that he could easily transplant the genre from the castles and forests of Europe to the plazas and streets familiar to the audience he wanted to attract.
“I was being taken to the cemetery to be buried, but I was still alive,” Mr. Mojica recalled of the nightmare. “I remember that I was wearing all black, so I started filming that way.”
The character’s other trademark is his impossibly long fingernails. Mr. Mojica said that from 1964 to 1999 he never once cut his nails, so that “at their peak they were nearly a yard long, with curves that made them look like strands of spaghetti.” Since then he has stored the fingernails at home, gluing them back on when he slips into character.
Coffin Joe has always held a strong appeal for musicians, especially among punk and heavy-metal bands. The Ramones were such dedicated fans that on a tour of Brazil the guitarist Johnny Ramone gave Mr. Mojica a prized leather jacket, autographed by all four members, as a token of the group’s esteem. Members of the Cramps have also sought out Mr. Mojica when their tour schedule brought them here, and the drummer of the British band the Horrors has even adopted Coffin Joe as his stage name.
In the heavy-metal world Mr. Mojica’s best-known disciple is probably the singer and film director Rob Zombie, who used dialogue from “Awakening of the Beast” on the White Zombie song “I, Zombie” and has inserted oblique tributes to the Coffin Joe films into his own movies. Groups like Sepultura, Necrophagia and Faith No More have also written songs that refer, directly or indirectly, to the Coffin Joe movies.
“All horror characters go against prevailing mores, but part of Coffin Joe’s appeal is that he actively sets out to attack and dismember mainstream societal and religious values,” Mr. Gingold said. “So it’s hardly a surprise that punk and metal, which often do the same thing, should embrace him.”
In 2008 Mr. Mojica was finally able to make “Embodiment of Evil,” which he had conceived more than 40 years earlier as the last part of a Coffin Joe trilogy. With a budget of $2 million — the earlier parts of the trilogy had cost less than $20,000 each to make — the film, which recently became available in a DVD and Blu-ray combination edition, proved to be as gory and deliberately offensive as anything he had ever done.
“He was very much into the idea of coming in with a very brutal and harrowing piece,” said Dennison Ramalho, who wrote the script with Mr. Mojica. “He was very angry and resentful, bustling with fury, at having to wait all these years for it to come to life, so he wanted to out-evil the previous ones. He is still breaking boundaries.”

Spotlight on José Mojica Marins

Before City of God came out in 2002, the only Brazilian films that were available for rent in my city were José Mojica Marins’ Coffin Joe films. I often picked up the eye-catching VHS covers with titles such as At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, or This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse but always put the videos back. Then after City of God was released, a slow influx of new Brazilian films starting appearing on DVDs. So Coffin Joe was no longer the only Brazilian choice available and I moved on. Yet, José Mojica Marins’ fictional character was never totally invisible from my eyes. Sometimes a clip from one of Coffin Joe’s films caught my eye on TV or some reference in a film magazine kept his name lingering around. Of course, his appearance was not easy to forget either -- the black top hat, the cape, the beard and those ultra long finger nails.
However, I had no desire to visit his work. All that changed when I came across Sight and Sound’s September 2010 Issue on Latin American Cinema.
In an insightful and wonderful article titled No Turning Back, Sergio Wolf talks about the Latin American cinema explosion in the last decade. The following lines stuck with me:
In Brazil, João Moreira Salles reinvented the international career of Eduardo Coutinho, who had been living in difficult circumstances and making television for many years until Moreira Salles helped him with the outstanding Edifício Master (2002). The documentary-maker Paulo Sacramento, meanwhile, rescued another Brazilian - José Mojica Marins, the John Carpenter of São Paulo - by producing Embodiment of Evil (Encarnação do Demônio, 2008) after Martins had endured almost ten years of inactivity.
If someone from a new generation of Brazilian cinema helped a filmmaker from another generation, then I just had to find out what was worth rescuing. So I decided it was time that I faced Coffin Joe in his full attire, nails and all.
This spotlight contains six films directed by Marins and one documentary on his work.
At Midnight I’ll Steal Your Soul (1964)
This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967)
Awakening of the Beast (1970)
End of Man (1971)
Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures (1975)
The Strange World of José Mojica Marins (2001, André Barcinski/Ivan Finotti)
Embodiment of Evil (2009)

The Coffin Joe Trilogy

At Midnight I’ll Steal Your Soul, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse and Embodiment of Evil are the three films that constitute the Coffin Joe Trilogy. There are several other José Mojica Marins films where the director plays the Coffin Joe character but those other films features his character in different scenarios or limited roles where his character is mostly restricted to the opening credits to give speeches about the universe and purpose of life.
In the trilogy, the same character of Zé do Caixão (played by Marins) continues his obsessive search of finding the perfect woman to mate with so that he can have his perfect son. Zé wants a son because his believes he can achieve immortality by having his lineage continue through a heir. In his pursuit of that perfect woman, Zé rapes, tortures and kills many women, along with killing any men that stand in his way. His torture methods get more gruesome with each film and the body count of his victims increase. The extent of torture in the first two films is restricted mostly to having women in lingerie tormented by spiders and snakes. Such torture methods would not have sufficed for the third film because Embodiment of Evil was released in 2009 at a time when torture and gory films were no longer underground but openly shown in multiplexes, in 3D no less. So Embodiment of Evil is by far the most graphic of all three films and features naked bodies hung up by hooks and tortured repeatedly. Blood is on ample display and there are scenes which are meant for shock value only, such as a nude woman extracted from inside a pig’s body and covered in blood. Blood was not that much of a factor in the first two films mostly because of the lack of color. At Midnight I’ll Steal Your Soul is completely in black and white while This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse is also in black and white except for a small segment near the end which features Zé descending into hell.
Overall, Embodiment of Evil is the weakest of the three films and features scenes of needless violence and torture. Although the film is also updated to represent modern times in Brazilian cinema and features police-gang clashes in favelas. At Midnight I’ll Steal Your Soul is made with the least budget and does a decent job of laying out the character and his motives. This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse features an amazing opening credit sequence. The titles and crew names appear in shaky and vibrant letters against visuals of spiders and snakes crawling on women with a background score of screaming women. This combination produces a jarring effect and prepares one for a horrific cinematic ride.
Note: the image of Coffin Joe under the title At Midnight I’ll Steal Your Soul misled me. I believed those words were Coffin Joe's threats towards his victims but as it turns out, those words were meant for Coffin Joe. After he is cursed, he is told that he would die at the stroke of midnight.

Drugs and censorship
Awakening of the Beast depicts a drug culture and features a panel discussing the impact of drugs in corrupting the morality of ordinary citizens. The panel led by a doctor also debate the role of José Mojica Marins’ films in corrupting citizens. Marins is invited to the panel to present his side and also stands trial in a fake segment within the film to defend himself and his films. As part of his experiment to observe the effects of drug usage, the doctor administers LSD to five volunteers. The effect of those drugs causes the volunteers to slowly drift away from reality and land up in a nightmarish world where their fantasies and fears play out in a hellish setting. The visuals of this hellish world take up almost the last 20 minutes of the film and are similar in set design to the version of hell shown in This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse. There are several dialog free sequences in the film, including a sequence where a woman high on drugs dances on a table in a room full of men. The woman’s dance sequence flows quite easily without any dramatic cuts and is one of the best extended scenes found in any of José Mojica Marins’ films.
The final conclusion of the doctor’s experiment is that drugs do not corrupt moral citizens but only awaken inner demons within humans who already have devilish intentions buried within their psyche. José Mojica Marins is also cleared of any wrong doings both by the panel and the fake trial. Such a conclusion and the scenes of drug usage were probably reasons why the military dictatorship in Brazil banned this film in 1970. The film was eventually released 20 years later.

A prophet emerges
The opening sequence of End of Man has a tiny glimpse of Coffin Joe but otherwise End of Man is the only film in this spotlight which is entirely free of the Coffin Joe character. Marins plays a man who emerges naked from the sea and goes about preaching to the locals and performing miracles. He develops a cult following and is considered by locals to be a prophet. It is only at the end of the film that the prophet’s true identity is revealed and that revelation is another poke by Marins on the blind faith that people have in religion. José Mojica Marins always questioned the value of religion and its rituals through his characters starting from At Midnight I’ll Steal Your Soul onwards and End of Man continues that trend, especially the ending.
Technically this is the weakest out of the six features and contains substandard acting, editing and camera work. In fact, watching this film reminded me of some of the worst Bollywood films from the 1970’s to 80’s, minus the nudity.
Note: A party sequence in End of Man where the crowd chants “everybody naked” is duly expanded in Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures.

Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures
The title says it all. A hostel where strange occurrences take place and where people are either naked or seeking pleasure, or both. The opening ten minutes of the film are almost dialog free and depict an elaborate dance ceremony which resurrects Coffin Joe from the dead. Coffin Joe then gives his customary speech about the universe, existence, fate and life before taking charge of this special hostel. All along Joe’s eyes see everything, the future and past of the guests arriving in the hostel to seek pleasure. In fact, a trailer of the film could be cut with Coffin Joe’s voice as such:
Ladies look at my eyes
now look at the room with naked people
now back to my eyes
look at another room where an affair is happening
back to my eyes again
now look at that room with people gambling
now back to my eyes again.
One can find repeated shots in José Mojica Marins’ films but Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures takes that to an extreme with plenty of repeated closeups of Joe’s eyes, naked flesh and shots of the hostel in a dark stormy night with lightening.

A documentary to bring it all together
The Strange World of José Mojica Marins is a well made documentary that introduces us to the world of Coffin Joe and gives us as a closer look at José Mojica Marins. Marins love of film is apparent from this documentary and he relishes the fact that he is a self taught filmmaker. He mentions that he was literally born in a cinema as his parents owned a cinema hall and he grew up watching plenty of films and spending all his time in a theater. That love for film resulted in him making plenty of films at an early age. In fact, no opportunity was too good for Marins to pass up to make a film. When he went in for eye surgery, he had a camera crew in the operating room and directed them while being under the knife. His plan was to use the footage for a later film but that film was never completed. At the end of the documentary, we are told that there are another dozen or so uncompleted films by Marins. Since the documentary was released, Marins did finish his Coffin Joe trilogy with Embodiment of Evil and he may get a chance to make more of his films.
The film also shows what a wildly popular character Coffin Joe is not only in Brazil but internationally. Marins made many personal appearances dressed as Coffin Joe and attracted plenty of admirers. Unfortunately as per the film, Marins was never financially well off. No details are given but that fact becomes clear with the Sight and Sound article when Paulo Sacramento had to help produce Marins’ Embodiment of Evil, more than forty years after Coffin Joe first appeared on screen.

This is not the end...
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.
Slightly changing this The Usual Suspects quote:
The greatest trick Coffin Joe ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.
Because every time Coffin Joe is supposed to be dead, he comes back. He is left for dead at the end of At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul but makes a remarkable recovery at the start of This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse. He sinks to his demise in This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse but through magical cosmic powers is resurrected several times until he finally materializes in flesh serving time in a jail cell at the start of Embodiment of Evil. The ending of Embodiment of Evil shows that Coffin Joe more than gets his wish after all, with not one son but multiple offsprings on the way. Coffin Joe always believed the only way he could be immortal was with a perfect son. So if there are indeed multiple sons of Coffin Joe on the way, then maybe he will be a cinematic presence for many decades to come.
I had low expectations from this spotlight and there were many moments which confirmed those low expectations but there were also some aspects with surprized me. In a way, I agree with Neil Young’s assessment:
But the odd thing about the Mojica Marins pictures is that, despite their numerous individual deficiencies, they do cohere and combine into a whole that's much more effective than their separate parts….
One can see the full cycle of action-reaction consequences cycle through the various Coffin Joe films where his mistakes come back to haunt him and further curse him.
Finally....Christoph Huber’s article on José Mojica Marins is worth reading.-

Scribbles and Ramblings

The films of Mojica Marins

ONE EYED FILMS is the representative of the most important feature films by one of the most celebrated cult horror directors of all times. Mojia Marins. Marins' name has become an icon of Horror and identified with his alter ego, the character Coffin Joe who features in several of his films. Mojica is often compared by critics as a symbiosis between Bunuel and Dario Argento and revered important international film critics. In 2002 the Cinematheque Francaise offered a lifetime achievements award to Mojica and he was guest of honor to several film festivals including San Sebastian and FantasPorto.

His style is idiosyncratically primitive Latin American, low budget and highly ingenious, and his filmography counts over 60 films - amongst them several which were under censorship in Brazil for many years. Thanks to the re-masterization of his work, we have been able to bring a selection of titles for DVD distribution in the international market, and now licensed to over 20 countries. Rights available for TV and DVD.

At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul

The first film with the character Zé do Caixão (Coffin Joe), was also the first horror film produced in Brazil. Shot in only 13 days, on a shoestring budget with a cast of non-professional actors, it remains as an undisputed classic of Brazilian cinema and one of the biggest box-office successes in the country's history.

The film tells the story of Zé, an evil gravedigger who terrorizes a small town in his quest for the "perfect woman" that will bear him the "perfect child". Zé kills and tortures, only to be haunted by the spirits of his victims.

The film was banned in several states in Brazil, accused of violence and blasphemy.

This Night I Will Enter Your Corpse

The sequel of At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul is an even bolder, more radical film. Continuing his search for the "perfect woman", Zé kidnaps six women and submit them to all kinds of "tests", including tête-a-tête encounters with tarantulas and snakes (real ones, of course!).

The film has one of the most incredible scenes in the history of Brazilian film: a 12-minute, surrealist descent into hell, shot entirely in color (the rest of the film is in black and white), that remains the pinnacle of Mojica's artistic vision.


The Awakening of the Beast (O Despertar da Besta)

To many, this is Mojica's masterpiece. It was certainly his most controversial film. Proof is, it was never allowed to be shown in Brazil and was kept in a shelf at the Censorship Board for over 20 years.
The film tells the story of a doctor who is conducting experiments with LSD. He injects the drug in four patients, only to analyze their reactions to "strong" subjects (the strongest of which, of course, is a Coffin Joe film).
This is one of the most radically innovative films ever shot in Brazil, not only in terms of substance but also style. A contemporary horror story, it deals with drugs, prostitution, police corruption, and the degradation of society as a whole.
The ban to this film effectively ended Mojica's career as a horror director. Scared producers stopped hiring him, afraid that a new Coffin Joe film would also be prohibited by the Censorship Board. "The Awakening of the Beast" remains as an undiscovered gem of horror films.



Masterpiece which clearly demonstrates Mojica's cinematic skills. Finis Hominis is both, a simple and well humoured film whilst an acidic criticism to the value and behaviour of contemporary society.
A man appears naked, emerging from the sea, walking towards the town, provocking surprise and fear. Wherever the passes, strange events occur, which are soon taken by the locals as miracles. Confused and thirsty the man enters a church and drinks the communion wine. The priest exclaims: Finis Homins! (the end of man in Latin) and soon said, the man believes that this is his name!

To most people this man could only be a madman or the creature awaited upon by the Mesiah. Soon the man becames the local Mesiah, preaching the salvation of others… The hope and sermons he brings to the people are like a repetition of scenes occurred thousands of years ago… This civilization, has it not evoluted at all in the satellite age, Mojica seems to ask?

Yet, who is really 'Finis Hominis'?

Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (aka Delirios de um Anormal)

This film follows the life of a patient of a mental hospital who has horrible dreams with the character of Coffin Joe. The doctors, unable to cure the patient, resort to the only man who can challenge Coffin Joe: his creator, José Mojica Marins.
This weird and creepy film sees creator and creature
battling each other. The patient's nightmares are scenes from Mojica's most famous movies, making this a true "best of" of how work.'


Based on a TV show which Mojica hosted in the 60's, this film presents Jose Mojica Marins fantastic universe in three different stories which open windows towards his own conception of the beyond.

In the first narrative 'The Doll Maker' we find the horror of urban violence, a reality which is ever more present now than when Mojica made this film. Gangs invade the house of an old man, a doll's maker, who lives alone with his beautiful daughters. The gang soon realise that they can get a lot more from these women than just money, even if they need to kill the old man. But the women put up a fight….and the dolls gain a life of their own… what the gang had not forseen is that the dolls had a special gift of life… or is it death?

In the next sequence 'Obsession' is one of Mojica's masterpieces , beautifully conceived and beautifully shot, we confront the taboo subject of necrophilia in a narrative of unexpected poetry. A poor street ballon seller falls in love with a beautiful young woman, and impossible unreciprocated love . When the young woman unexpectedly dies - the impossible happens and her death bed becomes their conjugal bed…
In the last story, 'Ideology', is Mojica's most violent film, deliberatly cruel and barbarious, a descent into and mondo Incarnating Oaxiac Odez (Ze do Caixao in reverse in Portugues) a professor attempts to explain his bizzare theories of evolution to non believers. Proving that instinct is the most powerful of the human emotions, even love. As part of his experiments he uses a couple emerged in a brutal and bloody relationship, where madness and cannibalism are the ingredients of a real "banquet from hell'. Not for the faint of heart. - www.oneeyedfilms.com




Intervju s Mojicom Marinsom ovdje

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