Friday, October 16, 2009

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964, Jose Mojica Marins)

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is not the type of horror film I normally watch. I had actually never heard of it until Mykal from the great RADIATION CINEMA recommended it. I sent him a copy of Django Kill and in return he sent me a copy of this film. For some reason I just never got around to watching it until now. It's funny when someone mentions a film you've never heard of before and then all of a sudden the name keeps popping up. I started hearing more about Coffin Joe and the new UK Anchor Bay Coffin Joe box set (which is apparently a piece of shit) and it started to peak my curiosity towards this little Brazilian horror film from the 60s. I figured the month of October would be the perfect time to finally get around to watching it.

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is about an undertaker named Coffin Joe (a loose translation of the Portuguese name do Caixão) whose only care in life is the "continuity of the blood". In other words, he wants a son....badly. His wife Lenita is sterile which drives Joe crazy and he does whatever he can to find a woman to bear his child. Joe ends up a murderer, killing anyone who gets in his way. He is disgusted by the religious people in his town and does whatever he can to piss them off - he eats meat on Fridays, walks through graveyards on the Day of the Dead and other such taboo activities. Oh yeah, he also rapes women, cuts off people's fingers and pokes people's eyes out.

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is an instant classic in my mind. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was very glad that I finally watched this film. It was like a cross between an old silent black and white film and an exploitation film. The budget is super low but the filming style makes the film very spooky and ethereal. The character of Coffin Joe (played by director Jose Mojica Marins) is an instant classic horror villain, as imposing, scary and ruthless as any of your more well known villains. I loved everything about this film and can't wait to watch it again.



  1. StarMummy: I am so gratified that you loved this movie. It is a seriously unique and creepy experience for many of the reasons you mentioned, and one of my favorite horror films of all time. The final scene is such a jaw-dropping knockout.

    As you say, a near perfect choice for Holloween viewing.

    PS - Did you watch the special features? Damn, Marins is easily as creepy as his creation, Coffin Joe! -- Mykal

    Great Post! -- Mykal

  2. Mykal - I did watch the interview with Marins. All I could focus on was those FINGERNAILS! *shudder*

  3. I. LOVE. THIS. MOVIE. Love it. I went into it with the same sense of wonderment, and also a lot of fear that I wouldnt "get" it, but I was so blown away. Joe is one of the most sinister and badass characters in the genre, and this film easily surpassed the sequels to follow. Thanks for the stellar review SM!

  4. Carl - Coffin Joe is indeed a monster way more sinister than most. Glad to hear from other fans.

  5. I just reviwed this one as well!

    I agree with you on the points you make, I dont really see anything wrong with it. Even its low budget atmosphere makes it creepier.

    I enjoyed the over the top performance and the gravitas to have Coffin Joe say all those things against religion.

    Check out my review for it if your interested!