Saturday, January 21, 2017

THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967) (DVD Review)

THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967)

Label: Synapse Films

Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Duration: 109 Minutes
Video: 1.33:1 Full Frame 
Audio: Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono with English Subtitles
Director: Jose Mojica Marins 
Cast: José Mojica Marins, Nadia Freitas, Tina Wohlers


This direct sequel to At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964)takes place a short  time after the end of that film, complete with a recap. Somehow the diabolical Ze has not only improbably survived the events of that film but has evaded imprisonment for his crime due to a lack of evidence. Note to self; the best time and place to commit a heinous crime would be 1960's Brazil or 1970's Italy. Returning to his village Ze almost immediately continues his quest for the "continuity of the blood", a perfect wife for his perfect son,  only on a larger scale with the assistance of a newly introduced "igor" type character named Bruno.  They kidnap six sexy ladies from the village and proceed to test their worth as suitable mates by subjecting them to a horde of tarantulas while they sleep. Of the six only a woman named Marcia displays the desired courage during the initiation, and she's chosen to give birth to Ze's supreme son. However, when Marcia witnesses the remaining five women being thrown into a deadly snake pit she proves unwilling to submit to Ze's sexual advances, which happen in full sight of the other women's deaths, which is not the most romantic setting Ze, c'mon man, you gotta step your game! 

In a scene that recalls the death of Terezinha and the fateful gypsy from At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul the last surviving victim of the snake pit curses Ze with words that prove to haunt him. Strangely Ze chooses to let Marcia leave and seems to have no fear of her going to the authorities. Afterward, Ze and Bruno dispose of the women's bodies in a nearby swamp, and it's not long before another young beauty catches his attention. This time it's Laura, the attractive daughter of a Colonel, however, the relationship puts him at odds with the Colonel's musclebound thug named Truncador. Later when Ze discovers that one of his victim's had been pregnant with child he is shattered. While he's alright with rape, torture, murder and kidnapping the diabolical Ze has a real soft spot for the kids. 


That night still broken-up over the death the unborn child Ze envisions a supernatural black figure in his room, the creature bleats like a wounded goat. The gaunt figure drags Ze kicking and screaming from his bed to the cemetery where hands of the dead erupt from the graves and pull Ze underground to Hell. At this point the monochromatic movie switches on the vibrant colors, Marins vision of Hell is a technicolor nightmare bathed in green, blue and red lighting. It's a cavernous place where souls are embedded in stone and tormented by Satan's minions with pitchforks. The air is filled with hysterical screaming and what sounds like the shrieking of a monkey. When Ze awakens he is strangely even more sure of his convictions, despite his nightmarish vision. He is ecstatic to discover than Laura is pregnant with his child but the excitement is short lived for Truncador and a trio of henchmen attack and beat the snot out of Ze, who just barely escapes into the swamps where he takes revenge upon the men, including an axe to the skull. 


While Ze escapes more or less unscathed Laura and the baby die from birthing complications shortly after. Ze is devastated and takes her body to a mausoleum where he angrily taunts the Lord and the Devil to show themselves, to prove that they do exist. Almost on on cue a bolt of lightning strikes a tree which falls onto Ze. After pulling himself free he decries the incident an act of nature not of divine intervention. At this time in the village Marcia still grieving the deaths of the other five women, drinks an arsenic cocktail and confesses Ze's crimes to a physician while on her deathbed. A lynch mob is formed whom pursue Ze. A priest discovers the injured Ze in the swamp and offers salvation but Ze refuses and flees only to be shot in the back by the husband of one of his victims. Wounded he tumbles down an embankment into the pond where he again screams to the Lord to prove his existence when suddenly the skeletons of the victims previously dumped in the lake rise to the surface. Relenting Ze begs the Priest for salvation and sinks below the surface while accepting the Lord into his heart in an unforgettable finale. 


Watching this it becomes readily apparent that Marins had honed his craft since the first film, this feels like next level filmmaking for the self-taught auteur of the macabre, It is perhaps slightly longer than needed but it is a powerful film that firmly cemented Marins as an auteur or terror. 

Audio/Video: This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967) is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and is sourced from a new remaster from standard def scans of the original negative provided to Synapse by the licensor. Comparing it to my Australian DVD from Umbrella Entertainment I can see that the Aussie disc is horizontally stretched, and framed at 1.66:1, losing info on all four sides of the screen, as can be seen in the below screen grabs. The source elements looks much better than what we had with At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964), the black levels are much deeper and the contrast is quite good, plus it is framed properly. The only audio option is Dolby Digital Portuguese 2.0 Mono, no English subs, with optional English subtitles.



Extras begin with The Making of This Night I'll Possess Your Soul, a brief but informative interview with Marins intercut with footage from the film. He discusses the trilogy of films which at that point had yet to be fully realized, this was prior to the filming of Embodiment of Evil (2008). He also discussed converting an old synagogue into his studio for the film, working with amateurs, spiders and snakes and his concept of Hell as seen in the film.

Next up, a 4-minute visit to the Coffin Joe Museum looking, Marins leads the tour, pointing out at a cool coffin made for the original film in '63, various releases, props, his cloak and clothing, pics of Mojica with celebrities through the years, and various awards, received over the years.


Synapse have also included Ivan Cardoso's short-documentary The Universe of Mojica Marins (1978), plus an 8-minute interview with director. 

The disc is finished up with the original theatrical trailer and a gallery of images. again we have some very cool Ghoulish Gary Pullin artwork, making for one Hell of a nice looking release. All the extras are in Portuguese with English subtitles.       

Special Features: 

- 35mm negative scan supervised by director José Mojica Marins
- The Making of This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (8 min)
- A visit to the Coffin Joe Museum (4 min)
- The Universe of Mojica Marins – Vintage Featurette (25 min)
- Interview with José Mojica Marins (8 min)
- Introduction to the film by Coffin Joe (2 min) 
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Photo Gallery
- Optional English subtitles and chapter selections
- Cover artwork by Gary Pullin


SCREEN GRAB COMPARISON
SYNAPSE (Region 1 NTSC)- TOP
UMBRELLA (Region 0 PAL)- BOTTOM 














This is my favorite of the Coffin Joe films, so creepy and macabre, surprisingly violent and well put together by Mojica. The new disc from Synapse looks as good as we are likely to ever get unless someone uncovers some new vault elements worthy of an HD upgrade. For now though buy this with confidence, it's not likely to get a better release anytime soon and the Coffin Joe films are awesome. Synapse are also offering up The Coffin Joe Trilogy 3-disc set with these film along with the DVD of their Embodiment of Evil (2008) release, which has cool artwork from Joel Robinson.  4/5  

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