Saturday, July 19, 2014

*VERY* Delayed Sequels: Embodiment of Evil

It took forty-one years to get made and another 6 years for me to see it!  Today's film is Embodiment of Evil/The Devil, depending on whether you translate titles literally or not.  There are probably alot of you who are very confused, so let me explain.  While Central America is not known for its Horror (as a 1st Generation Venezuelan I once knew can speak to), there is one name there that's big: Coffin Joe.  He's been a big deal there for half a Century, starting with At Midnight, I'll Take Your Soul in 1963.  It was followed by Tonight, I'll Possess Your Corpse in 1967 and today's film...from 2008.  The man behind the hat and cape- Jose Mojica Morins- hosted a Horror-themed show for the next 20 years or so, which partially explains the time gap.  Even so, it was odd that he completed the Trilogy so long after the second film.  Here's the gist of it: Joe is a dirtbag and an Atheist, which stands out in a very-Catholic-leaning land like his home.  He also likes to abuse and torture people, leading to him being locked up.  The film picks up in real time with him being released back into a society that hates him (and vice versa).  Can he fulfill his dream and sire an heir?  To find out why this is the longest-delayed-sequel in history (to my knowledge), read on...
In a dark, dreary prison, Coffin Joe awaits his release.  Due to overflow in the system, he is set free in the Present (of 2008) after a few decades locked up.  He's not bitter.
Fortunately, his creepy Igor-style Butler is waiting for him and shows him how the World outside has changed.  Insert Social Commentary here.
Joe sets up a small cabal with like-minded people, but is tortured by some weird visions and...
...flashbacks to the original two films.  You thought that people might not remember your films made before most of the audience (like me) were even born?  Get out!
To muddy the waters, the people that run the Town are kind of terrible.  Coffin Joe isn't exactly a decent person either, so...I'm rooting for the two Witches, I guess.

Never mind- he just killed them.
So Joe partakes upon a very important quest: knocking up some ladies so that he will have heirs.  You know, he could have donated sperm in the last forty years and made this MUCH easier.
Joe has a freaky vision- a la his trip to Purgatory in I'll Possess Your Corpse- and ramps up his goal, leading his men to kidnap a bunch of people to torture.  Poor Bastards of Cinema, maybe?

You got your Jodorowsky in my Morins movie!
The Police push forward on their goal of catching Joe, but the real victor turns out to be the crazy guy with the combination Crucifix-knife.  Joe dies, so...happy ending?
Yes, but maybe for him.  All of the surviving victims of kidnapping/torture turn out to be pregnant, so he has achieved his goal.  Sorry, Brazil- at least you have Soccer.  The End.
Was it worth the wait?  Good or bad, Morins has a clear vision for what he wants to do.  Given that he has made a couple dozen films in the last fifty-years, this is no surprise.  The tricky part was the delay.  Before Evil/The Devil, his previous film was a Documentary about his work made in 1987.  That's a long delay!  The film has a unique look and feel.  Unfortunately for me, that feel was dark, bleak and freaky.  I don't hate films for being weird, disturbing or gross-out imagery.  I can accept that a film is not necessarily 'my kind of thing'- as long as its good.  The film has some seriously-gross imagery like ladies with cockroaches dumped on them, a lady getting her rump cut off & a bit involving some hot cheese, a lady and a rat.  Getting past those parts, it is clear that Morins has a vision.  I may not necessarily like it, but is clearly more than just 'throw gross things out there to be shocking.'  The bit where he goes to the Purgatory-style place is gross and inspired, with the portal being a pool of blood and then a hallway that looks like the insides of a person guts.  Gross.  You do have to accept that Morins is still a scary and dangerous villain at around age 73, which is aided by a liberal use of henchman.  It is still a conceit that you may or may not accept.  Evil/The Devil does feel like a solid ending for the Coffin Joe series, so I can't complain about that.  I will leave you with a look at the nice, liberal policies in Brazil...
Up next, I cover a film about some nice Devils.  If nothing else, the 1970s are good for some freaky stuff.  Stay tuned...

No comments:

Post a Comment