So, being the nerd that I am as soon as I got an inkling that we might be attending the Housecore Horror Film Festival I knew I would need to be in the know on who exactly this Coffin Joe character was and why it was such a big deal he would be there. Little did I know this would lead me to find some phenomenal hidden gems that I will be recommending to anyone who has an interest in horror movies. This night I Steal Your Soul and This Night I”ll Possess Your Corpse took a little footwork to track down (ok, finger work because this is the golden age of internet consumerism) but let me tell you , it was well worth it.
First and foremost, Jose Mojica Marins passion for making movies shines throughout these 2 films, from the jumpy and rough cut edits in the opening credits of “At Midnight I’ll take Your Soul” to the Technicolor vision of hell near the end of “This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse”. This man loves what he does and made these movies regardless of any setback the lack of budget may have thrown his way. Honestly, I think this is another case of a lack of budget enhancing a film rather than detracting from it. Sure, most if not all of the actors in these 2 films are amateur (and sometimes it shows more than others) but really, they are there to provide target’s for the Nietzsche based insanity that is Coffin Joe, be it expressed through hurling god defaming insults, savage beatings, or releasing snakes and spiders (oh my!) to test peoples mettle, and not much else.
Like I mentioned before, the roughness of these films (in particular the first) really add a lot of character and spirit to the movie. Watching this film, I can almost imagine Jose Marins hunched over the cutting room table, painstakingly cutting and splicing the film together (and sometimes adding glitter glue because he’s crafty like that!)himself because if he doesn’t no one will. So often these low budget affairs feel like a phone in from a director who thinks he has better things to do with his time. Not so here, this is Marins passion, from the creation of the character to the promotion of the movie.
Watching some interviews with the man himself it becomes quickly apparent that walking hand in hand with his passion is a nice solid dose of crazy. From rumors of pulling a gun on a crew member who refused to film a scene due to poor lighting conditions (apparently it was a prop gun. Not sure if I believe this or not) to fully admitting to using amateur actors because he could abuse them more than professionals ( he would sit off camera and use pliers to twist actors fingers to produce more realistic screams) it’s very obvious Mr Marins will let nothing stand in the way of him getting what he wants(hmmm, just like Coffin Joe).
I would like to make special mention of the hell scene in This night I’ll possess your corpse. It alone is worth the price of admission. Filmed in a color (and making full use of it!) Marins hell is one that needs to be seen to be believed. What this man was able to do with his shoestring budget is inspiring, even if it isn’t always the safest way to do things. Case in point: the dry ice used in the Hell scene caused the myriad exposed wires (!!!) on the set to short circuit and shock all the actors on set. Marins claims that this only added to the hell like atmosphere he was going for and I must agree. Everyone involved in these scenes does indeed look like they are going through hell!
Anyone who appreciates horror as an art form really should look into finding these films; you won’t be disappointed. Both At Midnight I’ll take your Soul and This Night I’ll Possess your Corpse will be getting a minimum annual re-watch in my house, I know that for sure. Now do yourself a favor and go find these movies!
-reviewed by Scott