At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1963)

A Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma
Also Known As:
At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul
1963 – 81 minutes/widescreen (1.66:1)
Portuguese w/English Subtitles
Directed by Jose Mojica Marins 

Ze do Caixao (Jose Mojica Marins aka Coffin Joe) is the town tyrant and local undertaker! Sporting black Cape and Top hat ala Mandrake the Magician, he just does as he pleases! So what is his main obstacle in life since he seems to have complete control of the entire village? An heir to his throne of terror of course!

This is the basic premise for Coffin Joe’s first all out Brazilian horror feature. Now available from Fantoma Films in a very sweet DVD release that comes with several Coffin Joe Trailers, an interview with Jose Marins himself and a 37-page reproduction Coffin Joe comic book translated into English! On top of all that, this particular release has been remastered, and while not perfect, has got to be the best version I’ve seen so far and most likely the best one that will be.

PLOT

Ze has a desire for offspring. As if it weren’t enough to be cruel with the locals, he needs little Coffin Moppets as well? Anyway, his wife can’t bare him any, so he puts his eyes on his best friend’s girl. After several scenes of depravity like eating meat on religious holidays, mocking religion and superstition, cutting the fingers off of a local while playing cards and just being the most wicked asshole south of the border, he puts his plan of attack to the test! Unfortunately, a local gypsy woman has warned him that his wrong doings will catch up with him and he will be in HELL, thus the title At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul.

He pays no heed to these warnings, murders his wife, kills his best friend Antonio and rapes the fiancé, but not before she has had poor Antonio buried at midnight and thus opening the curse on everyone’s favorite undertaker. She then hangs herself and seals his fate. This my friends, is just the beginning of Coffin Joe’s decent into what can be best described as a tour of Dante’s Inferno!

CONCLUSION

If you already have seen a Coffin Joe film then you know what you are in for and you either love it or hate it. But, if you have never ventured upon one of his films and love low budget horror in the same vein as H. G. Lewis, Mexi-horror, the films of Al Adamson or Ray Dennis Steckler, it is more than worth your while to give his films a shot.

This film is dripping with atmosphere; rolling fog, skeletons, bats, spiders, creepy crawlers of all sorts, etc. Coffin Joe does take some time to get used to and in this feature comes across as a poor dime store Paul Naschy without any compassion if you can picture that! Many scenes work very well in that old black and white low budget horror sort of way, then the film shocks you with extreme violence and of course, there are a few chuckles and guffaws to add to the mix. Overall, with all the extras, this is one beautiful release for fans of the obscure and Jose Mojica Marins.