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Film Reviews

At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (dir. by José Mojica Marins) 

65.0
Score

Pros

  • I never knew Brazil had a line on horror.
  • As a character, Coffin Joe is a wicked individual. Goodness, that cane.
  • A good mix of supernatural / religious themes.
  • The movie's more weird than horrific.

Cons

  • The film isn't really the best quality, even for Black & White standards.
Cinematography
60
Plot / Theme
70
Acting / Casting
65
Music / Sound
70

Final Verdict

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul is a strange film. With a villain causing havoc in a small village in Brazil, you won't find yourself rooting for Coffin Joe anytime soon. I was surprised to see what horror elements Brazil had to share.

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Halloween 2023

There isn’t a whole lot I can say about 1964’s At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul.

It was something I caught on AMC or TCM about a decade ago very late at night. I was on the phone with a close friend when I saw this guy walking around a town in Brazil beating people with a cane. The film and it’s sequel, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse were played back to back. I lost the name of the movie over time and searched what I could remember (“spanish movie man with cane”) to no avail. I found it again about a year ago via Youtube. It was one of those movies you wouldn’t really recommend to anyone, but you also couldn’t (or at least I couldn’t at the time) keep yourself from looking away. I low scored it because It’s not something I’d see myself running back to, but it was just weird.

The story focuses on Ze do Caixao, or Coffin Joe (Jose Mojica Marins), who is looking for the right girl to give him a “superior child”. Joe is clearly not a nice individual nor is he the hero of this story. He has a love of his own, but he soon takes an interest in one of the town girls, Terezinha. How can Joe get rid of his wife, Lenita (Valéria Vasquez) and get close to Terezinha (Magda Mei), despite the fact that she’s currently in a relationship with the town doctor? Apparently, it’s nothing a tarantula can’t fix in a particularly creepy scene.

The movie does get very dark, even by 1960s standards. There’s torture, random beatings, a possible rape and murders. Coffin Joe manages to continue his streak of bad deeds and finally does get to Terezinha by way of removing the doctor (Ilídio Martins Simões) from the equation. It all backfires on Joe, however, when a witch in the woods warns that by Midnight, his soul will be claimed. Not believing in the mystical or religious, Joe scoffs at this at first. He soon finds out that there’s a balance to things, leading to an ending that I particularly enjoyed.

A sequel to the film was made to the film in 1967 called This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse, which is mostly the same, though it does offer some great use of color midway. The first film is currently available to watch on YouTube.

Series NavigationGarfield’s Halloween Adventure (dir. by Phil Roman) >>V/H/S/85 (dir. by Various Artists) >>

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