October 29, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Embodiment of Evil

The pre-Halloween weekend is here and with it the Northeast has been hit with a rare October snowstorm. So, here I am, locked in my room watching a weekends worth of horror movies. I have chosen a selection from my shelf of Blu-ray horror to view. Among them are a handful of movies that I have never seen. Yes, it is true that I own films I have never watched. Well, it did not take me long to find a pretty messed up movie. It is one that I had no idea what to expect. In that sense, it mus be said to be better than I expected.

The movie was purchased on a recommendation by Grindhouse Releasing's Tad Laeger at a recent incarnation of the Hudson Horror Show (if you are unfamiliar, their next show is 12/3, you should look them up. The movie is called Embodiment of Evil and is the third film in the Coffin Joe series. I have not seen either of the first two films, but have been assured it is not necessary, although the films are also recommended.

The first two films were made in the 1960's, now why there was a forty year gap between the second and third films, I do not know. To be honest, I don't really care, it is not like they are the first to make a sequel to an older film. What is interesting is that they acknowledge the time gap with this new film opening with Joe's release from prison after serving a forty year sentence. What makes his release a bit humorous is that they acknowledge he killed a whole mess of people in prison. One would expect those murders to have extended his stay past the end of his life. Well, I guess if that happened we wouldn't have a movie.

Anyway, Coffin Joe (also called Gravedigger) does not appear to have been rehabilitated at all, although it does seem that his past is haunting him. Well, he has designs on finding the superior woman to bear his son to continue his bloodline. Seems like one of those occult Nazi stories. Coffin Joe is bearded old fellow with a top hat, cape, cane, and really long finger nails. He goes back into society with his assistant, the Igor-esque Bruno, and a couple of followers.

The local priest and police search for ways to bring an ultimate end to the reign of terror that Joe brings. At the same time, Joe is using his followers to bring him potential women for his bloodline. What follows is a series of misogynistic torture sequences, bizarre drug induced gory hallucinations, gratuitous nudity, and Joe's visions, accompanied by clips from the prior movies.

There is a slow opening to this which made me think it was not going to be that bad, but then the stuff that happens later on, wow. There is some really messed up stuff here. The story itself is rather thin, but easy to follow and makes for the perfect clothesline upon which to hangthese messed up sequences.

The movie stars José Mojica Marins as Coffin Joe, and he gives a nice, rather understated performance. It is interesting to see as he doesn't really seem to acknowledge all the time that has passed, he dresses and acts as he did forty years ago. Marins also directed the film and he knows how to make his case. He builds the film up while never allowing to become boring. It is a different look sort of film unlike most of the horror I have seen from the US or Europe.

If you haven't seen this and you like your horror on the weird and twisted side, this is one to see. I would no call it particularly scary, but it certainly is out there.

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