At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964, 81 minutes, B&W) - This is the one that started it all. From the creepy opening montage to the evil gypsy who dares us to even watch the film telling us we'd better go home before it's too late, It's evident that this film is like no other we have ever laid eyes on. Marins stars as Zé (Coffin Joe) an undertaker who is feared about as much as he would like to be respected in his small Brazilian village. Unhappy that his wife is unable to bear him a child he kills her in a frightening yet unassuming manner. With his wife out of the picture, Zé is free to roam the village searching for a suitable woman to bear his child and carry on his gruesome name as well as exorcising his own personal demons along the way. Well, it should come as no surprise to hear that most of the women Zé encounters (and their male counterparts) are less than willing to cooperate and Zé simply won't take no for an answer from anyone (including himself).
This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967, 107 minutes, B&W/Color) - A direct sequel to At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse picks up almost immediately where it's predecessor left off. Zé is set free due to lack of evidence and he returns to his village and picks up where he left off as Undertaker. Things have changed drastically around the village including new unexplained characters like Joe's disfigured and hunchback assistant Bruno, who plays off like a poor man's Igor (he's still charming nonetheless). Joe kidnaps a bevy of beauties from the town to once again find a suitable portal for his son to be born and of course it isn't until the end of the film that the town realizes Joe's the one responsible for all of the deaths and disappearances. High marks go out to the color sequence in the film in which Joe pays a direct visit to Hell. The sequence is both visually beautiful and frightening at the same time. Simply brilliant.
Since Marins actually had a budget this time around there's obviously a lot more happening here than in the first flick. The horrors are ten times more unspeakable including acid, snakes, spiders and good ol' Bruno himself. This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse relies heavier on exploitation elements than the first flick including mucho nudity and violence. It's certainly not without its flaws but This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse is a much slicker and more frightening vision than At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, definitely a worthy sequel.
Strange World of Coffin Joe (1968, 80 minutes, B&W) - This time his name is in the title but he's nowhere to be found. Strange World of Coffin Joe is a trilogy of tales that probably wouldn't be worth very much if it weren't for the final story. The first story entitled Dollmaker centers on 4 crooks that break into a prolific dollmaker's house in an attempt to rob him and rape his four lovely daughters. What these crooks don't realize is that the dollmaker and his crafty daughters have another plan altogether. The second story entitled Obsession features very little dialogue and is definitely a worthy attempt at a more artsy fartsy type horror flick. A young man develops an unhealthy obsession for a young lady...an obsession that follows her to the grave and lasts even longer. The final story Ideology stars Marins himself as a mad scientist type who kidnaps a young couple in order to have a chance to play god and test the limits of love (which he believes does not exist). This is a chilling tale that is just as graphic as it is beautiful. At times it's very difficult to watch and the obvious influences that this flick had on future exploitation gems (cannibalism for one) is almost maddening to comprehend. Obviously the icing on the cake here, the last story is well worth the price of admission all on its own, and this flick has yet to make an appearance on DVD in the states.