Movie Reviews – At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) & This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967)

At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul & This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse
Directed by Jose Mojica Marins
Courtesy of Synapse Films & CAV Distribution
Original Years of Release: 1964 & 1967
DVD Release Date: January 31, 2017

Campy horror definitely has its place in the hallowed history of our beloved genre. Many of the early horror films we know and love are full of cheesy imagery, cardboard acting, and laughable special effects. But we treasure them nonetheless. Part of the allure is that we know these “so-bad-they’re-good” movies helped to usher in the horror genre that we know today. Without these so-called “building blocks”, we fans would not be able to appreciate the hardcore terrors of modern filmmakers.

The Coffin Joe films are part of these foundation-setting titles, and I’m proud to say I have seen the first two. AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL first introduced the world to Coffin Joe in 1964, and three years later he was back again with THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE. If you are any kind of horror fan, you must check out these two throwback films from yesteryear; they won’t scare you, but they have an irresistible charm nonetheless.

If you are not familiar with either film, here are the plot synopses courtesy of Synapse Films & CAV Distribution:

At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul
Coffin Joe terrorizes a small religious community as he searches for the perfect woman to bear him a child, as the spirits of his murderous past come back to haunt him.

This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse
Coffin Joe returns, with his new assistant Bruno, to help him on his quest to continue his demonic bloodline. Joe is haunted by nightmares when he kills a pregnant woman.

I enjoyed both films, however AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL is probably my favorite of the two. It has a bit more spark to it for some reason. THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE almost feels like a remake of the first, although it does have stand-alone merit as well.

Both films are shot fairly well and look decent onscreen. These were low-budget films for their time, but you would have a hard time guessing that from a production standpoint. They both look like higher budget titles at first glance.

The acting is very low-budget, with most of the cast giving the typical cheesy, over the top performances. With that being said, writer/director/actor Jose Mojica Marins does a great job as the main character, Coffin Joe. From what I understand, he even reprises the role for a 2008 follow-up to THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE, and his persona is identical to that of the 60s version. This is impressive due to the amount of time that has passed.

The special effects in both films are painfully low budget (plastic spiders, etc.), but they can’t help but fit perfectly into each. You can tell that a lot of heart and soul went into the production of these films, therefore campy effects are easily overlooked. If anything, they add a distinct sense of odd charm to each movie.

Probably the most impressive aspect of either film is the now-famous Hell sequence from THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE. While both movies are presented in black-and-white, the scenes shown from Hell are in color. Granted, it’s a psychedelic, trippy sort of color, but it certainly stands out. As a result, Coffin Joe’s trip to the netherworld makes Oz look like Brooklyn.

Regardless of how you feel about older films, AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL and THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE are two you should definitely check out, particularly if you are a horror fan. They are Brazilian, so be prepared to read subtitles…but they are not distracting at all. These films won’t offer any scares, but they are certainly entertaining nonetheless.

Both films are available now.

MSB