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At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964)
"À Meia Noite Levarei Sua Alma" (original title)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,876 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 45 critic

A gravedigger prowls the city in search of a female to bear him a son.

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(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
José Mojica Marins ...
Magda Mei ...
Nivaldo Lima ...
Antônio
Valéria Vasquez ...
Lenita (as Valeria Vasquez)
Ilídio Martins Simões ...
Dr. Rodolfo (as Ilídio Martins)
Arildo Iruam
Genésio de Carvalho ...
(as Genê Carvalho)
Vânia Rangel
Graveto
Robinson Aielo
Avelino Morais
Luana
Leandro Vieira
Antônio Marins ...
S. Francisco
Mário Lima
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Storyline

In a small town, the creepy and violent gravedigger Zé do Caixão is feared by the locals. Zé do Caixão lives with Lenita, who can not deliver a son to him. Obsessed to have a son, Zé do Caixão harasses Terezinha de Oliveira, who is the fiancée of his friend Antônio de Andrade, and kills Lenita with a spider simulating an accident. Then he drowns Antônio and rapes Terezinha expecting to have a baby with her. Terezinha commits suicide but does not accuse Zé do Caixão in his letter. When Dr. Rodolfo decides to request another autopsy of Antônio, Zé do Caixão burns him to death. The inspector Barretos can not prove that Zé do Caixão is the killer, but on the Day of the Dead, the local gypsy warns him that the dead will take his soul to hell. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

son | rape | death | letter | suicide | See All (51) »

Genres:

Horror

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

9 November 1964 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was released at a time when Brazil had disbanded their national censorship board and left those decisions to individual states. This film was banned outright in some states and shown, to great success, in others. Some of the censorship committees were less concerned with the portrayal of violence than they were with what they regarded as blasphemy. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Zé do Caixão: What is life? It is the beginning of death. What is death? It is the end of life! What is existence? It is the continuity of blood. What is blood? It is the reason to exist!
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Connections

Edited into VBS Meets: Coffin Joe (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Camp, low-budget horror with moments of utter surreality and gruesome violence
20 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Now known as the beginning of the 'Coffin Joe Trilogy', Jose Mojica Marins' supernatural horror has garnered a loyal cult following through it's camp sets, it's grainy, low-budget photography, and the wildly sadistic acts of violence by it's anti-hero, Ze do Caixao (or Coffin Joe - to translate - played by Marins). Dressed all in black, with a long cape, top hat and full beard, Coffin Joe has become an iconic figure amongst die-hard horror fans, and his (outlandish) presence is undeniable. Joe is an undertaker, and rejects all ideas of Christianity or faith (he literally laughs in the face of it), so his dark demeanour is the embodiment of evil, and ultimately, Satan.

At Midnight... kick-starts Joe ultimate quest to find a suitable wife who will bore him a son, therefore cementing his precious blood-line for years to come. His current wife Lenita (Valeria Vasquez) loves him, though she cannot give him a son. Infatuated by Terezinha (Magda Mei), the fiancée of his best friend Antonio (Nivaldo Lima), he tries to seduce her, but she rejects his advances, leaving Joe infuriated. Convinced that Lenita is the thing standing between him and Terezinha, he ties Lenita to the bed and lets her get bitten by a venomous spider. But Joe learns that the things he wants in life must be taken rather than earned, and he begins a killing spree in the face of a prophecy that deems him to die on the night of the Day of the Dead.

Beginning with huge lashings of style, Marins introduces his actors in the opening credits by showing them dying later in the film. It's an interesting approach, and almost as if Marins wishes us to view the characters as the walking dead, as we already know their fate. There are freeze-frames, trippy texts, and an almost industrial soundtrack layered with shrills and screams. It's all very theatrical, akin to a pantomime at times, with the clichéd gypsy fortune teller talking directly to camera and warning the audience that they should not watch the movie. But it was this old-fashioned approach, and the almost ineptness of its execution, that made this such an enjoyable experience.

We have fake cobwebs, spiders, and a gypsy witch with a shrieking laugh combined with moments of utter surreality, and a surprisingly gruesome streak given its age (Joe removes a doctor's eyeballs, mashes the fingers of a rival poker player with a broken bottle, and flogs a man half to death). It's no surprise Marins is a national treasure in his native Brazil, as he single-handedly brought the horror genre to his country after starting his career with westerns and dramas. The final instalment to the trilogy was just made in 2008, so its quite impressive given that his character is memorable enough to stretch over four decades. Next up will be the deliciously-titled This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967).

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