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
Director 'Jose Mojica Marins' played the main role when the original actor quit. He put on his best black suit and added a top hat. He had very long thumb nails so the makeup man added long artificial fingernails to his fingers. See more »
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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It's very impressive and ambitious for Jose Mojica Marins to get this project done when he had only 15 cans of negative film stock to start with, 2 of which got stolen leaving him only 13, and not having a main actor so having to play the part himself. Most of locations were indoor sets, except for one outdoor location. Although it may seem like the lack of planning and abrupt decisions could have affected the outcome, it in fact did not. This film has some great work, starting from Jose's performance with his monologues and single take unedited continuous scenes, all the way through the very impressive set and production design and special effects. They actually manually glued glitter on the negative to get that cheap effect of halo around the spirits. I always give credit to people who are willing to get things done no matter what the budget or circumstances. Several hair raising moments make me think that this film must have been really scary for it's time 40 years ago. Overall, this is a brilliant film that is very cinematic and relies on traditional but very effective tricks of the trade to make it work.
Almost like a "the seventh seal" for horror films.
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