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

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,701 users  
Reviews: 41 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 ...
Terezinha
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

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Plot Keywords:

son | death | rape | suicide | gypsy | See more »

Genres:

Horror

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Details

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Release Date:

9 November 1964 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the name was not used in the English language subtitles, the character of Ze do Caixao became known in English as "Coffin Joe". 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

Referenced in O Exorcismo Negro (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark Night of the Soul
5 August 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

This is my first forray into the wonderful world of Coffin Joe, and having read about Marins and his films was still not enough to prepare me. Not because "At Midnight..." is a great film by any set of conventional standards; it's a low-budget affair and it looks like it. What really makes it compelling is how passionate it is in all its blackly surreal glory.

Coffin Joe (Ze Do Caixao) is the atheist, unscrupulous undertaker of a small, religious community somewhere in Brazil. This set-bound place is more of a (at times too) convenient playground for Marins to explore his dark fantasies than any sort of realistic community. Its inhabitants are mere props to be abused, scoffed and laughed at. A sizeable guy who dares to stand up to him gets whipped in the face. His sole preoccupation is to find a woman worthy to bear him a son and thus "continue his bloodline". Coffin Joe strides through this fictional (and perhaps symbolic in Marin's mind) world, mocking the superstitious villagers, defying god, Satan and the dead, sometimes all of them together in a matter of minutes.

If "At Midnight..." is set apart from every other horror movie of its time, it's because the morbid, macabre imagery (skulls, plastic bats, cobwebs, tarantulas; you know the drill) is undercut by a Nietzche-esquire atheism that bites. At times it's as if the whole movie serves as nothing more than Marins' soapbox, his way of venting against the conservative and religious. How much of what Coffin Joe declares in the film are meant to be serious is anyone's guess. However it's exactly the fact that it works so well on a camp level (like a blasphemous Ed Wood flick) that redeems the film from all heavy-handedness.

In that aspect, and as far as what one would expect from an early 60's horror movie, "At Midnight..." is both avant-garde in its own micro-budget, often crude but unashamedly enthusiastic way and surrealistic. Mandatory viewing for fans of cult movies and I hear the sequels are better which I'll have to see for myself.


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