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The more Coffin Joe movies I see, the more I'm amazed that he isn't mentioned more in the English speaking world. Jose Mojica Marins (a.k.a. Coffin Joe) is a horror icon in his native Brazil, but has only a small (but very enthusiastic!) cult following elsewhere. 'Awakening Of The Beast' is probably not the best place to start with Marins work. It's one of his most striking and original, but also quite confusing for a fan, let alone someone unfamiliar with the whole Coffin Joe trip. Best to watch 'At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul' first. In that movie Marins created his evil undertaker character Ze do Caixao (anglicized as "Coffin Joe"). In 'Awakening Of The Beast' Marins appears both as himself and as Coffin Joe. A group of intellectuals on a TV show debate the evils of drugs in contemporary Brazilian society. We are shown various vignettes of drug-fueled perversion, some of which are very surreal! This takes up three quarters of the movie, the rest concerns an experiment a psychiatrist makes on four volunteers dosing them with acid and subjecting them to Coffin Joe! This stuff is even wilder than what has come before, and in colour to boot. 'Awakening Of The Beast' is an extraordinary movie and quite unique. Hard core horror buffs may be perplexed, but fans of psychedelic exploitation like Roger Corman's 'The Trip' and Russ Meyer's immortal 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls' will be in heaven! This is Coffin Joe's happening baby, and it freaks me out!
This is by far one of the most bizarre films I've seen, and I'm
familiar with the works of Jodorowsky and Lynch. It's certainly not
Jose Mojica Marins' most accessible film (the two proceeding Coffin Joe
films are recommended as better starting places for the novice).
However, it is his best, when all of his sub-Neitschze philosophy,
violence, and common hatred for authority came together. Sure, its a
bit of a mess as far as film-making goes, but its a fascinating mess
nonetheless. Its an interesting parable on how the government uses
scapegoats such as drugs and violent cinema (particularly that of
Marins' films which were subjected to much censorship) to cover up
other issues. For its subversive story, it was banned in Brazil until
Marins was always a talented if raw filmmaker. His roughie segments at the beginning are disturbing and even gross, but they contribute to the power of the film. The final LSD sequence is one of the most amazing ever caught on film. The trip sequence is comprised of censored scenes from earlier Coffin Joe films and new footage. Viewing this, its no wonder the government was horrified and called for it to be banned. In his homeland, Marins is a renowned cult figure. Unfortuantly his unique cinema isn't appreciated too much outside of Brazil. This is a shame, because while his films aren't for everybody, psychotronic fans will love them. (8/10)
I really don't understand why so many people around the world rave
about Zé do Caixão (Coffin Joe). I've seen two of his films: "Esta
Noite Encarnarei No Teu Cadáver" and now "Ritual Dos Sádicos" and I was
His films run like this: long scenes filmed by a non-moving camera spiced up with long speeches by Zé do Caixão. The way he imagines Hell (Esta Noite Encarnarei No Teu Cadáver) or a psychedelic trip (O Ritual dos Sádicos) are somewhat funny but they are no visual wonder at all - people howling and squirming around, long dark corridors, lights blinking and suddenly we stumble on another of the lengthy speeches delivered by Zé do Caixão in which there will be reflections about life, death, the human vanity etc.. It may at fist seem funny, but as there are many of these speeches, as the time goes by the laughter will disappear and boredom take its place. Imagine a radio horror play illustrated by slide images and you won't be far from Zé do Caixãos films.
Zé do Caixão has good ideas and a very dramatic fantasy - his main problem it that he expresses his obsessions more by words than by images - his nightmare images are static. I think that in a film images and words should flow together - there should be something like a symphony.
All in all, I don't deny Zé do Caixãos imagination but (unlike, for instance, Dario Argento and Jean Rollin) he is not able to express fully the richness of his world visually and that is essential in a film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know that this film has a lot of "defenders" - I guess I just didn't
get it. I really enjoyed AT MIDNIGHT I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, and have yet
to see THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE - but AWAKENING OF THE BEAST
was just too strange and "psychedelic" for my taste.
Two-thirds of the film is in black-and-white, and this part is semi-amusing. A psychiatrist relates tales of drug-users that show that all those that use drugs are delinquents and perverts. We have a woman who defecates in a pot for the enjoyment of a room full of men, A woman who peeks from her doorway and does bumps of coke and strokes her donkey (no, this isn't a word-play - I'm talking' an actual donkey...)while the butler bones her daughter, a shady filmmaker who whacks-off while an associate rapes a naive wannabe actress, and so forth. Though none of this is portrayed very graphically - it's still amusing. Then we get into a color portion that has this psychiatrist dosing up four volunteers with LSD, and they have strange visions including Coffin Joe and a series of strange delusions...
That's pretty much it with this one, and although the beginning was kinda entertaining, it wasn't sleazy enough to really be any fun. The end "trip-out" segment is just weird and long, and didn't hold my attention. I guess I prefer the more "straight-narrative" Coffin Joe films, as I stated before that I quite liked I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL. The fans of this one can keep it. Mildly amusing, but dull overall...6/10
During a debate of journalists with the renowned psychiatrist Dr.
Sérgio and José Mojica Marins a.k.a. Zé do Caixão, Sr. Sérgio presents
several cases of kinky sex and orgy associated to the use of drugs. The
journalists defend that the cases are related to perverts and
criminals, but Dr. Sérgio blames the influence of drugs for the
violence. Then Dr. Sérgio invites four persons from different classes
to use LSD and analyze the effect of Zé do Caixão's films in their
twisted minds to prove his theory.
"O Ritual dos Sádicos" is a weird low-budget movie by José Mojica Marins that begins with disconnected sequences and many perversions, kinky sex and anti-drug apology. Considered cult by fans of hardcore, the film is messy, boring and dated in 2011.
Its greatest merit is that in 1970, the daring and disturbing "O Ritual dos Sádicos" displeased the military dictatorship and was forbidden by the censorship. Then José Mojica Marins introduced modifications, inclusive the title was changed to "O Despertar da Besta" but the film was released only in the middle 80's and never exhibited in movie theaters. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "O Ritual dos Sádicos / O Despertar da Besta" ("The Ritual of the Sadistic / The Awakening of the Beast")
Dr Sergio leads a panel of doctors including writer and director Jose Mojica
Martins in an episode of TV programme "Enlightening the Darkness". They
discuss the effects of drug use on Brazilian society and discuss a set of
experiments that Dr Sergio carried out with LSD and a group of users from
different social classes.
What follows is a film in two parts. The first part follows Dr Sergio telling the panel stories of people using drugs and the effects they have. Essentially this is a series of short scenes where the drug takers turn to violent perverted acts after the drugs. Most of these include sexual violence directed towards women, others include sex scenes that have all the sensitivity and direction of soft core porn. Overall the lesson seems to be that drugs cause these perverted scenes and that drugs are bad. For this half of the film the "story" is disjointed and hard to follow - the discussion isn't set in any context and it just feels like an exploitation film - this is easy to believe as Mojica the director is famous for cheap horrors etc.
The second half sees the discussion become more structure as Dr Sergio describes his experiments on four LSD users. What follows a short set up is a 15 minute series of full colour (the rest is black & white) hallucinations featuring the director's alter ego - the evil Ze do Caixo. These hallucinations are quite disturbing and include a lot of violence toward women carried out by Caixo. Director Mojica comes up with very imaginative visions but they are all too gaudy and trashy horror. Again these feel overdone to shock his audience.
Following the experiments Dr Sergio reveals that instead of LSD he used distilled water and presents evidence to the same that is too easily believed ("it says distilled water!"). The conclusion of the experiments (and the film) is that these images came from the people themselves and not the drugs - therefore drugs are harmless and the people who do bad things as a result are sick anyway and you can't blame the drugs. This is a very weak conclusion given the evidence that has just gone before.
The film is an interesting bit of exploitation from Brazil - worth watching once for the film-student style of direction. However the presentation of perverted images and violence linked so closely to drug use makes the film's pro-drug message totally unbelievable and very hard to shallow (even if you agree with legalising drugs).
This isn't a Coffin Joe movie properly, but rather a film about drugs that makes stuff like Corman's "The Trip" pale by comparison. The plot isn't linear, and that is exactly the greatest strength of the movie, and what gives it the particular atmosphere it has. First we see several different little stories, all involving people behaving in the most bizarre ways due to drug use.We soon know that all those scenes are stories narrated on a tv talk show by a scientist who tries to prove his theories about drugs and the human mind with the help of Mojica and his creation, Coffin Joe. The utter absurdity of the scenes is what makes the whole experience worthwhile. Probably Mojica's best work as a proper film maker, not just a horror flick director.
Having recently caught this strange film on Independent Film Channel,it
certainly warrants a viewing, if only for the curiosity of Jose Mojica
Primarily,he uses two scenarios: a round-table of psychiatrists discussing drug addiction,and alternate scenes of the addicts in question, who are given LSD as part of the experiment.
The poverty and demoralization (particularly of women in Brazil) is explored, and the scenes are stark, turning gradually to crude, horrific and even at times humorous. There is one scene in particular where a young woman is interviewing for a job as a maid and she envisions her prospective employer, who is obese and wolfing a plate of pasta)as a hideous looking Pekingnese dog.
Overall a creative and strange commentary on the drug cultures of the late 1960's and 70's.8/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"A woman cannot be tainted by the foul stench of man's beastly desire," rants Ze do Caixão/Coffin Joe/Joseph The Grave (Jose Mojica Marins) in one of "Awakening of the Beast's" many insane sermons. Thankfully, Marins does his level best to taint as many women as possible in this psychedelic pastiche of drugs, sex and violence. Having more in common with the works of Herzog, Jodorowsky and Lynch, the film is a schizophrenic, not entirely captivating exercise. The first two-thirds are devoted to short episodes exploring the effects of drugs on the young and impressionable. We also see a man kicking several women up the butt, lots of panty shots, and typical Marins sequences detailing graphic abuse and exploitation of naive women. As expected, Marins is the star and uses his position to spout anti-establishment philosophy (not surprising considering the period and place the film was made in) and wax endlessly about the evils of drugs and his universal theme of evil begetting evil. Only the pic's last third visits familiar Marins territory. A corpse bursts from the ground and drags Marins, literally, down into the bowels of hell. The film switches to color at this point and assaults us with glorious, surreal, low budget visions of decadence and depravity. Dozens of barely clothed women occupy hell, so it can't be all bad down there. Marins walks down a staircase of corpses, uses his magic powers to disrobe a beauty, and supervises some random torture. The lurid colors liven up proceedings and the Dali-esquire scenarios are impressive for the filmmaker's shoestring budget. I am a big fan of Marins' horror-focused works more than his more esoteric adventures into 60's pop culture, so "Awakening of the Beast" is not one of my favorites. It must be said, though, that Marins always has something to say (or scream), and he says it with absolute conviction.
I have been along time fan of Coffin Joe. I kept hearing about this
film and finally go to see it on Channel Four a few years ago. Many say
it is the best Coffin Joe film but I think maybe they are wrong.
Sure, it is great and different. Going down a different road than the first two. The idea is great and the short story's are funny and often disturbing. I love the soundtrack and the colour segment at the end in the LSD trip into the world of Coffin Joe.
I can see why it was banned at the time and it is still shocking today.
Not Coffin Joe's best but it is probably close...
It may take some finding but you should definitely hunt it out.
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