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Hellish Flesh is a slightly more conventional horror tale from
Brazilian madman José Mojica Marins. In it Marins plays a scientist who
spends too much time in his lab. His wife conducts an affair with a
mutual friend. The pair then concoct a plan to kill the hapless
husband. The wife pours acid on his face and her lover sets fire to his
lab. But the scientist survives albeit with a creepy burned face, while
the wife suffers a bad life as her lover is a good-for-nothing gambler
and womaniser. But things only get even more complicated.
At its heart this is a simple revenge tale. Although given that it's a Marins movie it isn't a typical one. He still manages to incorporate some surreal elements such as the scenes with the mysterious young woman. Her lover is but a shadowy silhouette, á la Nosferatu. There are also a couple of shock moments; one being the acid attack scene which does look quite fake and another being the eye surgery scene which unfortunately is quite genuine, and very unpleasant indeed. Also, the parts with Marins facially deformed scientist were nice and creepy. But mostly Hellish Flesh is a fairly straightforward affair. The twist at the end is kind of good though and rounds off the film on a satisfyingly macabre note.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I guess of the films directed by José Mojica Marins that I've seen,
Inferno Carnal might be his least difficult to follow. Actually it was
rather accessible when compared to his past films and has subject
matter quite relatable to tales of revenge in regards to marital
infidelity and attempted murder by adulterous lovers towards an
innocent spouse. A scientist spends a great deal of time in his
basement conducting peculiar experiments while the missus has an affair
with his friend. Together they concoct a plan to kill him..throwing
acid in his face and attempting to burn him alive with his test tubes
and chemicals. Living through a difficult eye surgery and face
reconstruction, the scientist remains devoted to his wife, hiring a man
to look after her, furnishing money despite what she's doing with
it..giving it directly to the lover who spends the money on booze and
women gleefully. But, a series of events plague the wife and her lover,
their sinful actions returning to haunt them. The lover and his
philandering ways catch up to him, eventually choosing the wrong greedy
floozy to flaunt money around. The wife suffering a serious
injury(..after being hit by a car, thanks to surgery she's able to walk
again), including a tragic decision she makes out of guilt because of
her husband's continual kindness despite her actions towards him.
Another development has this beautiful young woman speaking to someone
who remains off screen, his silhouette indicating that it's a mystery
man she loves dearly and passionately.
Unlike Marins' former works, there aren't odd, nightmarish sequences, Inferno Carnal remains grounded in realism(..well, mostly, except for the outlandish denouement revealing a startling discovery in regards to actual physical appearance)and pretty much functions as a morality tale. Surprisingly, this film would almost act as a crowd-pleaser..those who exacted an evil scheme towards an innocent man are punished. I think the most distinctive visual stylizing in this particular film would be the use of silhouette(..especially the long fingers whose shadow stretch across the body of the beautiful girl always conversing with her lover unseen by the viewer)to establish a person's presence in a room(..and before the scenes featuring the girl occur, a man's eye comes across the screen also indicating that he perhaps is that person she talks to). I will admit that the film gets a bit tedious and repetitious as the film shows a variety of hookers hopping in the sack with the scientist's wife's male lover..followed by Marins' scientist often being questioned by his hired "tag-along" about his willingness to spend money on his wife. But, ultimately, Inferno Carnal is about how payback is a bitch. Throughout the film, Marins' cries of pain from acid burns to his face, begging for his wife's help and agonizing over her actions is layered in the soundtrack in scenes featuring the scientist, strolling his premises "wearing his new face"..it's a really creepy face, too. I figure Marins' cult audience might actually find this a bit disappointing for Inferno Carnal doesn't challenge you as his others films do.
"Hellish Flesh" is not an Coffin Joe entry but an average horror tale of revenge. A scientist (Marins) gets his face destroyed with acid by his young cheating wife. She then spends his money on a playboy/lover, meanwhile Marins is lurking around them with a scarred face. The end has nice twist but like "Perversion" it's too straightforward compared to his unique surreal Coffin Joe epics. The print from Something Weird Video is pretty worn but it's properly the only way to get this rare film. Only for fans of this Brazilian genius.
Brazilian director José Mojica Marins is renowned by cult movie fans
for his surreal, gory, bizarre and frequently incomprehensible Coffin
Joe movies in which he plays sadistic undertaker Zé do Caixão. Hellish
Flesh doesn't feature Zé and is one of the film-maker's more
conventional efforts, but I don't mind: it's nice to be able to
understand what the hell is going on for a change!
Marins plays Dr. Jorge Medeiros, a scientist so caught up in his experiments (or 'experience' if you have the poorly subtitled Anchor Bay DVD) that he neglects his beautiful wife Raquel. A little too trusting, he is happy for Raquel to go to dinner with his friend Oliver while he tends to his test tubes; unsurprisingly, the pair are at it like rabbits behind his back.
Fed up with keeping their affair a secret, the deceitful couple plan to rid themselves of Jorge and claim his fortune. While working one night, Raquel goes into his laboratory and throws acid into her husband's face; Oliver goes one step further and starts a fire, leaving Jorge to burn to death. Miraculously, Jorge survives his ordeal and spends months in hospital receiving reconstructive surgery (cue some nauseating real-life eye surgery footage); meanwhile, Oliver and Raquel are quickly working their way through what cash they have, unable to lay their hands on Jorge's money.
Strangely, when Jorge leaves hospital, he doesn't go to the police; on the contrary, he regularly gives Raquel money, most of which is squandered by Oliver on gambling and, unbeknown to Raquel, on numerous skanky hookers (fat women, women with bad teeth, women with five o'clock shadows: he's not fussy!). When Raquel learns of Oliver's dalliance's with these women, she rushes to confront him, but is hit by a car (she needn't have bothered: his last hooker had stabbed him to death).
Once again, Jorge comes to his wife's rescue, paying for the surgery necessary to help her walk again. Indebted and wracked by guilt, Raquel returns to her husband, and, on seeing his scarred visage, declares her love and throws acid into her own face, wanting to be disfigured just like Jorge. After unsuccessful plastic surgery, Raquel returns home and once again declares her love for Jorge, at which point her husband well, that would be telling, suffice to say that as acts of revenge go, this one is pretty sweet!
6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching the interesting,but heavy-going Strange Hostel Of
Pleasures,I decided to pick out,what is meant to be the most
"acsesable" entry in Anchor Bay's Coffin Joe Boxset.
Feeling that her scientist husband (George/Jorge) never has any time for her,Rachel decides to start an affair with a co-worker of George/Jorge called Oliver.As the affair between the two really starts to heat up,Rachel and Oliver hatch a plan to murder her husband,so that Rachel can inherit all of his wealth.Catching George/Jorge alone in his lab,Rachel grabs a bottle of near by acid and pours it all over his face.After having almost killed her husband with the bottle of acid,Rachel gets Oliver to finish the job for her,by setting fire to the entire lab.Rushing off for their presumed life of pleasure,Oliver and Rachel make the terrible mistake of George/Jorge willpower.
View on the film:
Whilst I have found the subtitle work by Anchor Bay for the first two films that I viewed in the set to be very good,I have to say that for this one the quality of the subtitles took a noticeable drop,with the name of Rachel's husband (whose one of the lead characters!) constantly changing from Jorge to George,which I have to admit did pull me out of the film a little bit.From the opening scene of the film,I found it very easy to see that this is an entry in the Coffin Joe series which had some cash that could be splashed on the screen.For the look of the film,writer/director Jose Morjica Marins (who also gives a wonderful humbleness to his performance as Rachel's husband) gives the film a terrific style that got me to remember the Roald Dahl's Tale of The Unexpected TV series. (with the added bonus of the movies two lead actresses being naked in the film)One of the most interesting things that I found with this film was that although the characters are shown to wear stylish bright clothes for the whole film,Marnis makes sure that the brightness never stops him from delivering a weird take on Beauty and the Beast!.Although unlike the Disney version,this one contains a horrific eye scene,that caused my legs to twitch right away.
Inferno Carnal (1977)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Brazilian horror film features director Marins playing the lead role of a doctor who has acid poured on his face by his cheating younger wife. The wife eventually takes his money and runs off with her playboy lover but the doctor has his own ideas for revenge. This is a rather bizarre and surreal film, as one would expect from the director, but it's not as bizarre as you might think. There's a few gory sequences, mostly with the acid, but outside of this the film is more talk that anything else. Some would say that's a bad thing but it actually works here for several reasons. The first is that the entire subplot of the lover turning out to be a scumbag to the wife makes for some interesting twists. The talk also helps build up the wife's character to where we slightly begin to feel for her. This works perfectly because there are a couple twists at the end, which come out of no where and really work quite well. The lack of gore might keep some people away or disappoint those who do watch the movie so people should prepare themselves going in. Even at 82-minutes the movie begins to lose steam but I really respect Marins for trying something different and not just delivering your casual revenge plot. The film also manages several surreal moments, which usually gets done with strange sound effects, weird edits and some strange color designs. Even stranger is an actual eye operation, which we get to see in close detail, which will certainly have your eyes watering up. The story is told in a straight forward fashion, which again, might upset die hard fans of the director but I think if people give the film a far shot then they should enjoy it. The print shown on IFC is in good condition but the subtitles are disastrous as we get many misspelled words as well as several words that are incorrectly used.
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