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Five Films That Defined José Mojica Marins' Legacy

By Valerie Thompson

José Mojica Marins died at age 83, but his legacy in international film history is firmly cemented. Best known for his role of Coffin Joe, the actor, director, writer, and composer has inspired generations of Brazil's pop culture as well as established himself as a force among the world's most well known horror icons. Whether you're a long time fan or just learning about his gifts to film history, get to know the five films that will stand out among his long list of credits.

José Mojica Marins' lasting work arguably traces back to the success he had with the "Coffin Joe Trilogy"; the series of films utilize Marins' creation, a dastardly horror icon that utilizes darkness to inspire his fearful intentions. The first in the trilogy, 1963's "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul", introduces the character is what would become Brazil's first horror film. Coffin Joe is set in his ways and will do anything to make sure he produces another generation as cold-blooded as he is; the results bring chaos to an entire community.

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The next film in the "Coffin Joe Trilogy", "The Night I'll Possess Your Corpse", takes place in the same location as the previous film. This time, Coffin Joe is released back into the village he once tortured and begins another devious plan. Instead of getting his wishes, he finds love and enters in another nightmare as he tries to justify what he has done versus what he thinks is right. The conclusion is an unsettling piece that both punishes the icon as well as those he loves.

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The final of the three "Coffin Joe" films carries on with the icon, much like other horror baddies, this character seems impervious to death itself. Decades removed from the horrible event of the first two films, 2008's "Embodiment of Evil" shows the character going back to his overall goal of procreating. Coffin Joe once again sets out on a campaign of fear as he attempts to complete the mission once and for all; the consequences create a hard to forget conclusion to the series.


The '70s saw José Mojica Marins exploring other aspects of the horror genre with two different films. 1970's "The End of Man" gave him the chance to explore both religious and societal ideals; through his character, the actor and director ventured into what people will believe and how their perceptions can be wrong.

1977's "Hellish Flesh" also gave José Mojica Marins a chance to play the good guy in search of revenge after his wife's betrayal. It's an interesting choice that doesn't get as many mentions among Marins' popular fare.

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