This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (José Mojica Marins / Brazil, 1967):
(Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver)

Having killed off his great, beastly creation in At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, José Mojica Marins just reverses his comeuppance at the sequel's preamble and kicks off another coruscating study of monstrous aestheticism. Zé do Caixão (Mojica Marins) regains his vision and picks up his search for the "only truth in life... the immortality of blood." Siring a heir is all, he rounds up the village's lasses and takes them to his chamber of horrors to choose the mother of his spawn -- the maidens are decked out in translucent gowns and arranged in cheesecake poses only to be covered with tarantulas, one of the doomed beauties places the titular curse on the villain while a serpent coils around her neck. The ideal woman is found in Nadia Freitas, daughter of the local colonel and placid receptor of Zé do Caixão's wacky philosophies: "I'm the salvation of all humanity," he intones while squashing the noggin of his beloved's brother with a giant boulder, five minutes later he is planting his seed in her womb. ("You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star," Nietzsche said.) The convergences include Corman's The Intruder and The Haunted Palace, plus the malefic freedom of Buñuel's The Young One; Glauber Rocha's "Aesthetics of Hunger" manifesto is opulently taken to town in the stupefying central hallucination, in which Hell is envisioned in pulsating Fauvist hues (ice replaces flames, painted girls are crucified upside-down, Satan appears as a "mirror held up to nature"). The wondrous infernal trip is run to outrageous limits to contrast with the riotously mock-redemptive finale, dispensing with cross and community -- the censors may have forced repentance onto this backlands De Sade, yet Mojica Marins until the end continues razzing a country's authoritarian piety, cursing the Heavens even after being struck by lightning ("I am not convinced!"). With Tina Wohlers, Nivaldo Lima, Antonio Fracari, and Tania Mendonça. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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