Embodiment of Evil (2008) – By Duane L. Martin

1964 saw the first Coffin Joe film, entitled, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul. 1967 brought us the second, entitled, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse. Fast forward to 2008, and actor / director José Mojica Marins brings his Coffin Joe character back to the screen with Embodiment of Evil. In this installment, Coffin Joe has been in prison for forty years. Now some moronic defense attorney has gotten him released, and he’s back to his old tricks. With his hunchback assistant by his side, he meets up with his four new servants, which include a fat, mean looking guy, a guy that looks like Joe did when he was young, and two hot girls. Now he’s back on mission to father a child with the perfect woman so that he can create a perfect, immortal bloodline. Will he be able to do it though before the police catch up with him?

José Mojica Marins both directs and stars in the film as Coffin Joe. I had never seen either of the earlier Coffin Joe films, so I had no idea what the premise of the story was, nor did I know any of the back story. I was hoping that this film would cut in some scenes of the back story for those who hadn’t seen the previous films, and that turned out to be the case. There was just enough back story included to give you a good idea of what happened previously, so you wouldn’t feel lost if you hadn’t seen them.

Now, if you’re the kind of person that likes "torture porn" type films, then you’ll probably enjoy this one. Visually the film looks great, the set design was excellent, and all in all it had a really creepy vibe to it throughout. Most of the women were really hot, the gore effects looked very realistic and all in all, for the type of film it was, visually it all worked really well. The story was a very different matter.

Personally, I can’t stand torture porn films. Not because they disgust me, but because I find them tedious. Basically, 80% of the story is Coffin Joe getting and abusing his next victim or being haunted by the ghosts of his past. The other 20% involves the police chasing him or the revenge seeking monk electrocuting his own nipples. Girls gave themselves to Joe without explanation, Joe sliced a butt cheek off of one and made her eat it just to prove herself, etc…. He’s also supposed to have killed thirty some odd people while he was in prison. Why didn’t they just execute him, or why didn’t some of the other prisoners kill him? The lawyer that got Joe released was the wife of a police captain, and on and on and on. Very little of the story made any sense. I’m not sure what torturing women before impregnating them has to do with creating an immortal bloodline, but at the end, he had knocked up quite a few, which was rather disgusting considering he’s in his 70’s (72 when the film was released) and we had to watch him kissing and having sex with several young girls. Then there’s a scene in purgatory that made even less sense and seemed to have no place in the movie, where we get to see another old guy frenching it with a girl who was supposed to be the Grim Reaper.

So what do we have? We have a film that’s visually awesome, has some great torture and gore scenes for those who are into that, but is crippled by a nonsensical storyline that, if not for the great visuals, would likely leave you quite bored.

Can I recommend this film? Based on the visuals alone, yes, but only for those who like torture films. The story likely won’t do much for you. Those who aren’t into torture films will probably want to skip this one. Visually the film is just stunning in appearance. I just wish the story had lived up to the visuals.

The film is in Portuguese and has English subtitles available. It was released by Synapse Films in a Blu-Ray / DVD combo pack, and for special features, it has a "making of" featurette, footage from the Fantasia Festival Premiere and the original theatrical trailer. The visual quality of the transfer is excellent, as is the sound quality. The aspect ratio is 16:9 – 1.85.1.

If you’d like to find out more about this film or pick yourself up a copy, you can check out its listing on the Synapse Films website here.