Embodiment of Evil (18)

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The Independent Culture

Coffin Joe, hero of a series of cult Brazilian horror films in the Sixties, is revived for the 21st century.

Released from the mental hospital where he has been confined for 40 years, Joe puts on his top hat and cape once more, wiggles his outsized fingernails, and with the help of a new band of disciples sets off again on his quest to find the woman who will bear him the perfect child; along the way, much blood is shed, many eyeballs are gouged, and some unspeakable things are done with starving rats.

It's a very peculiar film indeed, the self-conscious nastiness at odds with Joe's rather bland philosophy of materialism and self-determination – Richard Dawkins crossed with Aleister Crowley – and an urge to portray Joe as champion of the dispossessed as well as merciless devil-spawn; and Marins, who stars as well as directs, is a bit too old and pudgy to project real threat.