Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

Embodiment of Evil


Starring: Jose Mojica Marins, Milhem Cortaz, Rui Rizende and Jece Valadão
Anchor Bay Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 18
Available 27 July 2009

Following not so hot on the heels of At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964) and This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967) comes the latest installment, Embodiment of Evil. In this one the evil and twisted sadistic killer, the undertaker Coffin Joe (insert boo and hiss here), sees the system (not to mention the chief of police’s lawyer wife) finally release he of the long fingernails (he obviously doesn’t do the washing up) from a maximum security prison mental ward where he has been serving 40 years for abduction, torture, murder and all-round nastiness. As expected, this move is just a tad unwise, because he wastes no time in continuing his search for the perfect woman (don’t we all) who will bear the ultimate evil offspring. His hunchback servant Quasimodo - I mean Bruno has found Joe a new centre of nefarious operations, and it seems that with each dank cellar of debauchery you get four free fanatic and somewhat psychotic followers. This week’s special offer, apparently. While many bodies are left in his wake, Joe begins to suffer terrifying visions connected to his past (you would think he would enjoy them). A malicious police captain and an unbalanced priest are on his trail (isn’t there anyone normal in this film?), but who will gain the upper hand?

This subtitled Brazilian oddity moves writer/director/actor Jose Mojica back to the characters and situations that made his name. Forty years on and virtually nothing in the manner of balance or content has changed. On the meagre Making of... featurette those involved with the film wax lyrical about how scary it is. Er, no it isn’t. Yes, there’s plenty of blood and violence, but I’ve never condoned that for the sake of content alone. In fact, much of the suffering in Embodiment of Evil is endured by the viewer rather than Joe’s victims.

The characterisation of Coffin Joe attempts to create a striking visual ambience; to afford him the status of instant strength and power. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work at all. Dressed in attire from a past age - almost certainly purposefully emulating the gentlemanly look of Jack the Ripper - he moves and speaks excruciatingly slowly, his speech bellowing loudly and dramatically like an inebriated town cryer. In truth, nobody would take him seriously. Being released into the modern world after forty years he would be a complete anachronism. No matter how dramatic a pose he struck crossing the road, he would still be run over by the first impatient cab driver. And there would end his reign of terror.

The performance is so over-the-top that it makes you laugh and groan in equal measure. The pursuing captain spends the film vowing vengeance and swearing and cursing his adversary’s name. I came close to that myself a few times...


Ty Power

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£8.98 (
£10.99 (
£8.99 (
£14.37 (
£19.99 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.