Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Delírios de um Anormal (1978)

... aka: Abnormal Delusions
... aka: Hallucinations in a Deranged Mind
... aka: Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind

Directed by:
José Mojica Marins

This is sort-of a greatest hits package for Brazilian horror master Marins. He not only gets to play both himself and his famous Zé do Caixão / Coffin Joe character, but it also includes previously unreleased footage from numerous earlier Marins movies, including THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1968), THE STRANGE WORLD OF COFFIN JOE (1968), AWAKENING OF THE BEAST (1970) and The Bloody Exorcism of Coffin Joe (1972). Supposedly, most of the footage from those films featured here were scenes that were removed by the censors. 35 minutes of brand new footage and a framing story has been added to turn it into a new release. Things open the usually bizarre way with a man screaming, a hunchback playing a bongo drum while walking circles around a bikini-clad woman, female body parts appearing from out of frame, hand-crafted credits with blood-dripping lettering on yellow paper, distorted, slowed-down chanting and a nightmare sequence of Coffin Joe admiring an obedient, subservient "superior woman" while simultaneously chastising his competition ("... anguish and pain is the perpetual punishment for the weak and inferior ones!")

The above nightmare is being suffered by Dr. Hamilton (Jorge Peres), and he's about to have another longggg one (all footage from the previous films), this time featuring some kind of Satanic ceremony, owls, pins stuck through flesh, women covered in tarantulas and snakes and being slapped around and whipped, Coffin Joe descending a staircase made of moaning people, lots of poorly executed jump cuts and the constant sound of agony and screaming. This is all edited in an extremely erratic fashion, with individual shots varying wildly in quality and going from black-and-white to color and back again. Dr. Hamilton awakens from this mess of recycled footage understandably confused and screaming. Because of his frequent visions of Coffin Joe, he becomes convinced that the horror character is coming to steal away his wife Tania (Magna Miller). She goes to Dr. Adolfo Hansen's psychiatric clinic for advice, but they're not sure what to do.

The hallucinations continue as we see a man defiling a corpse, some awful looking little monsters set on fire, a guy throwing acid in a woman's face, cannibalism, dismemberment, torture and Tania telling Coffin Joe that she's his slave. They're getting so bad that Dr. Hamilton has been committed to institution. Dr. Hansen phones up Marins and asks for his services. The actor agrees to come see if he can be of any help in curing the maddened doctor. Marin believes the problems may stem from Tania, but he returns to his home where he's hosting a pool party for his employees and reads through his horror scripts looking for the answer. The following day, Hamilton is hypnotized and Marins talks him through his predicament.

The newly-shot footage is horribly photographed and acted, too dark and pretty much just a bunch of incomprehensible rubbish. And if lines like "That unreachable dimension of the unexplored, the unknown and the fantastic forms the fabric of reality in the relentless pursuit of the awakening of perpetuity and the man who dedicates himself to that uncertain mission, find opened the doors of nothingness that lead into everything" make any sense to you, then you're one step ahead of me. Like Awakening, this has more than a little self-satisfied arrogance in the air, with Marins rubbing his chin and noting at one point, "Really incredible. I never thought my creation could make such an impression on an educated person."

This poorly slapped-together hodgepodge does however work fairly well as a sampler of what to expect from the director / star's delirious and imaginative other films. There's enough gore, nudity and assorted craziness to satisfy just about any exploitation fan, though it all gets to be a bit much after awhile. The awesome frozen hell sequence - featuring various body parts protruding from blood-spurting walls, and men walking around whipping people and gouging them with pitchforks - already have me sold on Bloody Exorcism (the only one of the 'repeat' films I've yet to see).


1 comment:

CavedogRob said...

All Coffin Joe movies are bizarre! This one really lives up to it's title!

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