This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse (1967)
With a title like "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse," you'd think this entry would be better suited for The Schlock Vault than Reeling Backward.
But no: this follow-up to the classic Brazilian horror film "At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul" again follows Ze do Caixao (Jose Mojica Marins), aka "Coffin Joe," the crazed mortician who believes he can achieve immortality by having a son with the perfect woman.
"This Night" could be called an early slasher franchise, as Joe returns seemingly from the dead, exonerated for his crimes from the first film due to "lack of evidence," and immediately plots again to find the perfect woman and impregnate her, whether she wants to or not.
Joe is a striking, handsome man, grotesquely long fingernails being his only defect. His Igor-like sidekick, Bruno (Jose Lobo), is not, a deformed, hunchbacked man who appears to share his master's sadistic tendencies.
Joe is an avowed atheist, and considers religion to be the largest corruption of the human race. Blood, he says, is the only way to achieve immortality, and in creating the perfect union between man and woman can one live forever.
Joe abducts a group of young women, and enters them into a contest, reality TV-style, informing them that one of them will likely become his perfect bride. He narrows the field to one, and kills the other women, one of whom (unbeknownst to Joe) is pregnant.
Given Joe's thoughts on the purity of children, he is devastated at the news, and the woman's vow to haunt him from the grave allows the thought to creep in: what if God does exist, and she does come back to haunt me?
The film is mostly black and white with subtitles (though the captions are relatively easy to follow). In one brilliant sequence Joe takes a trippy journey into Hell, and the film becomes colorized as he witnesses the despair and death around him, then returns to black and white when he returns to Earth.
"This Night" reallky contains a lot subversive ideas that wouldn't likely shock today's "Saw" generation, but for its time it would have been considered extremely controversial. There is plenty of bloody deaths, nudity, and some very strong statements on the existence of a higher power, but also more traditional horror sequences of the day, including a sequence where Joe releases dozens of tarantulas to torment his women while they sleep.
But somehow it never feels exploitative, even the nudity, much of which is seen through sheer nightgowns.
Coffin Joe is something of a classic monster of Brazilian cinema, maybe akin to Michael Myers or Jason in America. He of course is far superior intellectually to our brutes, but isn't as physically menacing or brutal.
The horror-movie fun combined with the larger, intelligently-discussed issues of life make "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse" a tremendously fulfilling classic horror experience.