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R.I.P. José Mojica Marins, a.k.a. Coffin Joe

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 | News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

The pioneering Brazilian horror filmmaker/actor has died at age 83.

Brazil’s Folha De S.Paulo has reported that José Mojica Marins succumbed to bronchopneumonia at Sao Paulo’s Sancta Maggiore hospital; his passing was confirmed by his daughter Liz Marins. Born March 13, 1936 (a Friday!), Marins became famous for his Coffin Joe (Zé do Caixão) character, a villain who wreaked murderous havoc in several features he directed and starred in, beginning with AT MIDNIGHT I’LL TAKE YOUR SOUL (1963) and continuing through THIS NIGHT I’LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967), THE STRANGE WORLD OF COFFIN JOE (1968), AWAKENING OF THE BEAST (1970) and THE BLOODY EXORCISM OF COFFIN JOE (1974). His films were groundbreakingly graphic for their time, showcasing vivid horror and torture scenes and visions of hell. Marins was also a popular figure on Brazilian television, though his fame didn’t spread to the United States until the 1990s, when his work was discovered and celebrated there.

Marins revived the Coffin Joe character in 2008’s EMBODIMENT OF EVIL, with the assistance of fan and fellow Brazilian genre filmmaker Dennison Ramalho. The movie spurred further interest in Marins, who toured festivals worldwide with the film. He subsequently helmed a segment of the anthology shocker THE PROFANE EXHIBIT; his last feature was 2015’s MEMÓRIAS DA BOCA. He will be greatly missed and forever celebrated as a great and unique talent on the international horror scene.

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.