Ze do Caixao (Jose Mojica Marins) is the local undertaker, and a bully. He is married to Lenita (Valeria Vasquez). Ze, as he is known in the village, doesn’t believe in religion or emotion. He looks down on everyone and is concerned only for himself and his lineage. He believes that the only reason to exist is to procreate. Lenita is barren so he has no heirs. He wants a son.
Ze’s friend is Antonio (Nivaldo Lima). Antonio is engaged to Terezinha (Magda Mei). Ze lusts after Terezinha but she is in love with Antonio and rejects the undertaker. Ze is undaunted. Ze decides that in order to be able to have a son he needs to get rid of Lenita. He kills her using a poison spider. People are suspicious of Lenita’s death but there is no evidence to prove that Ze had anything to do with it.
Antonio and Terezinha go to the local witch and have their fortunes told. Ze decides to go with them. The witch tells Terezinha to remember who she loves, and all will be well, otherwise there will be death and misfortune. She then tells Antonio he will die soon and that he needs to be buried at midnight. Then tells Ze that he will pay for his sins and when the time comes, he will suffer the horrors of hell.
Ze tosses aside the witch’s warnings and proceeds with his plans. He kills Antonio. When Terezinha finds Antonio dead she is devastated. Antonio is buried at midnight. The village doctor, Dr. Rodolfo (Ilidio Martins Simoes) becomes suspicious of and thinks that Ze had something to do with Antonio’s death but there is still no evidence tying him to it. Ze then tries to seduce Terezinha, but she rejects him again. Ze then beats her and rapes her determined that Terezinha will bear him the son he wants. Terezinha curses Ze and later commits suicide. Ze then kills the suspicious doctor.
As time goes on Ze believes he has gotten away with all the murders and violence he has committed. At least until the day of the dead when the old gypsy tells him his fortune.
“At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul” AKA “A Meia Noite Levarei Sua Alma” was released in 1964 and was written, directed and stars Jose Mojica Marins. It is a Brazilian horror film and is Brazil's first horror film.
The main character is Jose, but he is referred to as Ze for short, or Ze do Caixao which translates into Coffin Joe in English. The film is the first of a trilogy that features the Coffin Joe character. The other two films were “This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse” (1967), and “Embodiment of Evil” (2008).
There are some tiny vignettes before the movie starts that remind me of those haunted house exhibits you walk through on Halloween.
The film has some quirky but effective special effects as well as some really good effects. The special effects, however, are only part of what makes the movie impressive. What makes the film remarkable is the visceral and graphic content. For a first-time horror film, it has some vivid and striking horror scenes. Some of them could be a little disturbing to some audiences.