The Film (3.5/5)
Embodiment of Evil is the first proper Coffin Joe film in nearly 40 years. Coffin Joe last stalked screens, officially, in 1967's This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse, that is a pretty large gap between sequels. Usually, when a film goes so long without having a sequel, the sequel usually ends up being horrible (I'm looking at you American Werewolf in Paris) as too much time has passed, and it is usually irrelevant to the current time, or else feels like a cheap cash in. I am happy to report that Coffin Joe - Embodiment of Evil is none of these things.
Embodiment of Evil may just be one of the most bugnuts insane sequels of all times. It is a gory violent absolutely over the top gonzo love letter from Coffin Joe to his fans who have been waiting for 40 years to see the sadistic gravedigger return to the silver screen.
The film picks up exactly 40 years after the end of This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse. Coffin Joe is being released from prison, reluctantly of course. He is met at the prison gates by his faithful follower Bruno, who takes him to a new hideout, where, with a new group of devotees they begin to enact Coffin Joe's long gestating plans to find the perfect woman to bear his child, and thus granting Joe immortality. Of course, to find the perfect woman he must put them each through test, these test pretty much amount to various tortures, if they can handle the torture, then they can potentially carry his child.
The plot pretty much follows the same structure from the prior 2 episodes of the Coffin Joe trilogy with Joe trying to find the perfect mate. The interesting thing about Joe's films is how political they are. I know I cannot comment too deeply, not being overly familiar with Brazilian politics, but much like the films of George A. Romero the films of Coffin Joe definitely have a subtle (OK, not so subtle in Embodiment) political subtext. I love a good gory movie as much as the next guy, but when the gore appears to have some sort of deeper meaning, and appears to actually be making a statement of some kind (and I DO realize how pretentious this sounds) I tend to like it just a bit more than a film that just adds gore for gores sake.
However, if you are the type of viewer that is just interested in the splatter, than Embodiment of Evil is definitely your type of film. This film has great gore by the bucketful, and once it gets going it never truly lets up. Which leads me to my only slight negative with the film, in that it takes a while to really get going. It takes a good half an hour before the first real gore scene, and while what we have is setting up the plot, I sort of think the film would have been more effective if we had gotten to the splatter sooner. That being said, Embodiment of Evil is an excellent sequel, one of the best films of the Coffin Joe trilogy, and a fine way to end the series after all this time.
Synapse Films have presented Embodiment of Evil in a near perfect 1080p 1:78:1 HD transfer preserving the films original theatrical aspect ratio. When you see the Synapse name you know you are in for a quality release, and that much is true here. The colors pop, skin tones are accurate, black levels are deep, and the level of detail is nothing short of amazing. There is also a healthy coat of a grain offering a real film like quality to the proceedings. The audio fares similarly well, and Synapse offers 2 tracks in Portuguese a spectacular DTS-HD Master Audio track in Stereo, and another 5.1 track. The dialogue, sound effects, and music are mixed well. There are no audio blemishes, that can be heard here. Overall, an absolutely fantastic A/V job on this release.
Synapse have put together a pretty decent slate of extras for their Blu-ray/DVD of Embodiment of Evil. This set kicks off with a 30 minute making of documentary which goes into detail on the sometimes troubled production of the film, and is definitely an interesting watch. This is followed up by a 14 minute featurette put together from footage taken at the Fantasia Film Festival Premiere of Embodiment of Evil. Coffin Joe comes out in a coffin, and accepts an award for his 5 decades in horror, and after the film does a Q & A. The final extra is the films trailer in HD.
If you're a fan of Coffin Joe or splatter movies than this is a no-brainer. It has been 40 years since the last Coffin Joe film, and he has definitely made the wait worth it (for those of you who were waiting...). I'm going to make a very extreme statement here, and I try not to do these very often, but is probably the best, bloodiest, goriest film of the last 15 years. If you, like me, need a good gory fix every once in a while than Embodiment of Evil is something to check out. The A/V work done here by Synapse is incredible, and the extras are fun and informative. Highly Recommended.