The second "Coffin Joe" film and the sequel to 1964's At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul sees greater production values, a longer running time and the addition of boobies (at the expense of blood - not a fair trade off in my book). Otherwise it pretty much continues right where the first one left off.
Coffin Joe is still searching for the perfect woman to bear his son. You might say he's getting a little desperate as he kidnaps several women he feels have proven themselves to be "non-believers". How he knows this is not explained. News travels fast in a small town I guess. With the help of his poorly made up (but still slightly creepy) hunchback servant, he puts the scantly clad women through a test to see who is most worthy of bearing his son. The test involves spiders and snakes and is slightly giggle-inducing. None of the women pass his test and they all die with the exception of one who got like a "B" on the test which was close enough to live, but not to bear Coffin Joe's son. She is bummed.
So it's off to find more babes that share Joe's semi-Satanic philosophy (heavily stolen from Nietzsche, LaVey and Crowley...and a little bit from Hitler this time around too. Yikes). He makes a few appearances in town to stir things up and fight a few dudes, always arriving like some sort of Satanic superhero, black cape flowing behind him, hands on his hips, crowds parting as he walks forward loudly boasting of his superiority and laughing maniacally. Soon enough, he finds the one woman he has been searching for his entire life. One that is totally in agreement with his kooky outlook and they quickly get it on. This outrages the townsfolk and a posse is formed to kill Joe.
That's basically the story. Unlike At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, there's little gore in this one which was both a bummer and surprising given that the budget seems higher. There is a technicolor dream sequence where Joe finds he has descended into a snowy, Dante-like Hell that's as bizarre and surreal as it is entertaining, but if it was intended to scare or shock, it failed as it's mostly just weird. Naked women being poked with paper-mache pitchforks, bleeding limbs dangling from the ceilings, all in vivid, groovy color.
The end is also a disappointment as - SPOILER ALERT - Joe recants his sins and makes a death-bed conversion to Catholicism as he is dying. Turns out Coffin Joe is just a big ol' wuss after all. One might be led to think there is some sort of moral here and that, possibly, director/writer (and lead actor) Jose Mojica Marins' take on atheism is the same that most believers hold - without God we all immediately regress into a state of "do what thou wilt" without any kind of moral or ethical boundaries, which of course is total nonsense. It's hard to say and I'm not really all that motivated to find out.
Still, I enjoyed this and would recommend you catch it should it reappear on IFC or Sundance. Despite it's flaws it's still an interesting slice of horror history and a damn entertaining one at that.
- Complaint Dept