Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (1978)

Dr. Hamilton is an esteemed psychologist, suddenly beset by terrifying dreams of Coffin Joe stealing away his wife Tania. His friends and family are concerned, even enlisting the help of Jose Mojica Marins himself to cure the man's affliction. But nothing seems to help, and Hamilton is at risk of being lost to Coffin Joe forever...

The amusingly titled Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind opens abruptly. After a strangely sorta-groovy tune over the opening credits, we are thrown straight into the 'plot', which is an awfully strong word to use for a movie such as this. You see, this is made up predominately of stock footage. Brazilian horror director Jose Mojica Marins was most famous for the Coffin Joe series, and I don't know if he was under contract for a new movie or what, but he came out with this, cobbled together from whatever scraps and recycled bits he could find.

The film is full of crazy imagery living up to the title. A lot of it is stupid, but plenty is creative...but from other movies, so praising Hallucinations for those elements wouldn't be correct. There's next to no dialogue, either. You could mute the film and miss out on nothing but the endless screaming and wailing.

The framing story is interesting in theory, but the film never really makes an attempt to give it any importance. It's just an excuse to string the scenes along. Even the resolution feels sudden and anticlimactic, coming only because they've hit the runtime quota and don't need any more archive footage. Then comes the true ending though, which makes no sense, but is typical of horror films. Even when you've definitively 100% super duper killed the bad guy, there'll always be that last minute twist or tease at the end showing they've survived.

The film has no consistency. Not only the scene will change rapidly, on a dime, but so will the film quality, and even the colour! There's no context for most of the images and scenes we're shown. The most ill-fitting scenes are those that feature Coffin Joe himself being tormented, which doesn't fit with the story here (you'd think seeing them would perk Hamilton up!).

Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind is honestly quite boring. A lot of the scenes are good in their own right (if a bit ridiculous and laughable in places), but only in the context of the original movies. Here, without any of that context, it's just shock for shock's sake, and none of it leaves an impact. I suppose you could compare it to watching a compilation of gory death scenes. You could watch a 5 or 10 minute video of such scenes and enjoy yourself, sure, but stretched to 80 minutes? You'd be reaching for the remote faster than water in a desert!

Turning Coffin Joe into a supernatural omnipotent being seems a bit weird and out-of-character when one of his character's defining characteristics is a hatred of all things supernatural. I also didn't like that he doesn't lose at the end of the movie. He is such a loathsome character that you look forward to seeing the arrogant sonovabitch get taken down.

The acting in the main segment leaves a little to be desired in some areas, while others are just ok.

And lastly, the music, what little there is, is comprised almost entirely of spooky moaning, and it skirts the line of eerie and enigmatic, and just plain annoying.

Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind has a few decent moments, and some were even made for this movie, but overall it's basically just piecemeal scatterings of Marins' previous efforts. If you didn't like them then there's no sense checking this out. And if you do like them, well you're probably not gonna get much out of this...

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