Awakening of the Beast (1970)

Genres - Drama, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Addiction Drama  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - Brazil  |   MPAA Rating - NC17
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Synopsis by Mark Deming

Brazilian horror icon Jose Mojica Marins explores the drug culture as only he can in this distinctive blend of terror and surrealistic images. A group of leading Brazilian psychiatrists have come together to debate the effects of recreational drugs (particularly LSD, marijuana, and cocaine) on their patients, with noted filmmaker Marins in attendance. As the doctors exchange increasingly bizarre stories -- running from a female college student led into a fatal sexual encounter with a group of pot-smoking bohemians to an older cocaine-addled woman obsessed with miscegenation and bestiality -- one proposes an unusual experiment. Gathering four volunteers with long histories of drug abuse, the doctor doses them with LSD and presents them with the fearsome image of Marins' alter-ego, Ze do Caixao (aka Coffin Joe), and under the influence of the hallucinogen they are taken on a bizarre voyage through the frightening world of Coffin Joe's psyche. O Ritual dos Sádicos was completed in 1969, but after it was rejected by government censors, the film went unreleased in Brazil for 20 years; while most of the film is in black-and-white, the concluding hallucination sequences are in vivid color.



abuse, addiction, drugs, psychedelic