Zé do Caixão: José Mojica Marins’s Brazilian Gothic.

Daniel Serravalle de Sá


This article highlights links between Brazilian character Zé do Caixão and the Gothic tradition by means of cultural appropriations used by director José Mojica Marins as a method of associating the character with renowned horror icons. The use of such a set of representations which are associated with Gothic (costumes, camera angles, lighting, props, mise-en-scène) constitutes a system of symbolic meanings in which self-presentation becomes an essential ingredient to produce the effect of horror. At the same time, the presence of such elements address a political dimension in the form of an allegory of historical situations that could not be openly talked about or that could be explained more effectively if transported into a fantasy world. Mojica takes advantage of the fact that violence, torture and the representation of tyrannical forces in general are constitutive of the horror genre to give an aesthetic response to the society of his time in the form of a historical representation of the violent context of the Brazilian military dictatorship. This acclimatization of foreign elements inserted in the socio-cultural context of national productions constitutes what is called here “Brazilian Gothic”.


Zé do Caixão, José Mojica Marins, Gothic, Military Dictatorship in Brazil.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/ct/2017.206


Copyright (c) 2017 Daniel Serravalle de Sá

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