Doctor Hamilton (Jorge Peres) has been plunged into a nightmare and the recurring figure he sees is that of Coffin Joe (José Mojica Marins), a character from fictional films that he has become convinced exists in some sense. But he cannot be real, can he? The manner in which Joe is appearing is as part of some incredibly detailed hellscapes, full of writhing bodies, violence, screams and demented laughter, yet Hamilton must have gathered these images from the movies, mustn't he? There cannot be a real person as Coffin Joe, can there?
By 1978, filmmaker José Mojica Marins was growing disenchanted with the way his horror efforts kept getting banned and censored by the Brazilian authorities, so assembled what many have described as a "greatest hits" collection, even though much of the imagery had not seen the light of day (or dark of cinemas) at the time it was released. For most of the running time audiences were treated to a selection of apparently randomly assembled clips from the Marins canon, and perhaps ironically he saw this work be passed uncut by his country's censors of the day - who knows what goes on in their minds?
Maybe it looked something like what was going on in this film, as plot rarely intrudes into vision after vision of madness, all achieved on Marins' customary low budget but still with that dedication to depicting the seamier side of nightmares. You might think that minute after minute of story-free weirdness would become wearing after a while, and it's true that bits and pieces are repeated, never mind that there's not as much variety as you might have liked in what was chosen. However, after a while a pattern of genuinely hallucinatory texture emerges, as Marins' work lends itself pretty favourably to such a style.
As for that plot, Dr. Hamilton comes to believe that his wife Tania (Magna Miller) has caught the attention of Coffin Joe, who wants her to, guess what? That's right, he wants a child to continue his nefarious schemes and has settled on her as the ideal vessel for his baby. Same old story, really, but here Marins appears as himself to try and persuade the delirious doc at his own psychiatric institute that it's all in his mind and Coffin Joe is simply a character he plays. Seeing José relaxing at home in some shots is quite amusing, incidentally, but mainly he shows up in a professional capacity to ensure that the patient comes to his senses and realises that there's no way the villain could be doing what he did.
Still, Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind is a little disappointing because it's pretty much the equivalent of those clip shows that long running television series would broadcast to fill up their quota of available episodes. You know, where Buck Rogers would try to work out which of the characters he has met in previous instalments had sent him a present, offering a cue for an hour of reminiscences and cheapo TV (it was Gary Coleman who sent it, by the way). The only one of these not to have been a disappointment was South Park's, and that was only because they messed around with it to alter the past events with comic consequences, but Marins at least has the excuse that those watching this would not have had the benefit of seeing what they looked like in their original form. There is a fun punchline, too, which you can see coming a mile off. Music by Clayber de Souza.