Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Church (1989)

Original title: La Chiesa

Director: Michele Soavi

Writers: Dario Argento, , Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini, M.R. James, Dardano Sacchetti, Michele Soavi

Composers: Goblin, Keith Emerson, Philip Glass, Fabio Pignatelli

Starring: Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Barbara Cupisti, Anonella Vitale, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Asia Argento, Roberto Caruso

More info: IMDb

Tagline: It will make you squirm.

Plot: An old Gothic cathedral, built over a mass grave, develops strange powers which trap a number of people inside with ghosts from a 12th Century massacre seeking to resurrect an ancient demon from the bowels of the Earth.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

Italian horror doesn't usually depend on a good story.  It's generally the visuals and the overall atmosphere (moody music and so on).  This picture falls into the latter.  The opening 15 minutes is set a few hundred years ago in the time of the Teutonic Knights (or somewhere thereabouts) and it's a great setup for the rest of the picture.  I would've preferred to stay in that period but what the filmmakers do in modern day has some great moments.  If you know Goblin's music then you know what you're in for with the score and this one has moments of greatness.  It's an ideal minimalistic musical backdrop to the story.  The camera moves frequently and there's a great use of odd angles.  The imagery is neat, too.  There are plenty of deaths and the effects are good.  I was pretty surprised.  I thought this might be just like so many other mediocre (or worse) Italian horror movies post-1980 but it was pretty good.  If you haven't seen Soavi's masterpiece in horror comedy, you've GOT to check out CEMETERY MAN (1994).  I'd say it's a top 10 best of the 90s.  The Anchor Bay DVD for THE CHURCH has a great looking anamorphic widescreen print with the sole extra being the theatrical trailer (also A-wide).

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