The Church (film)

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The Church
Chiesaposter.jpg
Italian theatrical film poster
Directed by Michele Soavi
Produced by Dario Argento
Mario Cecchi Gori
Vittorio Cecchi Gori
Screenplay by Dario Argento
Michele Soavi
Franco Ferrini
Dardano Sacchetti (uncredited)
Lamberto Bava (uncredited)
Fabrizio Bava (prologue)
Based on The Treasure of Abbot Thomas (short story)
by M.R. James
Starring Hugh Quarshie
Tomas Arana
Barbara Cupisti
Asia Argento
Giovanni Lombardo Radice
Music by Keith Emerson
Philip Glass
Goblin (as The Goblins)
Fabio Pignatelli
Cinematography Renato Tafuri
Edited by Franco Fraticelli
Production
company
ADC Films
Cecchi Gori Group Tiger Cinematografica
Reteitalia
Distributed by Cecchi Gori Distribuzione
Release date
  • 10 March 1989 (1989-03-10) (Rome)
Running time
110 minutes
Country Italy
Language English
Italian
Hungarian
Latin
Budget $3,500,000 (Estimated)

The Church (Italian title: La chiesa), also known as Cathedral of Demons or Demon Cathedral, is a 1989 Italian horror film directed by Michele Soavi. It was produced by Dario Argento with Mario Cecchi Gori and Vittorio Cecchi Gori, and written by Argento, Soavi, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti, Lamberto and Fabrizio Bava.[1] It stars Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Barbara Cupisti, Asia Argento, Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. and Giovanni Lombardo Radice.[2]

The Church is considered as the official second sequel to the Dèmoni series.[3] Although it was originally intended to be the third film in the series, the story has no direct thematic link with the first two parts, and therefore the 1991 horror film Dèmoni 3 (also known as Black Demons) is usually -and incorrectly- associated as the third film of the saga.[citation needed]

Plot summary[edit]

In medieval Germany, the Teutonic Knights massacre a village of supposed "witches" and build the titular structure over their dead bodies. In the present day, the church's new librarian (Tomas Arana) breaks the seal of the crypt out of curiosity and releases the evil spirits contained beneath it. At the same time, the church's automated mechanisms, which were set up by the architect who built the church, are triggered, causing the doors to close and trapping everyone inside, including a group of visitors.

Father Gus (Hugh Quarshie), the only person not affected by the demons, eventually finds the way to make the church collapse on itself but dies in the process of doing so. Soon after, Lotte (Asia Argento), the sacristan's daughter and the sole survivor of the incident, is seen walking towards the ruins of the church. She finds the seal of the crypt, opens it and peers inside. Blue light emits from within, just like when the librarian first opened it, and she smiles.

Cast[edit]

Background[edit]

The Church was originally conceived as the third film in the Dèmoni series; however, Michele Soavi insisted that the film stand alone and not connected with the first two entries.[4] Soavi has derisively referred to those films as "Pizza Schlock", and expressed that he wanted The Church to be more sophisticated. In an interview with Cinefantastique, Soavi explained that he wished to move beyond with his creations following the film's release, and because of that he declined to keep working with Argento as a team.[5]

It is known in Japan as Demons 3.[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

The score was composed by prog-rock musician Keith Emerson and by composer Philip Glass. The soundtrack featured tracks from Goblin and Fabio Pignatelli.[7]

Release[edit]

The film premiered in Rome on 10 March 1989 and was released in the Italian cinemas on the same day.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review, Variety referred to the film as a "technically proficient but empty horror exercise".[9] The review noted that the musical score by Goblin was The Church's "strongest element."[9]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, The Church currently has an approval rating of 64% based on eleven reviews, satisfying the "Fresh" criteria.[10] Allmovie called it a "gothic-drenched apocalyptic nightmare" that builds "a suffocating sense of quiet dread".[11]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Prouty, Howard H., ed. (1994). Variety Television Reviews 1923-1992. Garland Publishing Inc. ISBN 0-8240-3796-0. 

External links[edit]