The Church (1989)

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Movie Review
Tags: , , ,

The Church {La Chiesa} (1989)

Directed By: Michele Soavi

Starring: Hugh Quarshie, Asia Argento, Tomas Arana, Barbara Cupisti, Roberto Caruso

Subgenre: Demons & Possession


French Poster


There are some Italian horror fans that consider Soavi a directorial genius.  I wouldn’t go that far, even though his 1994 film Dellamorte Dellamore (or Cemetery Man here in the States) is a masterpiece.  He is the protégé of Dario Argento, but has also worked with directors such as Lucio Fulci and Terry Gilliam.  He was looked upon as the torch bearer for Italian horror in the 90s after Dellamorte Dellamore and The Sect, but had to retreat from the film industry to care for an ill child.  He has recently started working in Italian television and I can’t wait to see what he offers when (if?) he returns to the horror genre.

The Church was actually written and produced by Dario Argento and even stars his daughter Asia Argento, before she became the woman we all know today, if you know what I mean.  While The Church lacks Argento’s panache, his fingerprints are all over it.  It is a slow burn until the final act when the gore is finally cranked up.  The plot actually starts with a flashback to a group of knights, the Teutonic Knights to be exact.  Their resemblance to the Knights Templar is uncanny.  Anyways, they slaughter a village of “witches” and then decide to consecrate the land and build a church over it.  Is that ever a good idea?

We than zoom forward to present day and the church still stands.  We are introduced to a handful of characters, including the librarian brought in to chronicle the Church’s books and the woman in charge of restoration.  The restoration project inadvertently releases benevolent spirits that possess the happy church-goers and all hell breaks loose, if you pardon the pun.  The Church is designed to go into lockdown mode if this ever happens, so everyone inside the church is trapped.  We’ve seen this happen before and honestly, I was waiting for a Vincent Price cameo!

The movie does take a bit of a twist as the focus on what appeared to be the two main characters shifts to the Priest and Asia’s character as they try and defeat the evil and escape the Church.  It almost seems as if Dario was writing the script, his daughter said she wanted to be in it, so he went in another direction.  The result is a bit of a fragmented storyline that doesn’t flow all that well and is tedious at times.   

The Church was intended to be the sequel to The Demons and The Demons 2, but the possessed in The Church never resembled the possessed in those movies.  If you want to confuse and frustrate yourself, check out just how many Italian movies are considered sequels to those movies.  While The Church is not essential viewing for horror fans, it is worth checking out for fans of eurotrash style horror and Dario Argento in particular.

  1. Jason says:

    Yeah this is by far my favorite “Demons 3”. This is always a fun watch almost on the same level as the original 2 films. Great review man.

  2. shnsjolin says:

    Thanks man, I never seem to get it updated as much as I want, but thanks for checking it out.

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