‘In this unholy sanctuary you haven’t got a prayer…’
The Church – original title: La chiesa – is a 1989 Italian horror feature film directed by Michele Soavi (Dellamorte, Dellamore; The Sect; StageFright).
The film 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.
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The movie stars Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Barbara Cupisti, Asia Argento, Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. and Giovanni Lombardo Radice.
The Church was originally conceived as the third film in the Dèmoni series; however, director Michele Soavi insisted that the film stand alone and not connected with the first two entries. In an interview Soavi derisively referred to those films as “Pizza Schlock”, and expressed that he wanted The Church to be more sophisticated.
In medieval Germany the Teutonic Knights massacre a village of supposed witches and build the titular structure over their dead bodies.
Present day: an assorted group of tourists are visiting the church. When the seal of the crypt is inadvertently broken, the malevolent spirits of the villagers attack the tourists.
Father Gus (Hugh Quarshie) and Lotte (Asia Argento), the Sacristan’s daughter, must try to combat this evil force before it is unleashed upon the outside world…
“The Church is bursting with style and it just looks good, plain and simple. The score by Argento regulars Goblin, and progressive rock legend Keith Emerson (Inferno) is incredible, ’nuff said. There is plenty of the red stuff to satisfy the gore hound, and a couple of effectively creepy scares.” Lawrence P Raffel, Monsters at Play
“The gore is great; the cheesy dubbed voices are lovely; the bad ’80s outfits… divine. But there are far too many slow patches in this film. You promise me gore? Give it to me. Demons and monsters? Let ’em loose.” Dezhda Mountz, DVD Verdict
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“Soavi’s talents as a director are such that he is able to make the film enjoyable purely by virtue of its look and atmosphere, managing to transcend its rather unimpressive origins as an instalment of the Demons saga.” Michael Mackenzie, The Digital Fix
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