Director – Michele Soavi
Cast – Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Barbara Cupisti, Antonella Vitale, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Asia Argento
Release Year – 1989
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Following the success of the utterly awesome Demons and Demons 2, Dario Argento began work on what he determined to be the third entry into the Demons series, which would be titled Demons 3(alternate title). Fresh off of the success of Stagefright, director Michele Soavi(Cemetery Man) was chosen to helm this film, and it was he who decided to have this flick stand on its own as a film, and abandon the Demons series altogether. Thankfully, this proved to be a sweet idea as this flick gives us a visually mesmerizing look into religious horror at the hands of the almighty Roman Catholic church.
The Church follows the events that ensue when a group of crusading Knights Templar brutally slaughter a village of devil worshipers and build a giant gothic cathedral over their mass grave. Fast forward 700 years and a librarian newly hired at the cathedral mistakenly opens a portal to the mass grave below the church, which leads to disastrous results. It is now up to Father Gus(Hugh Quarshie) and a young girl named Lotte(Asia Argento) to put an end to the vengeful spirits bent on unleashing a powerful demon upon the Earth.
Wow, this flick carries a plot I have been DYING to see over the years. If you know me then you know I am a devout fan of any horror that focuses on the Catholic church, and for reasons involving their long and often secretive history. The horrors executed by the church were sweet to watch, and the horrors the church faced for their misdeeds were even more fun to watch, making this flick a win-win situation throughout its 102 minute runtime.
In all honesty, I actually did not enjoy this flick as much as I expected to. I did enjoy it, yes, but I was expecting something utterly awesome and spectacular, but that just was not the case with this one. While the overall plot is an awesome one, the storyline itself was a bit convoluted at times, which may come as no surprise given this film comes with 8 credited and non-credited writers. Yes…EIGHT! Ultimately, it lead to the only negative aspect of the film, although I will admit it was not a petty mistake, but one that kept this flick from greatness.
Thankfully, Michele Soavi’s direction is absolutely superb and made up for any and all misdeeds we were given. As usual with Soavi, his visuals and camerawork set a beautiful tone for the film, which included very well illustrated sets thanks to being filmed in Hungary and Rome. Also, let’s not forget one very common element with anything involving Soavi or Argento…their excellent usage of gore. While the gore was not as insane as it has been in their previous efforts, we get a fair amount of the “goods” in this one, and in awesome fashion.
Overall, this is a sweet watch that I recommend to fans of anything related to Michele Soavi or Dario Argento, or anyone looking into a horror film with a gutsy religious element that we rarely see employed these days. Great direction and a cool plot overall make this a worthwhile watch.