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.
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A church is built during medieval times on top of a pile of dead bodies that were considered possessed. Hundreds of years later a young librarian unleashes the evil within, by removing a rock in the catacombs. Series of events occur meanwhile, everybody just does not seem to be the same. Father Gus is the only one not possessed, he must save the city from becoming a pandemonium, he must find the ancient secret of the church so it can crumble to pieces. Written by
After making the excellent slasher Deliria (1987), director Michele Soavi collaborated with genre master Dario Argento to produce this above-average tale of demonic evils.
Church constructed upon the mass grave of some medieval witches begins to unleash demons upon its subjects.
Soavi gives La Chiesa such great visual style and inventive direction that it becomes one of the most beautifully atmospheric Italian horror films out there. The storyline falls short at times with some thin plotting, but there isn't a dull moment in this surreal journey. It's a solidly well made film, with some nice special effects, slick cinematography, and colorful imagery. There's a number of dream like scenes in the film and a few unforgettably shocking ones, like the subway escape scene.
Goblin and Keith Emerson provides a unique and beautiful music score that's downright powerful.
The cast also helps to carry the film. Attractive Tomas Arana and Barbara Cupisti make for good leads. Argento's daughter Asia Argento appears as a youngster in the film. The supporting cast is also in good form, despite the English dubbing.
All around, La Chiesa is a great European horror film, especially seen in a technical light or just for style. But horror genre fans will find plenty to enjoy as well.
*** 1/2 out of ****
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