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The Church (1989)

La chiesa (original title)
R | | Horror | 10 March 1989 (Italy)
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.

Director:

Michele Soavi

Writers:

Dario Argento (story), Franco Ferrini (story) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Quarshie ... Father Gus
Tomas Arana ... Evan
Feodor Chaliapin Jr. ... The Bishop (as Feodor Chaliapin)
Barbara Cupisti ... Lisa
Antonella Vitale ... Bridal Model
Giovanni Lombardo Radice ... Reverend
Asia Argento ... Lotte
Roberto Caruso Roberto Caruso ... Freddie
Roberto Corbiletto Roberto Corbiletto ... Hermann, the Sacristan
Alina De Simone Alina De Simone ... Lottie's Mother
Olivia Cupisti Olivia Cupisti ... Mira
Gianfranco De Grassi Gianfranco De Grassi ... The Accuser
Claire Hardwick Claire Hardwick ... Joanna
Lars Jorgenson Lars Jorgenson ... Bruno
John Karlsen ... Heinrich
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Storyline

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 Nebiros <nebiros@informador.com.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You Haven't Got A Prayer. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | Hungarian | Latin

Release Date:

10 March 1989 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Church See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The design for the lizard-demon-gargoyle creature is taken from a infamous 1600s wood-carving depicting a man selling his soul to the devil. See more »

Goofs

When Father Gus, as a recreational archer, is using a bow to shoot at a target, he is not wearing a wrist guard. This is a painful mistake even a beginner would only make once. See more »

Quotes

Hermann, the Sacristan: [to Lottie] Filthy liar! Here we'll wash your mouth out with soap, here!
Lottie's Mother: Don't make me wait for those onions Hermann
See more »

Alternate Versions

All videos for The Church in the USA come in two formats: R Rated or Unrated/Uncut. There are mistakes on all boxes and tapes about the running times: All videotapes and boxes say 110 minute running time on the back cover and 102 minute running time on the cassette no matter if its the rated R version or the 110 minute unrated version. It will correctly state on the box & tape that it is rated or uncut/unrated. See more »

Connections

References Mark of the Devil (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Floe
Written by Philip Glass
Performed by Martin Goldray
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Say a little prayer.
16 August 2007 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

In the middle ages a group of Knights slaughter a village full of suspected devil worshippers and a large cathedral is built on their burial pit. The church is now being reworked on, and when the seal from the crypt is broken by the new librarian Evan, slowly the occupants become possessed. An ancient mechanism is triggered off and a group of visitors find themselves locked inside with this relentless terror of madness and lust.

If you could ever say style very much over substance, director Michele Sovai's lavish Gothic horror piece "The Church" falls comfortably into that category. Originally it was going to be the third entry of the "Demons" films, But Sovai shaped it into what he wanted. Obviously the familiar groundwork of those films is still presented here, as this time the action takes place in a church where the trapped characters are eventually possessed. However it does take its time before the demented mayhem eventually erupts. Even then the splatter isn't particularly grisly, with more concern on the brooding atmosphere, striking art direction and gorgeously shot set pieces. The pacing might be terribly bumpy, but Renato Tafuri's dramatic flashes with the camera provide the film's main energy. Even the musical score by Keith Emerson and The Goblins stays fairly sombre, but poignantly effective nonetheless. What really lets this one down is the messy and inconsistent writing. Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini and Michele Soavi contributed to the material. Too much of it seems rushed and undeveloped, where the base of it was an inventive reworking that well thought-out, but there's too many loose ends. The script is pretty simple-minded, even with its religious structure, but it's not as compelling as it should be. At least your eyes have something to glaze over as Sovai's slow-grinding and densely detailed approach infuses some visually poetic images with a slowly surreal and claustrophobic feel making its way in. He makes great use of the shadows and lighting within well-etched infrastructure of the ominously sedate, but remarkably succulent looking cathedral. The demon make-up effects are well-exercised and look disturbingly menacing. Performances are hard to judge, because characters do seem to come and go. Tom Arana, Hugh Quarshie and Barbara Cupisti are solid. Also there's a fine turn by Feodor Chaliapin Jr. as the tormented Bishop and a young Asia Argento really does impress with her talented performance.

Accomplished direction, professionally catered production and a polished look help out on the problems facing its flat, confused material. Worth-a-look.


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