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The Church

3.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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(Feb 19, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In medieval Europe, crusading knights massacre a village full of suspected devil worshippers and build a large gothic church above the cursed remains. It is now present day, and this elaborate cathedral still stands. But when its sealed crypt is accidentally reopened, a group of people trapped inside the church become possessed by the fury of the damned. Can the blood of the innocent survive this unholy communion or will the ultimate demonic evil be unleashed upon the world?

The Church was co-written and produced by maestro Dario Argento (Suspiria) and sealed the reputation of director Michele Soavi (Stagefright, Cemetery Man) as the new master of Italian horror. Originally known as Demons 3, this visually stunning shocker co-stars Tomas Arana (Gladiator) and Asia Argento, features a remarkable score by Goblin and Keith Emerson, and is now presented uncut, uncensored and fully restored from original vault materials.


Special Features

  • Michele Soavi biography

Product Details

  • Actors: Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., Barbara Cupisti, Antonella Vitale
  • Directors: Michele Soavi
  • Writers: Michele Soavi, Dardano Sacchetti, Dario Argento, Fabrizio Bava, Franco Ferrini
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RYLA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,127 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Church" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a great atmospheric, gothic horror film with a bit of gore to spice things up. There's not much going on as far as plot is concerned. We have a prologue showing a group of Templars massacreing a supposedly Satannically obsessed pack of villagers, and then building a cathedral over top of the burial ground. Fast forward to the modern day, where a demonic curse is released by an overly curious librarian, leading to havoc and the trapping of a number of individuals within the cathedral. That's about the short and long of it. People are possessed by demons, demons run amuck, the cathedral is shot ominously, it's all rainy, characters do little but release demons/be possessed by demons/be killed by demons etc. The plot doesn't much matter, and Soavi doesn't let it get in the way of the good stuff.

This has got some really good production values, and the acting is generally quite good by the standards of this sort of fare.(I particularly the librarian, during the day after he was possessed, but before things really go crazy.) Virtually all the performances are acceptable, at the very least, with the exception of the whiny old man, who is very annoying. I'm not as impressed by the demon effects as some are. Personally, I think they are simultaneously quite impressive technically, and a bit hokey in design. However, they are given a minimum of screen time, and work pretty well when used in such a manner. The gore is generally very well executed, with the exception of the decapitation in the opening scene, which is a bit weak. The highlight is, obviously, the suicide by Jackhammer. A hideous concept executed beautifully.
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Format: DVD
I don't know why so many people chose to ignore this movie. While I love Fulci and Argento, many critics of Church consider mediocre efforts such as New York Ripper, Phenomena, and Demons to be "Italian Horror Classics". This movie makes those films look like boring puddles of puke.
Sure, there are things wrong with this movie, but I've made a list of reasons why this deserves to be a classic:
1. The church itself is amazing! While many "Catholic Metaphysics" horror films come off as un-researched and exaggerated, this movie seems truly authentic.
2. The style of this film, worked by director Michele Soavi, has the same level of atmospheric moodiness that made movies like "The Beyond" and "Suspiria" classics. Any time you can make the day seem creepy you've done something right.
3. ... horror movies ... because if they aren't plain cheesy, they lack anything distinct and memorable that you could recall ten minutes after watching. (example: New York Ripper)
This film is LOADED with all sorts of creative and twisted gags, I can't even remember all the things that stood out to me while I watched it.
4. It has a crazy score by Goblin (for those uninitiated, sorry)
5. The subject matter and subtle historical references are intriguing and mostly accurate. (I never knew anything about alchemy or Fulcanelli, but now i'm scouring the internet for it)
6. Most "we're trapped in the haunted house" movies reduce themselves to frantic pandemonium reminiscent of the end of "Project X". Soavi shows incredible restraint in using body counts, gore, or cheap predictable pops to maintain the action.
(Although there is gore, and creative gore at that, it doesn't become a crutch)
7. This movie has total party value.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The 80s blessed horror fans with numerous bonkers Italian movies with randomly fragmented stories—especially when considering Fulci’s (Conquest, Aenigma, Manhattan Baby) contributions. These films are seldom “good” but often enjoyed at the very least, if not celebrated. Today’s surreal film is such a movie…

We begin with a group of knights following some weird dude into a cave to meet an accused witch with a cross-shaped stigmata on her foot. Upon visual (and laughably momentary) confirmation of her damnation, they naturally kill her and everyone in her obviously Satanic village. Seems practical that a single purported witch results in citywide extermination, right? Among the montaged savagery we find scores of bloody corpses, some of them naked, piled in a mass grave. The site is blessed, they drop a giant cross on the pile of bodies and they build a church atop the macabre mass to “trap the demon” forever. This sets the tone for a brutal Italian gorefest—and there are several somewhat gory efforts—but that’s not exactly what we’re in for…this is more eerie than gory.

Skip to present day and we find our gigantic gothic cathedral led by an inordinately venerable (and weird) priest. Not sure if this is normal, but the church recently hired a new librarian, a young woman (Barbara Cupisti; Opera, Cemetery Man) to restore its art, and contractors jackhammering away in the catacombs below. Pretty active for a European church, isn’t it? Anyway, there seem to be some hidden cavities and caverns below the church and an old parchment scroll discovered in its walls begins to unravel mystery and subsequent mayhem.
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