Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Horrors of October - The Church

The Church (1989)

The new librarian at a respected cathedral goes snooping around its corridors and dislodges a religious seal in the floor of the basement. This tampering causes unholy spirits to spring out and mysteriously sets off a mechanism that forces the building to go into lockdown. THE CHURCH is like most Italian horror films where you have to focus on the dark imagery and harsh brutality rather than the story in order to have some enjoyment. The first half of the film spends way too much time on the main characters, all of whom are barely developed and have plot lines that don't matter at all once the doors are locked and they and a bunch of other dead meat are trapped. The proceedings do pick up once everyone starts to mentally fall apart and suffer great tragedies but again, you don't care about anyone's fate especially since you'll be well aware of a secret backdoor and where to find the self-destruct button far before the dullards eventually take notice. While partaking with the main conflict, I was decrying the movie as being just a shameless knockoff of DEMONS, which director Michele Soavi starred in. Post-viewing, however, I found out that this movie was originally set to be the second sequel to the popular flick, hence why a lot of the same creators including producer Dario Argento are on staff. But if we really need to discuss shameless plagiarism, look no further than the sex scene that steals wholeheartedly from ROSEMARY'S BABY. Though the script sucks and his "homages" are blatant, Soavi does a fairly good job with the camera, such as the many great tracking shots through crowded environments. He's also great when it comes time to show off the vicious violence of the picture. Several characters really bite it in fantastic ways, with the highlight being a tie between a suicide by jackhammer or the surprise appearance of a subway train. THE CHURCH isn't going to win over a lot of people but it does fit as a barely serviceable late night watch.


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