The Church (Italian title: La chiesa), also known as Cathedral of Demons or Demon Cathedral, is a 1989 Italian horror film directed by Michele Soavi. It was produced by Dario Argento with Mario Cecchi Gori and Vittorio Cecchi Gori, and written by Argento, Soavi, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti, Lamberto and Fabrizio Bava. It stars Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Barbara Cupisti, Asia Argento, Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. and Giovanni Lombardo Radice.
In medieval Germany, the Teutonic Knights massacre a village of supposed "witches" and build the titular structure over their dead bodies. In the present day, the church's new librarian (Tomas Arana) breaks the seal of the crypt out of curiosity and releases the evil spirits contained beneath it. At the same time, the church's automated mechanisms, which were set up by the architect who built the church, are triggered, causing the doors to close and trapping everyone inside, including a group of visitors. Father Gus (Hugh Quarshie), the only person not affected by the demons, eventually finds the way to make the church collapse on itself but dies in the process of doing so. Before the movie ends, Lotte (Asia Argento), the sacristan's daughter and the sole survivor of the incident, is seen walking towards the ruins of the church. She finds the seal of the crypt, opens it and peers inside. Blue light emits from within, just like when the librarian first opened it, and she smiles.
- Hugh Quarshie as Father Gus
- Tomas Arana as Evan Altereus
- Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. as The Bishop
- Barbara Cupisti as Lisa Altereus
- Antonella Vitale as Bridal Model
- Giovanni Lombardo Radice as Reverend
- Asia Argento as Lotte
- Roberto Caruso as Freddie
- Roberto Corbiletto as Hermann, the Sacristan
- Alina De Simone as Lotte's Mother
- Olivia Cupisti as Mira
- Gianfranco De Grassi as The Accuser
- Claire Hardwick as Joanna
- Lars Jorgenson as Bruno
- John Karlsen as Heinrich
- Katherine Bell Marjorie as Heinrich's Wife
- Riccardo Minervini as Schoolboy
- Enrico Osterman as The Torturer
- Micaela Pignatelli as Fashion shoot photographer
- Patrizia Punzo as Miss Brückner
- John Richardson as Architect
- Matteo Rocchietta as Younger Schoolboy
- Michele Soavi as 1st Policeman at Lisa's House
The Church was originally conceived as the third film in the Dèmoni series; however, Michele Soavi insisted that the film stand alone and not connected with the first two entries. In an interview, Soavi derisively referred to those films as "Pizza Schlock", and expressed that he wanted The Church to be more sophisticated.
Soavi, in an interview with Cinefantastique, explained that he wished to move beyond with his creations following the film's release, and because of that he declined to keep working with Argento as a team. It is known in Japan as Demons 3.
The score was composed by the British-American duo Keith Emerson and Philip Glass. The soundtrack featured tracks from Goblin and Fabio Pignatelli.
The film premiered in Rome on 10 March 1989 and was released in the Italian cinemas on the same day.
Critical reception Edit
The Church was generally well received. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 70% based on nine reviews, certifying it "fresh". Allmovie called it a "gothic-drenched apocalyptic nightmare" that builds "a suffocating sense of quiet dread".