In this unholy sanctuary you haven’t got a prayer …

Directed by .

Written by Michele Soavi, Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Dardano Sacchetti, Lamberto Bava, Fabrizio Bava, Nick Alexander and M.R. James.

AKA

La chiesa (the church)

Demons 3

Cathedral of Demons

Demon Cathedral

In the Land of the Demons

Sanctuaire (sanctuary)

Dario Argento presents…

The Church is one of three films to go under the name Demons 3, the other two being La casa dell’orco (The house of the ogre) (1988) directed by Lamberto Bava and Black Demons (1991) directed by Umberto Lenzi. None of these three films is an official sequel of Demons (1985) directed by Lamberto Bava. Michele Soavi also directed La setta (the sect) (1991) a.k.a. Demons 4 and Cemetery Man (1994) a.k.a. Demons ’95.

The story begins in the middle ages. Teutonic Knights massacre an entire village believing the people to be carrying a contagion which the knights attribute to involvement with the devil. The bodies of the villagers are dumped in a mass grave and the order is given to build a church on the site to imprison the devil beneath. One villager tries to escape (Asia Argento) and is pursued by a knight before being killed.

In the present day, Evan (Tomas Arana), arrives at the cathedral as the new librarian. Curiosity leads to him breaking the seal placed over the mass grave and releasing the evil.

Evan and Hermann, the sacristan (Roberto Corbiletto) begin to act strangely and a group of visitors to the cathedral find themselves locked in when a mechanism built into the cathedral by the architect (John Richardson) for security is triggered.

Things get even stranger in the cathedral and Father Gus (Hugh Quarshie) learns from the bishop (Feodor Chaliapin Jr.) that the cathedral can be brought down in ruins if he finds a secret place.

Asia Argento who also plays Lotte, the sacristan’s daughter, in the present can somehow recall her former life and events in the past…

It is my opinion that The Church is a superior film even to the original Demons films to which it is inextricably linked. It’s visually stunning and boasts a soundtrack including Goblin and Keith Emerson that is nothing short of mesmerising in places. There is of course gore and great imagery aplenty; Michele Soavi is one of the great Italian horror directors in my opinion. The uncut version of this film runs at just short of 102 minutes so make sure you’re watching the whole film. It is one of my favourite horror films to revisit without a doubt.

Also stars Olivia Cupisti as Mira, Barbara Cupisti as Lisa, Giovanni Lombardo Radice as Reverend, Antonella Vitale as Bridal Model, Patrizia Punzo as Miss Br├╝ckner, Alina De Simone as Lottie’s Mother, Claire Hardwick as Joanna, Roberto Caruso as Freddie, Lars Jorgenson as Bruno, John Karlsen as Heinrich and Katherine Bell Marjorie as Heinrich’s Wife.

In my next review I thought I’d leave the alone for a while and look at ‘video nasty’ The Boogey Man (1980) directed by Ulli Lommel. Until then…

Other films directed by Michele Soavi:

StageFright: Aquarius (1987)

La setta (1991)

Cemetery Man (1994)

TheChurch