Michele Soavi's The Church, the third in a line of Italian horror Blu-ray releases from Scorpion and Doppelganger Releasing (a deal that also produced Blu-rays of Soavi's The Sect and Dario Argento's Opera), is among his very best films. I'd have to watch all three in a row to make a final determination, but it's a toss-up between this, Stagefright and Cemetery Man for my favorite of his movies, and since the latter two tend to get most of the accolades, allow me to sing the praises of The Church for a minute.
The Sect) gets curious while exploring and breaks open the seal that's existed for hundreds of years, thereby releasing the evil spirits while a bunch of people -- including a wedding party -- are all trapped inside.
Of all the Soavi films I've seen, The Church has the slowest burn. Plenty of cool, gory stuff happens during the first two thirds, but they're mostly isolated incidents -- signs of the really bad shit still to come. But it's all a long buildup to a crazy climax, one for which I know not all horror fans will have the patience. His other movies like Cemetery Man and Stagefright do a better job of spreading their pleasures out. The Church rewards our patience. In doing so, it's able to build a ghoulish sense of dread throughout most of its running time, teasing us with messed up moments of gore and violence that are just awful enough to make us feel genuinely uneasy about what's to come. If all this bad shit is happening already, how nasty is it going to get once the demons are let loose on a church full of people? And will that woman ever get her wedding veil out of the door? It's touches like this that help The Church tap into a real nightmare state before cutting loose not with violence, necessarily, but with surrealism and goo.
Blu-ray release date: March 20, 2018
DTS HD 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English (SDH)
Blu-ray Bonus Features:
Michele Soavi Interview
Asia Argento Interview