Church, The / La chiesa (1989)

3.0 out of 5

There are so many familiar references in The Church that at times the film feels like a horror movies greatest hits with scenes recreated from The Shining, in this instance the typing of madness, Poltergeist, the crumbling face in the mirror and a demon copulation with a Satanic entourage in attendance straight out of Rosemary's Baby. In execution however the film feels like Indiana Jones meets Demons and Lucio Fulci's Gates of Hell trilogy as an ensemble get the full-on Pandora's Box treatment upon becoming locked in a church.

On top of all this the film has brief scenes that capture the feel of movies such as The Gate, The Crazies and even The Evil Dead. The Church indeed speaks the language of horror, albeit in a way that feels a little over familiar and generic.

Stylistically the film is not distinctly European in execution and, as with Demons and Cemetery Man, this is a horror that could have an appeal that transcends audiences more au fait with Eurocult and the quirks and distinct styles of horror and exploitation directors such as Rollin, Argento, Fulci or Jess Franco. This is far more mainstream.

Amongst familiar Eurocult names such as young Asia Argento, Barbara Cupisti and Giovanni Lombardo Radice the real surprise is the appearance of Holby City regular Hugh Quarshie. He's pretty good here too.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics