FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jan 17, 2011

Film Club: The Church

Has anything good ever come from the wholesale slaughter of witches, pagans, or villagers possessed by demons? No! Has anything good ever come from the constructions of buildings and/or neighborhoods over burial grounds? No! Has anything good ever come from tampering with protective seals created to keep evil at bay? No, no, a thousand times no! The dummies in The Church (1989) don't know any of this, however, so by the time it's all said and done, they've brought plenty of demon-flavored tomfoolery (and death) down on their own heads.

In a nutshell: the Teutonic Knights laid waste to a village thought to be full of evil demons and demonic evil. After some holy rituals, the evil is entombed in the ground and a church built over the spot. A bored librarian deciphers a parchment that ain't meant to be deciphered and the next thing you know, all Hell sort of breaks loose. An odd assortment of teenagers, school children, old people, and fashion models are trapped within the church (gotta love Italian horror movies!) as visions of sugarplums Teutonic Knights, demons, and demonic fish-creatures dance in their heads. It makes a marginal amount of sense, but I was expecting it to make none whatsoever, so that's a plus!

As The Church is also known as Demons 3, I was expecting some crazy gore on par with Lamberto Bava's Demons- both are (co)written and produced by Dario Argento, after all- but director Michele Soavi keeps things rather restrained and tasteful. Yes, I say this about a film that features a woman clanging the church bell with her husband's decapitated head and a full-on horned/winged goat demon - naked lady sex scene!

It's obvious that Soavi was trying to aim a little higher than the average horror film, at least in terms of visuals. The Church is frequently pretty to look at and interestingly choreographed, the bodies rising from the pit en masse scene stands out in particular.

There's a chance, though, that the film is a bit too restrained at times. Certain passages are a bit plodding and could've used a bit of that foamy green demon drool used so liberally by Bava. On the other hand, The Church expands the Demons mythology nicely and explains just enough to satisfy.

A young Asia Argento appears throughout, though I'm not quite sure what function the character, Lotte, really serves. She was also present during the Teutonic raid, but this notion isn't really explored until the movie's final act and even then, it's only touched upon. Does she have some special significance? Is she a reincarnation? She plays a role in the finale, but her "I'm all OG with this church!" shit doesn't really have any bearing on events. Oh well. Who cares? It's Asia Argento! I was rather distracted the entire time because once I noticed her striking resemblance to Kimmie Gibler, I couldn't get it out of my head.

Of course, she no longer looks like Kimmie Gibler. I suppose you could say that she's grown up quite nicely. I suppose you could also say that I wonder why Asia Argento and I are not married, or at least having a dalliance. I'm sorry if you're reading this and that embarrasses you mom, but the fact is, the whole entire world wants to have sex with Asia Argento. Back me up, people!

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, The Church. I liked it!

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Sarah said...

I did a FGFC post on The Church too.

Stacie Ponder said...

Added. Sorry if I missed your email.

David Robson, Proprietor, House of Sparrows said...

It grieves me to not have taken part in this, with my copy of the movie MIA and my recollections too limited to add anything but a solitary "Yeah, I kinda liked it too." Though I did.

That said, though, you can tell your mom that I'd like to have sex with Asia Argento, as well.

spazmo said...

Definitely got your back on the Asia Argento thing. Throw her co-star Giovanni Radice into the mix and we're cookin' with pasta.

B.STANK said...

I just saw this last week and was really let down. It might be because I'm a huge fan of Soavi's CEMETARY MAN and Argento ( in general) and my expectations were too high. Maybe a 2nd view will change that. As far as sex with about a threesome with her AND Kimmie?!

A.J. Axline said...

"...but the fact is, the whole entire world wants to have sex with Asia Argento. Back me up, people!"

Yes. Dear god, yes.

Stacie Ponder said...

"how about a threesome with her AND Kimmie?!"

*GASP* Kimmie Gibler has no genitalia! And that is the last time I hope to write "Kimmie Gibler" and "genitalia" in the same sentence, except where I did it right there.

I did like this movie...I just kinda wish it'd been cranked up to 11 in parts.

Lazarus Lupin said...

Thank you again, for letting me muck around in your film club. Love your choice..

Um as far as the sex with asia thing... I'd more into sex with ASIANS...

Lazarus Lupin
art and review

CashBailey said...

Asia is teh hawtness, all right. But she's a bit of a head-case if you've seen that documentary NICE TO MEET YOU, -PLEASE DONT LOVE ME.

But I don't think that's surprising anyone to say that.

Jason Adams said...

Stacie, by your logic your mother also wants to have sex with Asia Argento, and therefore she's got no right getting embarrassed! Ya got no right, Mrs. Ponder!

Sorry. I didn't mean to sass yo momma. Kimmie Gibbler made me do it, I swear!

In summation, maybe I will watch this movie tonight. I thought I;'d already seen it but none of this is familiar in the slightest. Not that there aren't at least eighteen hundred Italian horror movies that I've watched and have no recollection of in the slightest now. They tend to blur.

Stacie Ponder said...

"Stacie, by your logic..." I WAS IGNORING THAT PART OF MY LOGIC!

Cash, I'd never heard of it. Seeking it out now...I love behind the scenes filmmaking docs, and one featuring her should be very interesting. Yes, she's more than a bit terrifying.

StuartOhQueue said...

I feel (as a no-name film blogger) I am qualified to speak on behalf of the World and, yes, we all want to have sex with Asia Argento!

goblin said...

I probably would not survive having sex with Asia Argento, but I still think it'd be totally worth it.

I've never seen or even heard of 'The Church' before, but now I'm burning to watch it. That goat-demon-thing looks pretty cool.

Also: Are there actually any Italian horror films that do make sense? I don't think I know just one.

Stacie Ponder said...

"Are there actually any Italian horror films that do make sense?"

Not that I know of! :D This one actually makes a bit more sense than most, though.

Miskatonic said...

AA is a complete nutter, but from the perspective of the Italian Horror Film Community, she's saner than most.

AA is very attractive, yes. The problem with having sex with her is that I don't think I could get the image of her father directing the whole affair out of my head. Though, I feel like he would approve.

By the way, It's difficult to gauge people's knowledge of obscure, bossy child stars on the internet. I gotta know, did you pull the name Kimmie Gibler off of Wikipedia, or was it straight from your head?

Stacie Ponder said...

"did you pull the name Kimmie Gibler off of Wikipedia, or was it straight from your head?"

It was straight from my HEART! Or head. It's weird- I have a mind for that kind of stuff, but then I can't remember what day it is or to email back so-and-so about whatever. Oh well, at least I clearly remember the very important things, like Ms Gibler!

Anonymous said...

+1 on the Asia Argento, please... (BTW, I remember The Church being pretty good, lo, those many years ago when I watched it. but I agree, overall not batshit crazy as I hoped it would be... Thanks for the goat-headed demon pic, too... purty creepy...)

Anonymous said...

AA for a daughter-in-law? Awesome...then I can stare at her over the dinner table.

Stacie Ponder said...


HH said...

Your Mom Rocks!!!!

amanda said...

Stacie's Mom, you are the coolest.

Erich Kuersten said...

Asia Argento is sooo the man! I'd want to marry her, sideways... even if she was the character in Trauma and sexually frigid due to anorexia. Why do I find frigid so hot. Asia was the reason Acidemic came into existence, as she promised us an interview, then bailed and disappeared after the dismal reception of Heart is Deceitful at Cannes. But I forgive her, as we all do!! She could back over your monkey and you'd still love her, that's just Asia

Stacie Ponder said...

I still haven't seen Heart is Deceitful...(I KNOW I'm lame), so maybe it's terrible. But one can't help but notice (or, at least, I can't) that when women- especially women who are already known in other capacities- make a very "personal" film as, say, their first directorial effort and it's not very good, they are fucking raked over the coals. Usually so much so that that's IT- they don't make another film, or it takes years for their follow-up or whatever (Jennifer Lynch, anyone?). It's as if they've got one chance and one chance only, rather than being allowed to grow, learn, and come into their own. There are exceptions on both sides of the gender lines, but it just seems to me that women who could grow into "auteurs", perhaps, are often scrutinized right out of the game.

The point is, I'd like to see her direct more as at least she has a fucking point of view. The other point is, I should see The Heart is Deceitful...

Oh, and the third point is that I'd LOVE to read an interview with her from you, Erich!

Thomas Duke said...

I've made more than a few Kimmie Gibler references in my life, so don't feel bad. Personally, while we're on the subject, a Gibler/Asia sandwich would be AWESOME. You can have your Olsen twins, thank you.

Thomas Duke said...

Reading the comments, I see that someone else referenced a three-way with Kimmie and Asia. Boy what a sick world we live in. SICK! Still awesome though.

Hhhhh said...

Just read through this one at random and I'm glad I did. I've been wondering what that goat-demon thing was from for a while after seeing it in one of Huizenga's strange little videos.

Wet Look - "Shock"

dementia13 said...

Umm, not that particular version of Asia Argento, no. But modern edition, yes, of course, unless it meant winding up as a character in Scarlet Diva II.