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El Dia de la Bestia

The Day of the Beast
Il Giorno della Bestia

Spain/Italy 1995
produced by
Claudio Gaeta, Andrés Vicente Gómez, Antonio Saura for Sogetel, Iberoamericana, Canal+
directed by Álex de la Iglesia
starring Álex Angulo, Armando De Razza, Santiago Segura, Terele Pávez, Nathalie Sesena, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Gianni Ippoliti, Jaime Blanch, David Pinilla, Antonio Dechent, Ignacio Carreno, Saturnino Carcía, Pololo, Higinio Barbero, Daniel Cicare, Javier Manrique, Aitor Fernández, David Gil, Curro Summers
written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Álex de la Iglesia, music by Battista Lena

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A priest, Padre Ángel (Álex Angulo), has managed to decipher the book of revelation & this way made a startling discovery: It announces the end of the world, Christmas Eve 1995, when the Antichrist is born in Madrid. So Padre Angel, who has spent most of his life in a monastery, decides to set out to Madrid, find the Devil to speak to him & ultimately kill his offspring. But how can a good-natured, honest priest, get in touch with the devil ?

Easy, he just has to commit incredible sins (even if the concept of incredible sins culminates in minor shoplifting & hearing Heavy Metal records backwards). Soon he has made a friend in tough looking but good natured record vendor José Maria (Santiago Segura), who somehow feels compassinate for the priest & decides to help him in his rather silly endeavor - even if Padre Angel would in the course of the events puch his mother (Terele Pávez) down some stairs to her death, & probably kill Mina (BNathalie Sesena), the girl he loves, too ...

Padre Angel soon realizes they need help from a professional - & thinks that professional is exorcist Cavan (Armando De Razza), who hosts a TV-show on supernatural phenomena.

But when Padre Angel & José Maria try to win Cavan over for their cause, he is less than willing to comply & more interested in shagging lovely Susanna (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), so he has to be tied down & his fancy appartment thrashed until he listens ... & helps them call Satan - & Satan does really appear, if only for a short time.

Who does appear as well though is the police, called by Susanna who believes the Padre & José Maria are kidnappers, & soon the 2 of them & Cavan are on the run, in the course of which Cavan falls of a building & breaks his leg ... & as soon as he's out of hospital he makes up plans to transmit the birth of the Antichrist live on his show ... but he doesn't know exactly where the Antichrist is to be born - & Madrid can be pretty big if you are looking for just one unborn little Antichrist ...

Padre Angel & José Maria meanwhile are on the run, looking for the Antichrist at occultists' lectures & heavy metal concerts alike, with only José AMria's sawed off shotgun to defend them, but with little success, & eventually, Padre Angel begins to doubt his mission ... which is when Cavan has finally managed to read a few signs out of old scriptures & compared them to a map of Madrid & especially a certain constructin site ...

But at the constructin site, they find out they are not alone, some thugs of the "Keep Madrid Clean"-movement - mainly a terror organisation that delights in burning bums - have chosen the site to burn a few more bums ... & it turns out they are led by The Devil himself.

Somehow, & at the cost of José Maria's life, our heroes can overcome the devil, kill most of his thugs, & - most important of all - the newborn Antichrist. The world is saved once more ...

But do Padre Angel & Cavan get their just rewards ? No, they end up as bums while the world doesn't even know what almost hit it.

 

At times this is a wickedly funny satanic comedy, especially when the Padre tries to convince others of his cause - with sometimes rather unorthodox means -, however, once our trio of heroes has finally gathered, about halfway through the movie, the film loses tension, the wicked comedy & clever satire gives way to a more streamlined quest for satan-narrative, with a predictable finale, that, while not particularly bad in any way, fails to impress quite as much. This does of course not make El Dia de la Bestia an essentially bad film ... it just could have been much better.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD