El día de la bestia / The Day of the Beast (1995)

Click the banner for the full listDirector: Alex de la Iglesia .
Starring: Alex Angulo, Santiago Segura and Armando de Razza. Spain. 1h 43m.

I stumbled on this movie by total accident and I’m shocked that it’s been out for more than 2 years before I became fully aware of it’s awesomeness. Some plucky young soul used a gif from the movie in a twitter discussion and it looked so freaking amazing, I knew this film was made for me, and thus my search began. Luckily it only took a year or two to track it down. Now that I’ve finally watched this almost perfect movie I am only bitter that it has taken me this long to discover it.

Spanish filmmaker Alex de la Iglesia follow up to his outlandish sci fi debut, Accion Mutante (1993) is a unique horror with a fiendish streak of naughty black comedy, centring around a scholarly priest who has encoded a esoteric biblical code that announces an epic apocalypse and the coming with the birth of the antichrist! Convinced that the spawn of Satan will be born somewhere in Madrid on Christmas Day, Father Angel Curo (Angulo) embarks on a bizarre journey down the path of sin, committing as many acts against god and humanity in order to sell his soul to the Devil, so he can fight him on his turf, but his journey, along with a Heavy Metal aficicano and a leather clad TV Occultist Cavan (Razza) is pathed with ludicrous fun and deadly dangers. At first he begins by robbing someone who’s dying in the street, pushing people to their deaths, stealing and being a pest, protected by his priest robes, he shuffles around Madrid wreaking small little havoks but this isn’t enough to get the attention of the Devil he’s gotta think bigger..

After stumbling into a metal shop he befriends it’s pill popping owner Jose Maria (Segura), they find the most extreme satanic album available to mortal man believing that the album will give clues to the black mass which will give birth to the antichrist. This connection between music and the antichrist seems to be a movie favourite, Black Roses () and the Paganini Horror (1989) saw soft rock evoke demons and we all know what happens when you play certain songs backwards.

Iglesias style of filming is outstanding, a great combination of styles all this a edge of deranged acid fueled antics and some creepy grandioso undercurrents, he easily transitions between some crazy action scenes and some of the most bizarre situations, one minute the Father is looking for virgin blood, then he’s in a car chase or hanging from a giant neon sign, running from a shotgun wielding mother/landlady but he’s soberly taking in his stride and everything is dripping in black comedy and Marx brothers antics on hallucinogens and yet it all works.

A devilishly dark comedy

As the gonzo mission progresses, our beloved hero priest really starts to show his battle scars, and looking beaten and weary he has to contend with a crazy landlady with a shotgun who believes he’s trying to kill her daughter, than manages to break into the luxury apartment of a famous TV occultist, abducting his girlfriend eventually evoking a possessed black goat he finally begins to form his battle squad against Satan himself.

Alex de la Iglesia went that extra mile and researched the rituals and didn’t deviant at all, this sparked some Satanic groups to send him death threats for outing their sacred rituals, but it seems to be his “thing” to keep things as real as possible. The character are really the odd trio. Crooner, Armando de Razza plays the TV star Occultist who prefers the finer things in life, making his living from contact the dead and being generally spooky, turns out to actually know a thing or two while simultaneously admitting to scamming his audience, but he gets to look hot and it helps him pick up chicks, the crazy typical metal head whose played by Santiago Segura who prefers soft jazz but was able to totally transform into the missing member of Dethklok and Father Curo’s soft and gentle persona is executed with perfection by Alex Angulo and while he looks so innocent and frail, he does a LOT of legwork and really goes that extra mile to save everyone’s immortal soul.

With all the insane events of the night, and as the clock begins to reach midnight there’s a strange ambiguous turn of events to the narrative.FatherCuro is clutching at straws, when he previously knew exactly what to do that plan doesn’ seem to be working, and after his first rest of the night that connects his story, along with a strange series of cult acts that have cropped up throughout the movie, together and things become better and scarier for a huge showdown. It’s really admirable for a movie so driven to take a side step, finally addressing the drugs and the real cult that were hiding in plain sight all along and the cloven paranormal footsteps can finally be heard.

There are so many interesting ideas and scenes you’ll just want to watch again and again, the film manages to keep it’s humorous streak while still remaining true to its root of a horror/action movie. The attempts to engage the audience to the dark arts are compelling and the characters are totally unforgettable in this disturbing lowbrow movie that really deserves more attention.

TLDR –

Rating 9/10

RLobos de Arga (Game of Werewolves) / Attack of the Werewolves (2011), I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle (1990) Frankenstein Day of the Beast (2011)
L – A-Z of Spanish Cinema, 7 Favourite Spanish Horrors, Satanic Sinema,
A – A Brief History of Satanic Silver Screen

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