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The 31 Greatest Horror Movies For Your 2005 Drunken Halloween Bash
(That Probably Cost Less To Make Than You Paid to Rent Out A Few Kegs*)
Horror Movie # 25:  The Church

Halloween is a weird holiday. It's the only one where we celebrate spirits, reanimated corpses, and death (if you don't count Christmas). It's the one day out of the year where freaks can look normal and normal people go out of their way to look like freaks. And, best of all, it's a great excuse to pull out your stash of horror DVDs -- ranging from laughable low-budget garbage to quality low-budget classics -- and party like those dancing corpses in the Thriller video. Since many people consider a Halloween Party with the Scream trilogy and some Old Milwaukee a "smashing success," I figured I would put my unhealthy obsession with all things horror to good use and let the world in on the cinematic secrets to giving the best damn Halloween party ever! A new movie will be added daily, right through until the morning of October 31st! You can thank me later. Now, would be fine, too. Either way.

A leaked screenshot from Gatorade's
upcoming Christian advertising campaign.

The Church
AKA: Demons 3
AKA: Demon Cathedral
AKA: In the Land of the Demons
AKA: Cathedral of Demons

Review written by: Alex Sandell

The Story

A village of people with the plague are killed "hundreds of years ago" in medieval days for being witches and devils.  A church is built on top of their mass-grave, with a fail-safe mechanism that will cause the church to collapse if the evil demon energy trapped within tries to escape.  When all the non-demons inside the church are possessed, or something, a Priest has to find a way to get the Cathedral to crumble before its evil brings about the end of the world.  It really doesn't make much sense, and does anyone know why Asia Argento's character is immortal?

How Many Beers Should Be Consumed Before Watching?

Like Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, this one will be enjoyed by the few horror-addicts still milling around the TV, when everyone else has fallen asleep in their own vomit or is having sex in somebody else's.  All the beer should be consumed and everybody besides the most ardent horror supporters shall have left the TV room to pursue other pointless things to do that they can string together and call a "life." 

Gore Score

Choosing between a score of "Light Bruising," "Recently Deceased," "Badly Decomposed" and "Puke-Inducing," The Church gets a rating of "Badly Decomposed."  It's not nearly as raunchy as the 2 Demons films, on which this was initially meant to be a sequel, but there's a lot of blood and a few cringe-worthy moments.  One scene with a smashed face was enough to get a cheer from my sick and twisted guests at the last Halloween party I held. 

Would You Like Cheese With That?

Horror movies can be "Easy on the Cheese," "Regular Cheese," "Extra Cheesy" or "Instant Cheese Based Coronary."  The Church suffers from a really cheesy opening where medieval Christian Knights, looking like something out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, come off about as convincing as the guy who sold you a pickle at the last Renaissance Festival.  Other than that, the cheese is kept to a minimum.  I was going to go "Easy on the Cheese," but with the opening and a few (dozen) dorky lines, I'm bumping it up to a "Regular Cheese."   

Drug Use 

With "Let Off With a Warning," "Pay a Small Fine," "Put on Probation" and "Go Directly to Jail" to choose from, The Church gets "Let Off With a Warning."  There's no drug use in the film, but you'll wonder what someone was smoking when he typed up the screenplay (odder yet, it took more than one screenwriter to come up with this stuff).

Sex and the Psycho

Horror flicks and sex go together like romantic comedies and crap.  A terror movie can be rated "Nun," "Curious Schoolboy," "Chick After 8 Beers" or "Paris Hilton."  The Church is a "Chick After 8 Beers."  The film gets pretty loose with a winged demon copulating with a human female and smuts up the screen with a pile of muddy, writhing, naked bodies. 

When Should it Crash the Halloween Party?

When almost everybody else has left it.  This is a horror fan's horror film.  That means most people won't like it, even if they can appreciate the wonderful sets and the excellent shot of that girl with the perfect ass being embraced by the fakey looking demon thing's wings.  That rhymed.

Will You Hate Yourself in the Morning?

Waking up from a night of partying can be downright depressing.  Waking up with a cheap horror movie in your DVD player can feel like "Sex With a Hotty," "Sex With Someone in Your League," "Sex With Your Sister" or "Sex With a Sheep."  The Church is like having "Sex With Someone in Your League."  The film needed to tighten up its plot and pacing, a bit.  It runs long and gets slow in moments, but the wonderful lighting and beautiful cathedral it was filmed in make up for its shortcomings.  It's a shame Michele Soavi left the horror genre behind after Cemetery Man was released in 1994 (The Church came out 5 years earlier).  The director seemed to be just hitting his stride and then he gave it all up to helm obscure television shows.  You can see the man's talent on display in The Church.  It's around every corner and in every darkened room.  He really is a visual artist and his contributions to horror have been missed.  The Church is appreciated more as a work of art than it is as an enthralling story.  Even when the film gets slow, it's nearly impossible to turn away and risk missing the next beautifully framed shot.

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Fellow horror hound?  Have any comments on this film?  Recommendations for the list?  Email Alex!

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