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The Church (1989) Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beersHaunted horse gallops, death by jackhammers, and a magic leathery bag that, once opened, strangles whoever is doing the opening? All of this inside a church where the sacred is believed to reign? Get the fuck right out of here and consider me warned. I’m not messing with you at all. But that’s exactly what happens in this spooky plunge into the blue-lighted bizarreness of the occult.  And The Church hasn't been toppled yet.

The Crusades and the Teutonic Knights who carried out the purging against the pagan Baltic, Finnic and West Slavic civilians weren’t very pleasant. With all that mindless killing, no innocent human being was having any fun. This was a time when Hell itself held the reigns and, in The Church, its filmmakers have fun flirting with the idea of releasing those murderous Teutonic Knights right back into the local community.    

While the powerful reverse tracking shot out of the cathedral’s innards might suggest otherwise, if the first 12 minutes of writer/director Michele Soavi’s The Church, produced by Dario Argento and starring Asia Argento, can’t convince you of that then it’s already failed. But it doesn’t fail. Ever. In fact, this bloody movie and its mission to thrill remains quite an unforgettable and cinematic journey into the bowls of Hell itself. There is an art at work here that keeps people flocking to The Church’s doors.

"this bloody movie and its mission to thrill remains quite an unforgettable and cinematic journey into the bowls of Hell itself."

“You won’t hurt me will you,” asks the girl at the very opening of the movie. Of course, these knights do exactly that. They may wear white but their mission is one of blood and death. There will be no survivors. This is a purging of all demons and witches and it begins with the crushing of this poor girl’s head. The girl locks eyes with the knight and he reaches out for her skull. Splat. Ouch.

What follows in The Church’s opening minutes is a slaughter of men and women that will make you gasp. Still to this day, the opening bloodbath and dumping of bodies against the white of the knights performing the “cleansing” chills me. I mean, even a fucking duck gets thrown in the pit as someone screams “demons from hell” and lights a fire for the entire world to see.

Alongside Keith Emerson and Goblin’s score, The Church, that is the one at the verty center of this movie, has its beginnings here on the spot of all the body dumping. And, yes, this supposed holy place is built right over the final resting place of all these unfortunate souls, slaughtered and then burned due to fear itself and their legacy resides inside this gothic cathedral.

Fast forward to modern times, thanks to the discovery of a parchment in the walls where an excavation inside the church is happening, a researcher (Barbara Cupisti) and librarian (Tomas Arana) swap more than saliva when their curiosity releases an evil into the church that they can’t ever hope to contain or understand. Sometimes, as is the case here, it is best to leave well enough alone when dealing with the past.

With the release of this brand new 2K scan of the original camera negatives (complete with hours of color corrections) from Scorpion Releasing, The Church has reopened its doors to the public. Enter its doors if you dare.



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Film Details

The Church (1989) Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 102 mins
Director: Michele Soavi
Writer: Nick Alexander
Cast: Hugh Quarshie, Tomas Arana, Feodor Chaliapin Jr.
Genre: Horror
Tagline: It will make you squirm.
Memorable Movie Quote:
"Don't make me wait for those onions Hermann."
Theatrical Distributor: South Gate Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date: August 22, 1990
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 20, 2018
Synopsis: An elaborate cathedral that was once the site of a medieval massacre by crusading knights becomes a deadly trap for a group of visitors and staff when a sealed crype is accidentally reopened. Directed by Michele Soavi and produced by maestro Dario Argento, this hallucinatory shocker now emerges for the darkness with a new HD transfer!



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The Church (1989) Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Scorpion Releasing
Available on Blu-ray - March 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles: None
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Scorpion Releasing presents The Church’s brand new 2K scan on 1080p with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and a NEW English stereo soundtrack. With over 45 hours of color corrections completed on the transfer, The Church is a true work of remastered art. Colors and shadows are deep, dynamic, and layered. There is a depth to some of the sequences that truly showcase Soavi’s strengths that are finally revealed thanks to the attention to detail in the brand new restoration. Black levels are detailed. Textures are refined and the surreal quality is made magnificent by the work done here.




Special Features:

Fans of The Church get two NEW interviews to fall for. The first is a great interview with and the second is with Asia Argento, who was 14 when she made the movie, and she talks about her experience on the set. Trailers round out the release.

Interview with Michele Soavi (20 min)

Interview with Asia Argento (9 min)




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The Church (1989) Blu-ray Review