Saturday, May 30

Some quick thoughts on The Day of the Beast (1995)

A.K.A. El día de la bestia

IMDB plot outline: A priest finds by means of a cabalistic study of the bible that the Antichrist is going to be born on Christmas day in Madrid. Helped by a heavy-metal fan and by the showman of a gimmicky psychic program, he will try to invoke the devil to find out the place of birth and kill the baby.

Been wanting to see this for quite some time, but appears to be rare on Spanish DVD and I'm unclear whether the U.S. VHS releases are uncut or subbed or what. I found a cheap VHS bootleg of the Spanish disc so I decided to settle on that for now. This is my first encounter with director Álex de la Iglesia and he has a great eye like Del Toro, but there's some rough patches.

First, either I didn't hear it or it was an unexplained detail, but how is the priest so certain Satan himself will tell him where the Antichrist will be born so that he can kill the child. Last time I checked, the child would be on Mr. Horn-Fire's side. While the film is great fun, being a horror comedy after all, it feels overlong at 103 minutes. There's an outstanding 90 minute film in here with some shaving especially in the final half. Also the climax seems marred as I couldn't quite understand the resolution...even after re-watching it. Almost as if the film is high on the well-done comedic elements that it flounders on whole point of the story.

Still, this is a must-see for fans of "new wave" Spanish horror. It has that oddly rich, rustic, and slick sensibility also found in the work of Del Toro and Balagueró. It's surprising an American DVD never surfaced.


Johnny 666 said...

I have this on an uncut UK VHS from about ten years ago. I saw it first late night on tv not too long after it came out, and have loved it ever since. the comedy is pretty damned dark, and it is pretty fucked up in parts.

I would agree that not everything adds up, but I think when a film is this mad, it doesn't bother me. Glad to see others digging it too, it seems to be a sorely overlooked gem.

wiec? said...

i think i saw this ages ago and i loved it.

the details are fuzzy but if a giant cross falls on a guy , the metal head is a little bit fat and a goat stands up at the end the this the movie then it's the one i'm thinking about.

i had forgotten the title, now i have another movie i have to hunt down and find. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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