La chiesa (1989)

Italy, 1988
97m (Italy – video), 97m 44s (UK – video), 103m (Italy – theatrical), 110m (USA – video)
35mm film, colour, 1.66:1
stereo, English, Italian

An Italian horror film directed by Michele Soavi.

Plot Summary

During medieval times, a cathedral is built on the site of a massacre, where hundreds of bodies of suspected Satanists were buried by blood thirsty . Centuries later, the church is being renovated and a librarian accidentally unleashes the that possessed the long-dead devil worshippers. The church becomes sealed and a group of people trapped inside are killed off one-by-one.


* = uncredited

Director: Michele Soavi
© [not given on screen]
Dario Argento presents an ADC Srl, Cecchi Gori Group, Tiger Cinematografica production in collaboration with Reteitalia
Producer: Dario Argento *
Script: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Michele Soavi; Lamberto Bava *, Dardano Sacchetti *
Story: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Director of Photography: Renato Tafuri
Editor: Franco Fraticelli
Original Music by: Keith Emerson and Goblin
Sound: Giulio Viggiani
Costume Designer: Maurizio Paiola
Key Make-up: Rosario Prestopini
Hair: Piero Cucchi, Assunta Emidi
Special Effects: Renato Agostini
Fantasy Creatures Designer and Created by: Sergio Stivaletti
Special Stage Effects: A. & G. Corridori
Art Director: Massimo Antonello Geleng
Locations: Budapest, Hungary *; Hamburg, Germany *

Tomas Arana (Evan)
Feodor Chaliapin (the Bishop)
Hugh Quarshie (Father Gus)
Barbara Cupisti (Lisa)
Antonella Vitale (‘princess' model bride)
Giovanni Lombardo Radice (sacristan)
Asia Argento (Lotte)
Roberto Caruso (Freddie)
Roberto Corbiletto (Hermann)
Alina De Simone (Lotte's mother)
Olivia Cupisti (Mira)
Gianfranco de Grassi (the accuser)
Claire Hardwick (Joanna)
Lar Jorgenson (Bruno)
John Karlsen (Heinrich)
Katherine Bell Marjorie (Heinrich's wife)
Riccardo Minervini (older schoolboy best friend)
Enrico Osterman (torturer)
Micaela Pignatelli (fashion shoot photographer)
Patrizia Punzo (Miss Brückner)
John Richardson (architect)
Matteo Rocchietta (younger of schoolboy best friends)
Michele Soavi [policeman] *

Alternative Titles

Cathedral of Demons – early title
The Church – UK/USA title
Demon Cathedral – early title
Demons 3 – early title
El engendro del diablo – Spanish title
In the Land of the Demons – early title
Return to the Land of the Demons – early title

See also
Dèmoni (1985)
Dèmoni 2 (1986)
Hexen bis aufs Blut gequelt (1970)
Inferno (1980)
The Kid (1921)
Koyaanisqatsi (1983)
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914)
The Omen (1976)
Phenomena (1985)
Poltergeist (1982)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Shining (1980)



  • Cinefantastique vol.20 no.1/2 (November ) pp.16-19 – illustrated article (by Alan Jones)
  • Cinefantastique vol.22 no.2 (October 1991) p.53 – review (by Judith Harris)
  • Fangoria no.212 (May 2002) p.55 – illustrated review (DVD Dungeon: Stagefright and The Church by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Film Score Monthly vol.10 no.5 (September/October 2005) pp.22-27 – illustrated article (Meet The Proglodytes: A Goblin Buyer's Guide by Mark Richard Hasan)
  • Foreign Sales, Italian Movie Trade vol.14 no.10/11 (October/November 1988) pp.3, 4; 61 – production notes; credits
  • Sight and Sound vol.3 no.12 (December 1993) p.58 – video review
  • Sight and Sound vol.4 no.5 (May 1994) p.70 – video review
  • Starburst no.129 (May 1989) p.21 – review
  • Starburst no.130 (June 1989) pp.20-21 – illustrated interview with Dario Argento


  • Art of Darkness pp.250; 291-292; 299 – illustrated review (by Chris Gallant); credits; video data
  • Aurum Encyclopedia of Film: Horror (2nd edition) p.444 – review, credits
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.403
  • Hoffman's Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.70 – review, credits
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.84
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.716-718 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980-1989 by Roberto Curti
  • Italian Horror 1979-1994 by Jim Harper pp.67-68 – illustrated credits, review
  • Mondo Argento pp.46; 68 – illustrated review (by Alan Jones); credits