“The Day of the Beast” is a brilliant ‘end of the world’ horror with the perfect mix of terror and comedy to not take itself too seriously.
A priest decodes ancient texts that reveal the exact date of the end of the world and enlists a heavy metal record store clerk and an occult charlatan to help him stop it. Let’s dig into 1995’s “The Day of the Beast”, directed by Alex de la Iglesia!
As I See It
Finding a new film that you really dig is exciting, but nothing gets me more excited than when a film makes me want to ingest every piece of work that a director has done. Such was the case with Jim Van Bebber and Roadkill, and again I find myself fiending to devour more films from Alex de la Iglesia.
A story of the impending arrival of the Antichrist with a brilliant opening, there is no fat on the body here.
We waste little time diving into deep backgrounds. You understand, a priest (who now performs evil acts in an attempt to coax the devil out of hiding), a metalhead (who’s as lovable as a teddy bear), and a grifter who fancies himself a master of the occult. Archetypes, none of them boring, that don’t need a terrible amount of exposition. The chemistry between these three on-screen is undeniable as well.
With its slapstick undertone which serves to soften the brutal moments, there is a Peter Jackson vibe with a Guillermo del Toro luster.
The dialogue is great. The punk rock aspect of the sinning priest somehow never plays as mean-spirited. The scene when the priest talks to Cavan on the payphone while he’s projected in the store window on TV is one of the most genius ways to pull off a phone conversation in a film I’ve ever seen.
The Satan stuff could get dull really quick, especially if you’re disillusioned. The reason for that is it’s all based on the fear of believers, rather than rooted in real satanism. That’s probably why the production of this film was sued; none of it is based on the truth of satanism or their beliefs. When someone like Alex Motherfucker Jones spews conspiracies about evil Satanists, it’s all based on his own fears or the fear he’s trying to instill in his listeners so they buy some new ass cream he’s peddling.
Somehow, Iglesia was able to take all those stereotypes (playing a record backward, etc.) and not lend them enough credence to seem based on fact. It’s all for fun and fiction.
Santiago Segura (Jose Maria) had bit parts in many Guilermo del Toro films including Pacific Rim, Hellboy and Hellboy II, and Blade II. It makes sense as my tastes usually align with del Toro and Segura was one of my favorite parts of this film.
You will also recognize Alex Angulo from a del Toro film: Pan’s Labyrinth – where he plays Doctor Ferreiro.
Of Gratuitous Nature
No unnecessary movements.
Santiago Segura (Jose Maria) is the very clear breakout star of the film. He’s funny, endearing, and ridiculous. He’s able to break free from any stereotypes or bias you have against metalheads and be lovable.
I don’t know if he has any relation to my favorite comic in the world, Tom Segura (Tom’s mother is from Spain after all) but he does keep his jeans high and tight.
Ripe for a Remake
Remake? No. Sequel? For sure. Unfortunately, Alex Angulo (Father Cura) has since passed and it would be near impossible to replicate his tools. His performance is the driving force of the whole film. Other than that, no one should touch this film unless the director himself felt it appropriate.
Thanks to Father Cura and his posse, there is no hellspawn to speak of, though I wouldn’t mind a follow-up.