Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Beast's Movie Cave- Day Of The Beast

With the holiday season nigh upon us, I got to thinking of my favorite holiday films. I did like Elf with Will Farrell, and of course A Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out!"), but being who and what I am, my favorite Christmastime film is Day Of The Beast (1995), a Spanish film directed by Alex de la Iglesia. OK, it's only a holiday film tangentially, but bear with me, please.

Day Of The Beast is a black comedy/horror film . Father Angel Beriartua (Alex Angulo), a Basque Catholic priest, has been studying the texts of the Apocolypse. He has discovered, through deciphering codes and hidden meanings, that the Antichrist is to be born in Madrid on Christmas day. As he reveals this to a superior, the huge cross in the church falls and crushes said superior. Father Angel decides to go to Madrid to stop the Antichrist from destroying the world. He decides that to get close to ultimate evil, he must commit acts of evil himself, and enlist the help of those close to evil. He ends up going into a record shop specializing in Heavy metal and makes frinds with Jose Maria (Santiago Segura), the manager, a somewhat brain-fried Metalhead. They then go to TV occultist Professor Cavan (Armando De Razza) for more help in finding the Beast ( not me, the other Beast...anyway...). Will our intrepid trio stop ultimate evil from coming into our world, or will the world come to and end on Christmas day?

Day Of The Beast is one of those rare films, like Dead Alive ( see my October entry on this film) , that successfully combines humor and horror. Much of the humor comes from Father Angel, whose quaint country ways give him a unique view on what is "evil". Among the acts he commits to try to attract the attention of the Devil are stealing luggage and, my personal favorite, pushing a street mime off a stairway railing down the subway steps ( I don't consider mime violence evil, it's more of a public service).

The goof-ass Metalhead played by Segura is pretty funny as well...usually I don't like the stereotypical Metalhead -as-dumbass portryal, but this one is funny . Cavan is an interesting character as well, since he is basically a non-believing charlatan at first, who then discovers that there is a very real Supernatural world out there.

There are also some very scary moments of horror to be had as well in this film. The one that immediately comes to mind is when our trio holds a ceremony to summon the Devil. At first nothing happens, but then , from the other room, a black goat walks in, stands up on its hind legs, walks the rest of the way in, and snarls at Father Angel with a mouthful of fangs, and our good Padre looks as if he's about to poop his pants.

Day Of The Beast hardly made a sound in the rest of the world, but in its naitive Spain it was nominated for 14 Goya awards( the Spanish Oscar) and won 6 ( an appropriate number, I suppose). It's currently unavailable on DVD , but some online stores have copies available. I plan on securing a copy soon, as it's a film I've liked a lot since I saw it years ago. If you like your movies funny and scary, check out Day Of The Beast, if you can find it. I give it 5 clawmarks. Happy Holidays!


Heff said...

I gotta hand it to ya - You can come up with some films I've never heard of before.

P.s. My wife is being visited by "Krampus" this week. I'm in HELL !!!

Charles Gramlich said...

I've seen this one, possibly because of the heavy metal connection. A pretty good film.

I can see that Heff is not in the mood for horror films, though. He's living the horror.

Scott said...

Heff, I've always went out of my way to try and find weird, offbeat films, and I do love to share the wealth, as it were.
Oh, we call that 'The Cardinal' here at Hosue of the Beast, but 'Krampus' is pretty damn funny! And try living with two women who get cranky when 'Cardinal Krampus' visits....

Charles, I thought that you and Heff would be two who would have either seen this one or be interested in it. My freind, co-worker and fellow blogger Misanthropic Anthropoid (aka Derek )has also seen the's worth the hunt.

Virginia Lady said...

After reading about the films you've listed I wonder if you ever watch something cute, like say Charlie Brown's Christmas, or do you just find the truly gory version somewhere? :-)

I like these excerpts about movies I've never heard of or haven't had the opportunity to see, but it does sort of change the way one looks at the season.

Scott said...

VL, If there were a gory, violent version of Charlie Brown's Christmas, I would watch that in a heartbeat!

Actually, I do have a soft spot in my heart for all the Rankin-Bass Animagic specials-Rudolph, the Santa one with Heat Miser and Snow Miser, etc. I have fond memories of watching those shows when I was a wee beast. I was considering doing a blog about them, as well. I do enjoy letting people know about movies that they may have never heard of, and might possibly like. I realize my tastes aren't exactly mainstream, but what the Hell. I do like some 'normal'Hollywood films...a good 'popcorn' flick has its place, but you can read about any of those anywhere. I'd rather blog about the little known gems, bloodstained they may be.

Anonymous said...

i forgot all about the wicked carvings in the floor. and if a black goat did that shit, id pee myself.

Shauna Roberts said...

Sounds like a fun movie. I had never heard of it. I'll have to keep my eye out.

Scott said...

M.A.,I'd probably need some Depends if I ever saw that,too.


It is funny and scary. If you can find it, definately check it out.