Director: Álex de la Iglesia
Release date: 1995
Running time: 103 minutes
A Basque priest (Álex Angulo) finds by means of a cabalistic study of the Bible that the Antichrist is going to be born on Christmas Day in Madrid. Assisted by a death metal salesman from Carabanchel (Santiago Segura) and the host of a TV show on the occult (Armando de Razza), he will try to summon the Devil to find and kill the baby.
The Day of the Beast is a cult classic in Spain, and it was the film that launched the career of Álex de la Iglesia, a director who has been likened to Guillermo del Toro. Both directors specialize in dark movies with humorous undercurrents where the supernatural and the mundane mix seamlessly.
I was very eager to watch this film because of its premise and its acclaim. In theory, it had every element to appeal to me, but it left me a bit cold. The story is clunkily told and the pace doesn't always suit the general storyline. Considering this was only the second film Álex de la Iglesia directed, those flaws can be forgiven. There was also too much absurd gore and kitsch for my taste, though I realize that it was the intended aesthetics, but I would have liked it better if it didn't resemble a B movie so much. I'm not such a fan of B movies, after all.
My favorite aspect is the confusing ending, which makes you go back and realize that maybe the priest isn't such a reliable character after all. I don't want to give away too much, but the ends makes you question whether there were any paranormal shenanigans at all. The real horror has a very different source, and it ends up working better as a scathing social critique of Madrid in the 90s.
Verdict: entertaining, but I was expecting something different.
I am participating in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril X, and this counts for Peril on the Screen, as it is both horror and supernatural.