When I was a kid growing up on the south side of San Antonio, Texas, I attended a private Baptist school called Palm Heights. If you were ever a student at a religious school, you know students usually have to attend mass each day, in addition to some sort of religion class.
At my school, we had both. One of the most frequent topics of discussion was The Antichrist. Something that can be quite terrifying for a kid in elementary school. Often, my teacher would supplement his teaching (Meaning he didn’t want to teach that day) with these pseudo-scientific, mostly exploitative and absurd documentaries about the coming of the Antichrist.
In these documentaries they showed clips of “scientists” explaining when and how the Antichirst would come to earth. They discussed the ways in which the devil would pick a proper host, and how the Antichrist would wait so many years before he reveled himself to the world. The Antichrist would be charming and charismatic, but when he finally got the power and attention of the world he would reveal himself by breathing fire from his mouth.
Apparently these scientist discovered these dates by deconstructing the lyrics of popular music videos from the likes of NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, among other things like vague scriptures.
Needless to say I was always absorbed with fear after each of these docs would finish, but one thought I always had was, if these scientist are so smart why don’t they just find the host who was supposed to give birth to the Antichrist and stop the birth from happening.
If I was a priest or religious scientist, I would make it my life’s mission to stop the Devil before he could ever accomplish his evil Antichrist gambit. Well if your asking yourself, “What is the point of this fucked up story?”, well my childhood mission to save the world is exactly the plot to the awesome, Spanish film El Dia De La Bestia, The Day of The Beast for my non-Spanish speaking amigos. (The movie is available dubbed in English)
El Dia De La Bestia is a Black-Comedy-Horror film which was the winner of 6 Goya awards, which is the Spanish equivalent of the Academy Awards. This is incredible by itself, but is even more amazing when you think about the plot of the film.
I don’t want to ruin the film so I will give you the bare bones plot.
Father Ángel Berriartúa (Álex Angulo), a Catholic priest, discovers through a spiritual analyzation of the Bible, that the Antichrist will be born on Christmas day in Madrid, Spain. Determined to stop the birth from transpiring, Father Ángel decides that he must sell his soul to the devil so he can be at the birth of the Antichirst and stop if from transpiring.
The only problem is he doesn’t know how to contact the Devil, so he decides to go on a sinning spree. By sinning spree I mean, punching people in the street, stealing stuff, murder and even listening to Death Metal records.
At the Death Metal store, he meets a long-haired and tattooed employee named José María (Santiago Segura) who agrees to help him on his quest. They decide that need more help to summon the devil, so they kidnap Professor Cavan (De Armando De Razza), the Italian host of a bogus occult TV show called ‘’The Dark Zone’’.
The ritual to summon the devil rightfully requires some hard to get ingredients, like virgin’s blood, and even then there is no guarantee that Father Ángel will be able to convince the Devil to give up the Antichirst birth location, he is the Devil after all.
Will the trio be able to trick, the evil master of trickery, or will they be unable to stop the birth of the Antichirst.
To try to categorize what kind of film El Dia De La Bestia, is a bit of a challenge. On the surface you can say it is a Black-Comedy-Horror film, but the film is some much more than that. El Dia De La Bestia has a Monty Python-esque surreal quality, where no matter how absurd the film gets, none of the actors ever stop playing it straight, yet at the same the film has this anything-is -possible comic book feel. The performances from the three main actors and the direction from Álex de la Iglesia really bring this absurd story to twisted-life. However difficult it is to describe El Dia De La Bestia, it is an incredibly fun film that will keep audiences laughing as they spiral down the road to hell.
El Dia De La Bestia is a hilarious, Black-Comedy-Horror film that never wavers under the weight of its absurd premise, making it a incredibly fun and great Spanish cult classic.
“You can escape purgatory, but you can’t escape Hell.” - Priest in My Left Foot
This has been day 21 of 30 VHS In 30 DAYS. My journey to the center of VHS Hell. Special thanks to I Luv Video in Austin, The World’s Largest Video Store, for being my spiritual and literal guide through VHS purgatory.