It’s very challenging to describe the work of filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia without using the word crazy. Witching & Bitching was probably the first film I had seen of his and it was one of the most fun experiences yet. Where else are you going to find a movie about bank robbers on the run who find themselves at the mercy of cannibalistic witches? He utilizes both practical and CGI special effects to give the sickest and funniest sequences seen in horror. His HBO Max series “30 Coins” has more of a darker tone, but provides some nightmarish monster designs in every episode. Severin Films has embraced his work, not just by providing must-have home video releases, but by taking it up an extra notch and giving the full UHD treatment. One of those releases is his cult favorite, THE DAY OF THE BEAST.
Angel (Álex Angulo) ventures downtown Madrid, where bodies are found burned alive as a means to “clean up” the city. Although a priest, Angel is hellbent on committing every sin possible. He meets a record store employee, Jose (the scene-stealing Santiago Segura) who introduces Angel to some heavy metal music. Of course, Angel insists on playing the records backward in hopes of a demonic message. It’s with Jose that his goal becomes clear: Angel believes he has cracked a code that will allow him to witness the birth of the Antichrist on Christmas Eve. If he performs all the devil’s will, then he can help stop the end of the world by embracing Satan. Jose becomes his unlikely sidekick and helps Angel try to gain access to Professor Cavan, a TV psychic who is clearly a fake for hire. Cavan has merchandise everywhere and becomes an unwilling pawn in a Satanic ritual gone wrong. THE DAY OF THE BEAST plays with the audience as it’s clear that Angel is out of his mind, but how wrong is he exactly about the existence of Satan?
Severin Films has provided a very noticeable upgrade in the picture and audio quality as THE DAY OF THE BEAST has a modern home theater quality to it. The grain remains intact but even that looks crisp especially as most of the movie takes place at night. The special effects have not aged well especially with the green screen sequences towards the end, but that’s to be expected. However, those effects kind of add to the cheekiness of the darkly comedic tone of the film.
A feature-length documentary has been put together that really unfolds everything you’d want to know about THE DAY OF THE BEAST. There’s some time spent on the political aspect of Spain, but anyone who has seen the movie is aware that it plays a large part in the themes. Álex de la Iglesia gives an informative sit-down about the production and making of the film. What makes him fascinating is he is still passionate about these projects. He comes off very serious in tone, but that sick sense of humor comes through. On top of that, interviews with the supporting cast and crew were filmed as well to help create an overall view of what it was like creating THE DAY OF THE BEAST.
Along with Perdita Durango, Severin Films has joined the UHD home video club with a slamdunk entrance. These two releases will garner fans’ attention and come highly recommended as well worth purchases, even as blind buys.
THE DAY OF THE BEAST Blu-ray is available for pre-order here, and will be available for shipping starting tomorrow, March 30th.