Follow TV Tropes

Following

Film / The Day of the Beast

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dayofthebeastposter.png
The Day of the Beast (or El Dia de la Bestia in the original Spanish) is a 1995 Spanish Action Horror-Comedy film directed by Alex de la Iglesia.
Advertisement:

Father Angel Berriartua has discovered that Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday. Indeed, according to a secret code he believes to have found in the Bible, The Antichrist will be born somewhere in Madrid on Christmas and will turn it into the "Day of the Beast", bringing the apocalypse upon the world. Angel teams up with the heavy metal fanatic Jose Maria and Professor Cavan, host of a TV show about the occult, in order to find the Antichrist and stop him before it's too late.


Advertisement:

The Day of the Beast contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Jose makes no secret that he lusts for Mina, a woman who helps his mother's business.
  • Accidental Murder: Angel kicks Rosario in the face to try stop her No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, but it results in her Cruel and Unusual Death.
    • Downplayed, but Cavan accidentally breaks a water cooler on the ground which will cause another freaky death.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: While a lot of what happens in this holiday movie is played for horror, it also packs a crazy romp with wild chases, reckless driving, shoot outs and beatings.
  • Anti-Hero: Angel decides to become this for the sake of finding the way to stop the Antichrist from arriving and unleashing Hell on Earth.
  • Agony of the Feet: As part of his "doing as much sin as possible" plan, Angel marks crosses on the soles of his feet via Cigarette Burns so that he's literally stomping on Christianity with every step he takes.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Cavan enters a recently ravaged convenience store to get a bottle of campagne from a fridge with a dead man smashed nearby, casually taking it and leaving the money to the bleeding corpse of the clerk.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Preacher: Deconstructed. Angel is trying to be this for his mission to save the world from the Antichrist, but he ends up being a troublesome and morally questionable Anti-Hero.
  • Bathroom Brawl: Downplayed, but two heavies at the Satannica concert finish off their brutal beating of Angel by dragging him to a dirty restroom and shatter a urinal by smashing his head against it.
  • Becoming the Mask: Professor Cavan is just an Italian actor who doesn't believe in the spiritual stuff his program is about, but as the film goes on and things get stranger, he begins to buy into the supernatural and embrace his Occult Detective persona.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: Zig-zagged. If you interpret that everything supernatural is in the protagonists' heads, then in the final fight the large horned shadow belongs to the homeless couple's goat rather than the Devil.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The leaning towers of "Puerta de Europa" (Gate of Europe), which turn out to be plot-relevant when Cavan realizes they're shaped like the mark of the Devil, meaning that's the Antichrist's birthplace.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Angel is more than willing to get his hands dirty if it means saving the world from the Devil.
  • Bound and Gagged: Cavan's girlfriend Susanna gets this treatment when Angel and Jose take her hostage.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Earlier Rosario is upset that Mina let Angel in at night, telling her that she must trust no one because a woman in the second floor got robbed by a guy with a syringe. In her ramblings she also fantasizes about how she wouldn't mind letting a creep in because it'd give her the excuse to use her shotgun to cripple the bastard. And later, Rosario catches Angel in the act of taking the blood of an unconscious Mina with a syringe and attacks full force with her shotgun and bare hands.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: During the opening titles, Angel walks through Madrid and passes by the Gate of Europe's inclined twin towers where he walks past a homeless couple with a pregnant woman and a black goat, and they all play an important role later.
  • Climbing Climax: Angel and Jose are chased up to the top of one of the towers by the Kill the Poor gang.
  • Comic Trio: Angel pushes the story with his mission to stop the imminent apocalypse, Jose follows his lead while Cavan is for the most part the Only Sane Man of the bunch.
  • Crapsack World: In this film Madrid is depicted like a Gotham City-esque Wretched Hive with rampant delinquency and Knight Templar thugs going around to "clean" the city by murdering the homeless.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The priest in the opening scene getting crushed by the huge cross.
    • All the poor homeless people set ablaze by the upper-middle class gang.
    • Rosario falling down the spiral of the staircase and being violently hit by the handrails of each floor before finally hanging dead.
    • A policeman getting horribly electrocuted when picking up his pen from a wet floor that was electrified by faulty backstage cables.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Jose laughs right in the Devil's face for successfully distracting him long enough to allow Angel's escape. The Devil lets him fall to his death in response.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Angel seems to shoot the Devil dead at the end of the climax, unless he only killed the goat that belonged to the homeless couple.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Devil drops Jose off the tower to his death.
  • Deal with the Devil: Angel forces Cavan to help him do this so that he can gain admittance to the Devil's coven and kill the Antichrist during the ceremony of his birth.
  • Downer Ending: Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane aside, it doesn't change the sad fact that Jose is dead, and Angel and Cavan have become homeless bums.
  • Ear Ache: Rosario misses her shot when Angel hides under a bed, but still manages to painfully lacerate his right ear.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Angel believes that he can prevent that from happening by finding the Antichrist and killing him.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Angel pushes a living statue mime down an underpass entrance.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Most of the film takes place on the day and night before Christmas.
  • Flipping the Bird: Cavan is tied up, but it doesn't stop him from flipping both birds at Jose when the latter keeps breaking his stuff.
  • Foreshadowing: Early on in an episode of Cavan's show he performs an exorcism on a possessed boy that has two marks attibuted to the Devil slashed on his chest. Marks that resemble the KIO Towers, which give Cavan the "Eureka!" Moment into realizing that's the temple of Satan where the birth of the Antichrist will take place.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Angel unpacks a copy of Cavan's book and tries to leave, the clerk tells him that he has to pay the book. Angel obliviously asks "What? Which book?" Cue to him being dragged away by mall cops.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Susanna says "Mi scusi" when Angel opens the door to her and Cavan yells at her to run because the priest "È pazzo!" Later an italian TV producer that works with Cavan has heated arguments with him speaking italian, since Cavan's true identity is that of Ennio Lombardi.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In the ending, Cavan complains about how people will never know that he and Angel have saved the world.
  • Gruesome Goat: The main characters see a large black goat appearing and then standing up on two legs to growl at Angel's face when he steps out of the protective pentagram during the ritual.
  • Heroic BSoD: After getting beaten up at the Satannica concert, Angel believes that he could be wrong about the apocalypse and is willing to turn himself to the police for all the chaos he caused, but Cavan reaches out to him and Jose to continue, having just figured out where the Antichrist will be born.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Jose follows Angel's Anti-Hero ways, but treats it more like a game.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The movie plays with a lot of tropes related to that, depicting it like a Religion of Evil in which the Antichrist is an opposite of Jesus in every way. Cavan's logic for believing the Gate of Europe towers to be an Eldritch Location is because most churches have a cross-shaped floor plan, thus Satan's church must have the shape of the mark of the Beast.
  • Hope Spot: The protagonists arrive at the KIO Towers and approach the sleeping homeless couple, hearing the wailing of their newborn... but then the upper-middle class vandals attack.
  • Hourglass Plot: For most of the film, Angel and Jose believe in a supernatural threat they want to stop while Cavan is the Only Sane Man. By the third act, however, the two start to change their minds but Cavan has become the one who firmly believes in the Antichrist and pushes them to continue.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Horribly averted. Regardless of them really being the Antichrist or not, a newborn baby gets gunned down.
  • Improvised Weapon: Angel knocks out the mall's head of security with a clothes iron he had on his desk.
  • Innocent Inaccurate: A small girl mistakes Jose for Papa Noel when he and Angel sneak into her apartment through a window.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: How Angel convinces Cavan to cooperate.
  • Kick the Dog: In order to be sinful and get closer to Satan, Angel engages into committing a series of these during the opening titles.
  • Kubrick Stare: A cardboard cutout that promotes Cavan's book at the mall has him holding a copy while posing with that expression.
  • Life Imitates Art: In-universe. Cavan looks at his own book and on a chapter with (fictional) Satanism lore he sees a Medieval illustration about two towers leaning towards each other, eerily similar to the Gate of Europe's.
  • Made of Iron: It's not impossible to survive the fall Cavan experienced, but his wounds and pain seem rather downplayed.
  • Man on Fire: Cavan almost dies this way, but Angel manages to rescue him.
  • Mama Bear: Rosario is very protective of Mina, loving her more than her own son Jose, and going ballistic when Angel knocks her out to take her blood.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Some surreal stuff happens after Angel forces Cavan to complete the ritual he needs to find the Antichrist, but it's worth pointing out that part of said ritual consists in eating sacramental bread dipped in a mix of virgin blood, holy water and LSD. Did the ritual really give them the power of seeing Satan, or are they just hallucinating?
  • Metalhead: Jose is proudly this, and he's also a self-proclaimed Satanist, in-line with the movie playing with Hollywood Satanism tropes.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Rosario goes Ax-Crazy on Angel believing that he murdered Mina after catching him drag her unconcious body.
  • Mood Whiplash: The film alternates between horror and comedy.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The Gruesome Goat bares its monstrous sharp teeth at Angel during the summoning.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Susanna, Cavan's Lady in Red girlfriend.
    • Mina, who Jose has the hots for and wears a generous scoop neck shirt in her last scene.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Jose's grandad is a very senile old man who has the habit of walking around the boarding house half naked.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: This English trailer states that the Antichrist will be born on Christmas of 2000 to be Exactly Exty Years from Jesus' birth, even though in the film itself Angel specifically explains to Cavan via Exposition Dump his complex thesis on how the Bible contains a secret E = MC Hammer code according to which the Day of the Beast will fall on December 25 of '95.
  • The Other Darrin: In-universe, another actor takes the role of Professor Cavan to continue his TV show when the "real" Cavan (whose real name is Ennio Lombardi) has become a disfigured homeless man.
  • Phony Psychic: Professor Cavan is an Occult Detective type who hosts a popular TV show about the supernatural and mysticism, but in reality he's just an actor who's banking on superstitious people that believe in the rubbish he sells. That doesn't stop Angel from forcefully recruiting him to have his knowledge being put on good use.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Jose takes a badly beaten Angel out of the concert by carrying him up in his arms like that.
  • The Precarious Ledge: The protagonists do this when trying to evade the police storming into Cavan's apartment. Due to him being still euphoric from the LSD, Jose accidentally makes Cavan lose his grip, but he survives the painful fall.
  • Properly Paranoid: Rosario might have some Evil Old Folks characteristics, but given the sheer state of Madrid, it's very likely that her bitter, judgemental outlook comes from experience. And it turns out that she was right for suspecting of Angel being a potential Bitch in Sheep's Clothing when she finds him collecting Mina's blood with a syringe after knocking her out.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Even if the protagonists have really managed to stop the Day of the Beast, they're still left in a miserable state as realistic result of their actions.
  • Race Against the Clock: According to Angel, they have time to find and kill the Antichrist until the dawn of December 25th, after that the Day of the Beast will be unavoidable.
  • Racist Grandma: During Rosario's rant at Mina for letting someone check in at night instead of watching out, she warns her that the streets are filled with dangerous people, such as whores, killers, addicts and... N-words.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning / Ominous Clouds: During the climax, thundering red clouds form above the towers due to the Devil showing up.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Jose's Heroic Sacrifice and the remaining thugs setting Cavan on fire finally make Angel snap and kill them all with a gun, including the Devil itself, apparently.
  • Riches to Rags: Cavan starts off as a wealthy TV star, and ends up homeless by the end of the film.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Joes faces off against the Devil at the top of one of the Gate of Europe towers, still under construction.
  • Self-Deprecation: Cavan signs a copy of his book for a policeman after openly telling him that it's crap.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: By the end of the film, Jose and many other people have died, Cavan has lost his career and is partially crazed out and both he and Angel are homeless, with the latter silently believing that the whole Antichrist menace might've been nonexistent and thus all the chaos and deaths he caused being All for Nothing.
  • Show Within a Show: El Mundo Magico del Profesor Cavan.
  • Sinister Minister: From the point of view of pretty much everyone else who isn't Jose, Angel ends up being this: he's a man of the church who commits random crimes, kidnaps and forces people to his cause against their will because he believes that the Biblical Apocalypse is near.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Angel knocks Mina out by drugging her cup of coffee when she isn't looking.
  • Staircase Tumble: Susanna gets knocked out after experiencing this type of fall while attempting to run from Angel. Rosario later subjects Angel himself to this towards the end of her brutal Extreme Mêlée Revenge.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: After the ritual is done, Cavan unties Susanna himself and tells her to just leave and not to worry. The woman wastes no time to call the police on Angel and Jose for the kidnapping.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Played for Laughs. The priest Angel talks to in the opening scene warns that they must watch their step even inside the church because the enemy is very powerful, it could kill them quickly and may have heard them... and a huge decorative cross promptly falls down squashing him like a bug.
  • Talk to the Fist: Jose's preferred method of ending confrontations.
    • Eventually Cavan gets tired of his naggy producer and shuts him up with a punch.
  • Title Drop: Angel refers to the Antichrist's apocalypse following his birth as the eponymous "Day of the Beast".
  • Tragic Keepsake: In the ending, Angel sadly toys with the rear-view mirror decoration shaped like boxing gloves that Jose hid the LSD into.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Downplayed. The original trailer shows Rosario's death, but considering how it also shows Cavan's much more dramatic and fatal looking fall and in the actual movie he survives it, one could pass her death as simply a display of the film's violent Amusing Injuries moments.
  • Twisted Christmas: According to Angel, the Antichrist will be born on the midnight before Christmas. Thus, this Black Comedy with holiday dressing treats us with things such as three men dressed like the Biblical Magi getting accidentally gunned down by the Cowboy Cop Madrid police during an action scene.
  • Two-Faced: Cavan gains this disfigurement after being set on fire by the Devil's gang, which puts a definitive end to his career.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: When Mina hands over the 25,000 pesetas Angel paid her, Rosario puts them into her bra.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Downplayed, Cavan requires only the blood of a virgin for the Ritual Magic Angel forces him to perform in order to discover where the Antichrist will be born.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Angel and Jose consider themselves this while committing morally dubious actions in the belief of saving the world from the Antichrist.
  • Wham Shot: When Cavan finishes to explain how Satan's church is shaped like the two leaning marks of the Devil, he makes Angel turn around and see that it's the Gate of Europe towers, now dramatically shot like Evil Towers of Ominousness.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Nothing is shown or said about the fates of Mina and Jose's grandad, with the former having essentially lost her employer and the latter being left with no relatives to look after him.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Angel tries to play it off as if Cavan is being stubborn and is forcing him to use violence when he starts to torture him into accepting to help him on his Mission from God.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The upper-middle class gang mercilessly gun down the homeless couple and their baby, who is believed to be the Antichrist.
  • The X of Y

Top