The Day of the Beast

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The Day of the Beast
Theatrical release poster by Oscar Mariné
SpanishEl día de la bestia
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia
Written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría
Álex de la Iglesia
Produced by Andrés Vicente Gómez
CinematographyFlavio Martínez Labiano
Edited by Teresa Font
Music byBattista Lena
  • Sogetel
  • Iberoamericana Films
  • M.G. S.R.L.
Release date
  • 20 October 1995 (1995-10-20)(Spain)
Running time
103 minutes
  • Spain
  • Italy
Budget300 million
Box office€4,367,321

The Day of the Beast (Spanish: El día de la bestia) is a 1995 Spanish-Italian [1] black comedy film [2] with horror elements co-written and directed by Álex de la Iglesia and starring Álex Angulo, Armando De Razza and Santiago Segura.


The plot concerns the unorthodox attempts of a Basque priest (Angulo) to avert the birth of the Antichrist in Madrid during Christmas Eve, teaming up with a metalhead (Segura) and an occult fraudster (De Razza). The film, marketed as "a satanic comedy", [3] was well received by critics and audiences in Spain, and sparked interest in the director's filmography and style of directing.

It earned numerous accolades, including the Goya Award for Best Director for Álex de la Iglesia.

Plot summary

Ángel, a Basque priest and professor of theology, confesses to another priest that he intends to commit as much evil as he can. The other priest is shocked until Ángel whispers his reasoning. When the other priest agrees to help him, a large cross falls and crushes him.

Ángel goes into downtown Madrid, committing various sins and crimes such as taking money from a homeless man, pushing a street performer over, and telling a dying man to go to Hell and stealing his wallet. He goes to a record store and meets José María, a self-described Satanist and heavy metal fan from the popular neighborhood of Carabanchel, who gives him a tape of the most "evil" band he can think of. José María puts Ángel up in his mother's boarding house where he lives with his mother, grandfather, and Mina, a woman he is attracted to that helps his mother with the business. Ángel then attempts to steal a book from a book store written by occult TV show host Professor Cavan, who he believes can tell him how to sell his soul to Satan. He tries to explain to the store manager his theory: a secret code in the Bible says that the Antichrist will be born at midnight on Christmas Eve, and he intends to sell his soul before the night is out to get into the birth ceremony and kill the Antichrist. The store manager does not believe him and he flees.

The neon Schweppes sign where Jose Maria hangs from is on the Edificio Carrion. Madrid (35020011746).jpg
The neon Schweppes sign where José María hangs from is on the Edificio Carrión.

Ángel and José María team up to kidnap and tie up Cavan, who they intimidate into telling them how to complete a ritual in which Ángel can sell his soul to the Devil. The ritual requires the blood of a virgin, so Ángel first tries to get it from Cavan's girlfriend Susana, but after knocking her out by mistake, Cavan admits that she is not a virgin. Ángel then goes back to the boarding house, drugs Mina, and draws some of her blood, but José María's mother sees him and tries to kill him with a shotgun. Ángel escapes with some of the blood, but accidentally kills José María's mother in the process. Ángel, José María, and Cavan are able to burn a piece of paper, take LSD, and complete the ritual, which Cavan believes — like most of his "occult" practices" — is made up. However, a he-goat appears in the room and stands on its hind legs in front of Ángel, then disappears. Ángel then finds a message in the burnt scraps of paper in which the devil taunts him, not fooled by Ángel's actions. Ángel, José María, and Cavan flee the apartment when the police arrive on suspicion of Cavan's kidnapping.

De la Iglesia stages a shooting in Calle Preciados, a commercial street in Madrid, specially crowded during Christmas. Calle Preciados, Madrid.jpg
De la Iglesia stages a shooting in Calle Preciados, a commercial street in Madrid, specially crowded during Christmas.

Ángel and José María frantically drive around town looking for a sign to point Ángel in the right direction. Ángel first tries to get the information on the birth of the Antichrist out of a man giving a speech about the predictions of Nostradamus, resulting in a chase in which three men dressed as the Three Wise Men are shot by police by mistake. He then tries to find the information at a heavy metal show, but is beaten up by the attendees. Cavan goes on television and asks Ángel to call him, telling him that he's realized Ángel was right and he knows where the birth of the Antichrist will be.

The Gate of Europe are the inclined buildings where the final fight happens. Puertadeeuropa.jpg
The Gate of Europe are the inclined buildings where the final fight happens.

Cavan points out that the devil uses his own markings, similar yet opposite to the Christian cross, in order to mock God, and points them toward a pair of buildings in the same shape of the devil's mark: the Gate of Europe. The three men engage in a fight with an extreme-right gang that has holed up there and has been seen throughout the film murdering homeless people and spray painting Limpia Madrid (transl.clean up Madrid) everywhere. Their leader is revealed as the devil when he throws José María off the building to his death. The gang beats Cavan badly, but Ángel gets hold of a gun and kills the gang, which was also killing a baby who is the Antichrist. He then shoots the devil as well.

Some time later, another actor takes over Cavan's show, and Ángel and Cavan become homeless drifters; while Cavan constantly complains that they will never be able to tell anyone how they saved the world, Ángel simply misses José María, but has accepted the events as the duo's fate.



A Spanish-Italian 80%–20% co-production, [1] the film was produced by Andrés Vicente Gómez' Iberoamericana Films Producción alongside Sogetel and M.G. S.R.L in collaboration with Sogepaq and Canal Plus España. [5] It had a 300 million budget. [6] A soundtrack for the film was released in Spain and Korea. It featured bands such as Ministry, HeadCrash, Pantera, Sugar Ray, and Def Con Dos. [7]


The film opened in Spanish theatres on 20 October 1995. [8] It grossed 4,367,321. [6]


In a retrospective review of the film for Popoptiq, reviewer Ricky D. wrote, "Delirious, demented and diabolically funny, The Day of the Beast is essential viewing." [9]

In a retrospective review for Daily Grindhouse, reviewer Johnny Donaldson wrote that The Day of the Beast "may not exactly be a traditional Christmas movie, even by the standards of the horror genre, but it’s a perfect one for those who want to thumb their noses at the “Christ” part of Christmas." [10]


1996 10th Goya Awards Best Film Sogetel, Iberoamericana Films, M.G. S.R.L.Nominated [11]
Best Director Álex de la IglesiaWon
Best Actor Álex AnguloNominated
Best Original Screenplay Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Álex de la IglesiaNominated
New Actor Santiago SeguraWon
Best Art Direction Arturo García "Biafra", José Luis ArrizabalagaWon
Best Cinematography Flavio Martínez LabianoNominated
Best Editing Teresa FontNominated
Best Production Supervision Carmen MartínezNominated
Best Original Score Battista LenaNominated
Best Sound Carlos Garrido, Gilles Ortion, José Antonio Bermúdez, Miguel Rejas, Ray GillonWon
Best Makeup and Hairstyles José Antonio Sánchez, José Quetglás, Mercedes GuillotWon
Best Special Effects Juan Tomicic, Manuel Horrillo, Reyes Abades Won
Best Costume Design Estíbaliz MarkiegiNominated

See also

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  3. Kercher, Dona (2015). Latin Hitchcock: How Almodóvar, Amenábar, De la Iglesia, Del Toro, and Campanella Became Notorious. Columbia University Press. p. 139. ISBN   978-0-231-17208-0.
  4. 1 2 3 "El Madrid de Álex de la Iglesia" (PDF) (in European Spanish). Ciudad de Madrid Film Office. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  5. Martínez Gómez, Eduardo (1 September 2021). "30 monedas de Álex De la Iglesia". mrc.
  6. 1 2 Buse, Triana Toribio & Willis 2007, p. 183.
  7. Day of the Beast Credits (liner notes). DRO. 9548 33907 2. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  8. Zorrilla, Mikel (16 October 2020). "'El día de la bestia': la comedia satánica de Álex de la Iglesia sigue siendo una auténtica gozada 25 años después de su estreno". Espinof.
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  11. "El día de la bestia". . Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España . Retrieved 23 April 2022.