A technical marvel, an unearthly combination of pulp and arthouse that is equally moving as it is entertaining, without ever becoming cheap or misplaced.
The good stuff
Witching and Bitching is a true visual orgasm, a film that looks amazing from the very first to the very last frame.
One of the endless remakes of Perfetti Sconosciuti (which I probably should've seen first). Not sure how they sold this film to so many countries in such a short time, but clearly something about this film clicked. It is a very good concept, and it is very easy to localize, which is why I ended up with de la Iglesia's version. I trust him to bring something extra to a film.
Seven friends come together to spend an evening reconnecting with each other. When the conversation moves to keeping secrets from each other, they decide to play a little game with their cellphones. They place them in the middle of the table and promise to read aloud every message they receive.
I can't comment on how this version compares to the others (and the original), but de la Iglesia has plenty of fun with the concept and doesn't mind putting on a few extra layers. The mix of dark comedy with minor fantasy and mystery elements makes for an intriguing little film, only the ending felt like a cop out. Good fun though.
What a fun way to start off a career. Mutant Action is a perfect illustration of de la Iglesia's skills. A blend of different genres that underlines the joy of cinema. It's not a very serious film and de la Iglesia's doesn't hold back, but people with a soft spot for genre films will find plenty to enjoy here. Others may get a bit overwhelmed.
In a world where everything is decided by looks and wealth, a group of disfigured men plans to fight for their rights. They get together and come up with the idea to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The plan doesn't go as intended, but some of them do manage to get out with the girl. The leader of the gang has his own priorities though.
The film is pretty campy, but it never looks cheap or lazy. The performances are spirited, the blend of comedy, horror and sci-fi works well and the different settings add a lot of variety. The film is not as polished as de la Iglesia's later films, and it's not quite over-the-top enough to be a timeless classic, but it is prime entertainment.
The film that kicked off Iglesias' career. I didn't find out about his work until much later, and so I never really took the time to explore his older films. Though The Day of the Beast was a decent enough watch and carries many of his marks, I don't think it really compares to his better work.
A priest is certain he cracked the code of the Apocalypse. The birth of the antichrist is near, and the priest vows to do everything in his power to invoke the devil. Together with a death metal fan and a TV priest he sets out to stop the birth of the antichrist and save the world from annihilation.
Iglesias' direction is promising, but the execution is a little frumpy. The comedy isn't quite as funny as it should've been, and the performances are mediocre. The visual effects aren't great either, but the characters are pretty weird and there are some memorable scenes. Not a bad film, it just pales compared to his later films.