Fond memories remain of my time at a Catholic high school with the nuns in charge. They tried their hardest to get us to understand the more spiritual aspects of religion. But for the most part, the students were mainly attracted to the bizarre and grotesque elements of the faith. Divine afflictions were a great subject to bring up since it sounded like it was on topic. We were secretly killing time. Our favorite to ask about was the stigmata. This involved lots of blood gushing from the spots were Jesus was nailed to the cross. The wounds of Christ seemed to be the perfect set up for a horror movie. Stigmata put these wounds to great use when it arrived on the screen back in 1999.
Patricia Arquette plays Frankie Paige, a happening club kid in happening Pittsburgh. She has a fun after dark in the nightlife. Her thrills get paid by hairstyling at a swinging beauty parlor that also has a tattoo chair. She doesn’t have time for religion. Although her mom sends her a rosary from Brazil in hopes of having a little impact on Frankie. What mom doesn’t know is that the rosary was stolen from a priest. Father Andrew Kiernan (Gabriel Byrne) was investigating a bleeding statue of Virgin of Guadalupe at another priest’s funeral. Frankie hasn’t a clue and just takes a bath. However there’s strange mojo in the rosary beads. She gets attacked by an invisible force in the tub. She wakes up in the hospital with bleeding wounds from her wrists. The doctor thinks it’s a suicide, but she’s not depressed. Father Andrew arrives on the scene after a videotape of Frankie on a subway train gets out.
The priest isn’t sure what to make of the party girl. She develops bleeding on her forehead from the crown of thorns. She talks with a man’s voice and writes in Aramaic (the language of The Passion of the Christ). Father Andrew finds a brick wall when he tries to get her messages translated. Seems Cardinal Daniel Houseman (Brazil‘s Jonathan Pryce) wants to stop this possession and will go full Exorcist on Frankie. Is she possessed by a demon or a saint?
Stigmata has improved over the last decade and a half. It’s more exciting and visually cool to watch than The Da Vinci Code. The movie has a wild style with a silver-blue tinge to the frame. Arquette is a quite a charmer as she bleeds away on screen. This was her best role after True Romance. Only a shame that this didn’t come out back in high school so we could have peppered the nun with questions of “could this happen to me?”
The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer really lets the silver-blue in the frame glow. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0. Both mixes give the goodness from Billy Corgan and Elia Cmiral’s soundtrack work. The movie is subtitled.
Audio Commentary with Director Rupert Wainwright goes into how he gave the film a distinctive look. He’s go on to make the remake of The Fog
Deleted Scenes (12:54) gives a little extra, but nothing that should have been included in the final cut.
Theatrical Trailer (2:26) should be called “There Will Be Blood.”
Divine Rites (25:36) is a vintage making of featurette.
Incredible but True (44:05) is a documentary about stigmata from the History Channel. Good to get a little background for those who didn’t get to experience Catholic High School.
Natalie Imbruglia Music Video (4:16) for “Identify.” I think she’s trying to make a comeback.
Stigmata reminds us how messy things can get when you bleed all over the place even with Holy intentions.
Scream Factory presents Stigmata. Directed by: Rupert Wainwright. Screenplay by: Tom Lazarus & Rick Ramage. Starring: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce and Nia Long. Rated: R. Running Time: 102 minutes. Released: May 19, 2015.
Tags: Scream Factory, Stigmata