Stigmata (1999)

R   |    |  Horror

Stigmata (1999) Poster

When a young woman becomes afflicted by stigmata, a priest is sent to investigate her case, which may have severe ramifications for his faith and for the Catholic Church itself.

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  • Stigmata (1999)
  • Stigmata (1999)
  • Stigmata (1999)
  • Patricia Arquette and Rupert Wainwright in Stigmata (1999)
  • Stigmata (1999)
  • Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne in Stigmata (1999)

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29 June 2013 | BA_Harrison
| Catholic-bashing biblical horror.
Patricia Arquette plays Frankie Paige, a trendy, alternative young woman who lives on her own in a massive Pittsburgh loft apartment decorated with all manner of cool, designer furniture and ornaments. And she's a hairdresser in a beauty parlour/tattoo studio. If you can swallow that, then you should have no problem with the film's supernatural storyline, which sees Frankie displaying signs of the stigmata after becoming possessed by the spirit of a dead priest who is determined to reveal the secrets of a 5th gospel written by Jesus himself immediately before his crucifixion.

Stigmata is a reasonably entertaining piece of religious horror nonsense thanks to fine performances from its excellent lead cast, which also includes Gabriel Byrne as miracle debunking priest Father Andrew Kiernan, and Jonathan Pryce as a Vatican Cardinal trying to protect the Catholic church at all costs. What prevents the film from being a more successful affair is the distracting style of director Rupert Wainwright, who conducts proceedings as if he was making a music video for MTV. Yes, the visuals are aesthetically impressive, with stunning lighting and some flashy editing, but they don't suit the material and prove very distracting.

After much thrashing around by Arquette as she suffers the stigmata wounds amidst dripping water, flapping doves and shafts of blue light, and some weak Exorcist-style possession scenes, the film wraps things up nicely with the message that you don't need churches to worship God, for he is everywhere. Oh, and the notion that the Catholic church is a massively corrupt organisation heavily involved in all manner of conspiracies. Nothing new there then.

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Did You Know?


To anyone who's ever trained (or even fed) birds, it's obvious the doves flying into Frankie Paige's hands are eating from her palms.


Cardinal Daniel Houseman: I'll not let you destroy my church!


Right before Frankie receives her first wounds as she lies in the bathtub, a bird flies in the room. When the bird flies off a single feather drops into the tub. As Frankie picks up the feather with her right hand, the bloodless wounds are already visible on her inner and outer wrist.

Alternate Versions

The DVD release offers several scenes that were edited, reshot, or removed altogether after poor test screenings. Glimpses of several of these scenes can be seen in the movie's original theatrical trailer (also included on the DVD):

  • An alternate opening where Father Almeida commits suicide by jumping off of the roof of his church. In the final cut, there is no indication as to how he died.
  • A longer, much more explicit version of Frankie and her boyfriend Steve fooling around during the opening credits.
  • Before Frankie's first stimagtic attack, she experiences a series of strange occurances while closing her hair salon.
  • Also, before Frankie's first stigmatic attack, she comes home and is scared by her boyfriend Steve. The two have an argument.


Mary Mary (Stigmatic Mix)
Written by
Nigel Hunter, Bruce Duncan, Anne Holden, Louise Watts, Paul Greco,
Darren Hamer, Allen Whalley, and Judith Abbott
Performed by Chumbawamba
Courtesy of EMI Electrola GmbH and Universal Records
Universal Records under license from Universal Music Special Markets

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