As everyone who watches any cinema knows there are a few main genres,, but horror fans, well-aware that there’s likely over 30-subgenres, one of the more obscure fields ranks in the area of disturbing, it’s not a political correct territory; in fact in today’s social sensitive marketplace in might fall into commercial suicide more than the dreaded NC-17 rating. So what is this subgenre well simple it’s exploitation, a genre popular in the 70s, and few filmmakers try to revisit with some achieving mild success, within this arena torture-porn flicks found themselves placed here-in, however this field often has rape-revenge flicks such as I Spit On Your Grave (1978) or much more recently M.F.A. (2017) which leans more to thriller; but more importantly contains both Nunspolitation and Nazipolitation, of which the latter has had more movies hitting the market of late. Now before someone cries there are more found buried under here, true basically placing a word in front of ‘ploitation’ will work in this situation. Often these two subgenres are ideally acquired tastes, but for this review we shall focus on Nuns. These films normally contain a heavy sleaze factor, which is often done to the degree of having the historical fitting costume and set designs, all overseen by the prolific director and writer Jess Franco aka Clifford Brown (White Cannibal Queen ), who thoroughly enjoyed and perhaps loved the exploitation as it let his artistic freedom indulge in a varied of subjects including graphic violence and sexual fetishes. This film also served as an unofficial remake of Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971) and it was on the banned list for the UK markets for 33-years until 2006 by Salvation Films.
A further defining of how this subgenre works, which achieved its popularity in the 1970s, that often had Nuns living in convents with the bare necessities during the Middle ages, and part of the main crux of the story was criticism again the basis and/or hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. The plot included a form of sexual suppression in women becoming corrupted due to celibacy and the men often had free reign. Sime critics and fans have pointed to Darren Lynn Bousman’s St. Agatha (2018) as fitting into the category, though it does contain a few signals it doesn’t embrace it fully. For this movie, I own the original VHS Clam Shell packaging found at the Movies Unlimited in Cherry Hill store that was going out business, a place I purchased a slew of other films and original posters. It was a time I was learning about the other subgenres past merely the topic of low budget horror and slashers flicks.
The film opens with the Inquisition of an older woman in France tested for signs of witchery, which she fails them all, then with crowds shouting at her as she burned at the stake swearing revenge on all; an important sequence of as it sets up elements referenced later in the film. After the burning, the Grand Inquisitor Lord Justice Jeffries (Cihangir Gaffari) informed by Lady De Winter (Karin Field (Night of the Vampires )) of the warning and inquiry if she has any daughters begins, which of course she does. At the Blackmoor convent, one the daughters who is, Sister Kathleen (Anne Libert (A Virgin Among the Living Dead )) is caught in the act of self-pleasuring in her cell (aka room) and leading her to the possession of dark forces by Mother Rosalinda (Doris Thomas). Needless to say, the filming contains a lot of zooming in and out and focuses on certain body parts. Rosalinda returns to her nicely decorated quarters, it’s good to be in charged, as prayers for the wicked sensual to vacate her mind it’s her body that gives to the devilish wanton lusts and she too begins to indulge herself; too. Soon enough Lady Winter and Renfield (Alberto Dalbes (Maniac Mansion )) arrives with information concerning the once orphan daughters now nuns and possibility they are witches. There’s a combination of suggestive erotism among other fetishes occurring on screen, how Lady Winter find a deep sadistic pleasure in watching the torture of other women, done by other’s hands. A cycle of various images with lengthy torture, though extremely lame just a little blood showing its more of woman writhing in pain and anguish denying she’s a witch, but once more a series of failing tests, all at the hands of those devilish thoughts and actions. The second half of the film includes much more T&A and Sister Margaret, but I’ll allow those who crave these exploits to submit to the will of Devil and view it on their own.
Franco truly indulges himself with the story and marking his territory filming the expose flesh of the innocent and witches, in an unsettling voyeuristic manner. for example, cinematographer Raul Artigot (The Ghost Galleon ) used a wide array of angles such as over the headboard of a bed even when not necessary, but to infer that the Devil is always watching and influencing regardless of how crosses decorate a room and there’s a tendency a bit annoying, of zooming in and out though, Jess makes sure to swipe so-called moral decency to cover the fetish list of sins, allow your mind to visit the gutter and those dark alleys. As for the music incorporation, that’s bizarre, it doesn’t fit at all, and actually a common theme comedic joke of bad 70s jazzy porno score, however if you dismiss that the costume design is phenomenal, all done in an effort to fit the era. Overall the film does lag with almost repeated dialogue the biggest issue is the audio varies greatly, a few times it becomes ultra-low, almost sounding muddled.
Overall, this likely one the most unique versions of a nunsploitation movie, from the usual visuals, and the taking the extremes of sensual to sleazy approach, without become pornographic. The lurking of demonic forces wanting to corrupt the innocent and reveal the hypocrisy of others, for nearly two-hours (Director’s Cut) the restored version 103-minutes, yes editing definitely needed, one shall likely hit the fast-forward button. Simply it’s definitely not going to interest everyone, and perhaps just a select few, but in both cinema and horror it’s sometimes necessary to venture in all directions to discover what appeals and doesn’t to any viewer.
- Let the Exorcist Beware, the Demons are Here!
- Their Lips are Divine but the Kiss is Deadly.
- They are Sisters with Spirit… Divine and Deadly.
- Erotic horror… Torture… Witchcraft.
IMDb Rating: 5.2/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10