Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Killer Nun (1979, Giulio Berruti)

Is there any finer subgenre in the field of the horror and exploitation film than that of 'Nunsploitation'?  (Well, yeah, maybe 'Giallo' but let's try and concentrate here)  From Ken Russell's seminal (ooh-err!) The Devils (1971) and Jess Franco's quite wonderful copycat / homage The Demons (1973), through Sergio Grieco's The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine (1974). Gianfranco Mingozzi's classic of the genre Flavia the Heretic (1974) to Franco's decrepit Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1977), there has always been something about nuns and sex that go hand in glove with the depraved mind of the cineaste of the unusual.

This particular little opus of the outrageous stars ex- La Dolce Vita sex kitten Anita Ekberg as the semi-crazed Sister Gertrude, driven to the edge by migraines and morphine addiction.  Hey, it could happen to us all.  Nuns are people, too.

This particular Twisted Sister, though, decides that to feed her constant need for poppy derivatives, she should start offing some of the elderly and infirm patients in her charge, in order to sell off their jewellery for drugs, booze and sex on her days off.  A nun with a bad habit indeed.  Ha.

Gertrude is also torn betwixt her fleshly cravings for new doctor about town Joe Dallesandro (of many a '70s Eurosleaze flick, especially Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein, to say nothing of his early Warholian work in stuff such as Trash), and her lesbian lust for co-habitee Sister Mathieu (Paola Morra).

So a regime of torturing and killing elderly residents, sex with random men, and - most terrifying, to me at least (it's the upbringing) - nuns singing follows until the inevitable climax (as it were) with it's accompanying (not hard to spot) twist.

Solidly, if slightly stolidly, made, with some effective murder scenes and hallucinatory sequences for Sister Gertrude's heroin-induced voyages to Trip-Out City.


  1. Nun puns are always welcome. But I spy male genitals! Where's your NSFW tag Mister? You could get some bored office worker in trouble you know ;P

  2. I've worked in an office. Frankly, reprimands are a welcome distraction. And my position on trigger warnings should be established by now.:)

  3. Ah but Trigger Warnings and NSFW are different. Trigger warnings are for things that might incite a traumatised response (like incest or rape) and NSFW ones are for images that might spark an aroused response. Sometimes the two things cross over IF YOU'RE SICK AND WRONG.

    That said, while I'm happy to slap a NSFW warning on anything containing naughtybits (because actually that increases traffic eheheheh), I can thing of only one comic I'd stick a trigger warning on (it deals with incest and I have a friend who suffered sexual abuse in his teen years and it was horrible seeing just how inncous things could make him relive that over 10+ years later) and thats me being hypocritical but what the hey.

  4. I AM sick and wrong. But you make a good point.