Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Killer Nun
“You’re the worst kind of prostitute!”
Jarv’s Rating: 1 Chang
This is an interesting entry for the vault, being as it’s obviously tacky as Blackpool, but isn’t in all honesty that bad. It’s certainly not sexy, and I don’t even think it’s especially sacrilegious.
Nunsploitation, eh? I mean, I can see why this is obviously a good idea for the Italian filth merchants of the 1970’s, what with it combining fetishism with catholic guilt, but they’re usually pretty uninteresting borderline porn.
Killer Nun is apparently based on a true story. It may well be, sort of, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it was. However, what makes it interesting is that for this particular effort, they somehow managed to recruit Anita Ekberg to play Sister Gertrude. I know La Dolce Vita was a while before this film, and everyone needs to pay the mortgage, but really, this is some decline. She’s not alone in slumming it here- the cast features other alumnae from much better films (The Third Man), and the music was composed by Alessandroni who had previously worked on A Fistful of Dollars. Anyway, Ekberg is quite good in this (it isn’t the “powerhouse” performance I’ve read about, but it’s quite good nonetheless), but she’s just too old and unnattractive for the part, which involves several seductions of both men and women. To make matters worse, the version I’ve got is dubbed, and badly dubbed at that (Ekberg has only seen it once as a direct result of this).
Plotwise, this is, as I say, allegedly based on a true story of a Belgian Nun who suffered from Brain cancer, and as a result developed a morphine habit, which led to a murder habit. So therefore, and this may come as a shock, Killer Nun follows Sister Gertrude into morphine addiction and homicide. This does, however, seem to mostly be an excuse for some violence and for one of the other nuns to get naked at the drop of a hat.
She’s got quite a good body, sure enough, but she has what can only be described as a truly 70’s style minge. The fucking thing is enormous. I half expected Ekberg to break out a tranquilizer gun, sedate the bastard and put it on display in the zoo. It’s the Cagian Toupee of pubic hair.
This is a massively silly film. Some of the murders, especially the first one, are beyond ridiculous. Gertrude is off her tits on smack, and the scene fluctuates between her thrashing on the floor like she’s having a grand mal seizure, footage of her botched brain surgery, the murder, and a dream that can only be described as necrophilic. Yuck. The also decide, for narrative reasons, to hide the face of the killer (in the least subtle twist in cinema history it turns out it isn’t Gertrude but Marthur (the young one that sleeps naked with a large dog stapled to her nether regions) who appears to be nuts).
True enough, being as this is exploitation, there’s a frankly ludicrous amount of sex in it. A nurse fucks a geriatric in a wheelchair, Marthur fucks Ekberg and the doctor, and Ekberg herself gets shagged by a random stranger in a corridor. It’s pretty tame stuff by today’s standards- and Nun’s really aren’t my thing. The principal pleasure is in watching Ekberg slum it in material that is far, far beneath her.
However, having said all that, this is at the end of the day a bit of a shitty film. There’s a couple of shots in it that recall Argento at his peak, but a lot of it veers towards torture porn. In all honesty, this is one that would have passed me by were it not for the fact that it’s one of the notorious Video Nasties, and for some reason, I’m drawn to them like white trash to McDonald’s.
There’s also some interminably boring scenes- particularly the cripple’s forlorn attempt to climb the stairs (this goes on far too long and is absolutely mind-numbing). Not to mention that it’s also as dumb as a rock. I predicted the twist shortly after the second killing (which also hid the face). Gertrude is a bit of a cunt, to be sure, and she does hate old people (there’s an unintentionally hilarious sequence where she stomps some false teeth as a punishment) but it’s almost as if they didn’t have the balls to go through with it and bottled out at the last minute.
Overall, would I recommend it? Not really no. It isn’t especially entertaining, is actually kind of tame, and a little bit dull. It’s not really worth the effort for most but if you’re drawn to video nasties, have a particularly sick fetish for nuns, want to expend a few giggles on Ekberg slumming it or have a thing for giant beavers, then you may want to check it out. It is, however, another film where the tagline is better than the movie:
Forgive me father, for I am a murderous whore
That is funny, and far better than anything in the film. I’d avoid it unless you happen to be in one of the groups I mentioned.
Until next time,