Directed by Giulio Berruti
Music by Alessandro Alessandroni
Written by Giulio Berruti
Loosely Based on Actual Events
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Joe Dallesandro, Lou Castel, Paola Morra & Alida Valli
1978/87 mins/Color/Dolby Digital Mono
1.85:1/16:9/English/US/NTSC Region 0
Review from the Blue Underground DVD
From the secret files of the Vatican (or the ever appreciated people working at Blue Underground) comes the story of the Killer Nun! And what a story she has- steeped in murder, deceit, drug abuse, and (of course) sexual depravity- and best of all, based on true events that occurred in a Central European country, not that many years ago.
Killer Nun is in effect equal parts nunsploitation and giallo. On the one side viewers are treated to (mild) scenes of lesbian nun-nooky, de-clothed ladies of the cloth, and a habit wearin’ babe with a morphine habit. On the other side, viewers must bear witness to an unseen assailant murdering victims with a bedside lamp, handfuls of cotton (yes, I'm serious), and hypodermic needles. Now this Black Gloved Killer may have just found the love of his lurid life in the form of this film's pink-gloved killer! That's right folks, Killer Nun breaks the giallo mold by replacing the traditional black leather gloves with a pretty pair of pink latex ones, and oh what I'd let those hands do to me! Now, Killer Nun is neither the sleaziest nunsploitation flick out there, nor the slickest giallo, but it's blending of the two subgenres really makes this film stand out and elevates it to the level of a genuine must-see. Additionally, the mere tone of the film sets it apart. With a subject matter so risqué it would be a simple matter to play out the whole of the film for pure exploitive means, but Killer Nun actually rises above this trap to deliver some intelligently designed, thought provoking scenes. It also helps that the majority of the performances are delivered seriously, and spot on. No Eurohorror fan's DVD collection could be deemed complete without the inclusion of this title.
Our story opens with an unseen nun franticly confessing veiled feelings of murder and revenge to a rather distressed priest. Cut to Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg), nun, and nurse. Something seems the matter with Gertrude- she spaces out when the doctor asks her for a scalpel, she becomes murderously mesmerized while changing the drip bottle to a patient's i.v., and she becomes violently revolted by the sight of an old woman's dentures sitting in a glass of water during dinner – so much so that she throws the dentures to the ground and smashes them to bits with repeated stampings. It seems that Sister Gertrude suffered from a brain tumor which she had surgically removed. As part of her recovery she was administered morphine - to which she became hopelessly addicted. Now she insists that she has cancer, the tumor was not completely removed, or that it has come back, whatever it takes to get more morphine! She confesses her addiction to her fellow nun and roommate Sister Mathieu (played by the smoldering Paola Morra) who in turn confesses her love for Gertrude. Soon thereafter the poor old woman, whose dentures were defiled, dies of heart failure. Sister Gertrude grows ever more desperate for a fix, and ultimately decides to take a trip into town where she plans to sell a valuable ring that she claims to have planned to give to Sister Mathieu for cash to buy her precious morphine. While in town she kicks the habit, and dons a fashionable black dress in order to indulge in a smoke, a drink, and a man. The latter she acquired in a scene that may make you think of Brian De Palma's Dressed To Kill, with the woman and man chasing and evading one another through the street, but it's noteworthy that Killer Nun predates Dressed to Kill by a full two years. She returns to the convent with a fresh supply of morphine, and in one of the film's most inspired scenes she prays for absolution and then shoots up, seemingly simulating the sacrament of Communion. This is where the murder and mayhem really begin – not to mention a bit of geriatric, wheelchair sex that'll make you look forward to growing old! However, dear reader, I shall leave the further revelations to your astonished eyes.
The set of Killer Nun was the scene of some top-notch deceit. In order to secure the desirable and affordable shooting location of an actual convent, Killer Nun director Giulio Berruti, wrote a fake script, relying on his upbringing in Catholic schools to convincingly fool the resident priests and nuns. Considering the number of scenes in the film that involve nudity, sex, drug use, and violence, actually shooting the film in the place required further evasive tactics. As reported by the director himself in an interview presented on the disc, the crew would bring production to a halt whenever a priest or nun would wonder by and linger about trying to catch a glimpse of movie making magic, and pretend to be moving cables or adjusting lighting until the individual grew bored and moved on.
Blue Underground has come through for the fans yet again with this excellent release. The disc’s 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) transfer is nothing short of beautiful, with no distracting defects to report. It never ceases to amaze me how a company like Blue Underground can accomplish such beautiful transfers of obscure 30-year-old films while companies like Paramount can’t even deliver impressive transfers for films that made them millions (yes I’m talking about their piss-poor treatment of the Friday the 13th films, even upon a re-release in the form of a box set). Also the film has been presented entirely uncensored and uncut, for the first time in America (another lesson yet to be learned by the major studios – horror fans demand uncut films!), and so like a number of films in my DVD collection, a few short scenes have no English soundtrack available, but are presented with easily read yellow subs that stay down in the lower black bar most of the time. The Dolby Digital Mono sound track sounds clear, with distinct voices, and score. And believe me Alessandro Alessandroni’s score is one not to be missed. With the exception of one hokey song used in the aforementioned scene where Sister Gertrude lures in a man in the city, the soundtrack is nothing short of infectious. There are virtually no audio hums, hisses, snaps, or pops to prevent you from fully enjoying the experience of the Killer Nun. The disc is fleshed out with a worthy supply of extra's for a film that barely had a theatrical run, due to being pulled from most theatres after the Vatican threw a fit over the “From the Secret Files of the Vatican” tagline. Presented for your approval are a featurette-style interview with the director clocking in at about 14 minutes, original theatrical trailer, and a series of poster and still galleries. Killer Nun comes packaged in a clear plastic snap case with an insert that's fully printed on both sides. My only complaint here is that Blue Underground has forsaken the much coveted inlay card, typically featuring an alternate poster design, in favor of a self-promoting checklist of all their releases.
This Film Features:
Review by The Black Gloved Killer. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©
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