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June 11, 2012

Movie Review: Killer Nun (1979, Blu-Ray, Blue Underground)

Directed by Giulio Berruti
Starring Anita Ekberg, Paola Morra and Alida Valli
Run Time: 85 minutes

This weird little piece of retro Italian cinema comes to us compliments of director Giulio Berruti, who also brought us films like Kiss Me Kill Me (1973) and Baby Yaga, Devil Witch (1973), and falls into the oh-so-delicious genre known as Nunsploitation, which had its peak in Europe during the 1970‘s when people seemed to have a great fascination with nuns doing very naughty things.

Anita Ekberg plays the lead role here, as Sister Gertrude, a nun and head nurse in a convalescent hospital where patients are beginning to come up dead and all evidence seems to point in Sister Gertrude’s direction. After recovering from a surgery to remove cancer, she has become addicted to morphine and suffers from black-outs, she also enjoys tormenting the patients and is having a lesbian affair with a fellow nun, Sister Mathieu, (Paola Morra). And if all this wasn't naughty enough, she also takes the time to steal a ring from a dead patient and then takes the ring to a pawn shop, uses the money to buy dope, then gets drunk and picks up a random guy at a bar to get her freak on.

Is wicked Sister Gertrude the Killer Nun? Or is someone else, even more evil walking the halls of the hospital with murder and mayhem on their mind? Ekberg actually does a pretty good job of acting in this one. While in her nun’s robes she really does project an evil presence on the screen, this is made even more apparent when she switches clothes to go on her little adventure, wearing a dress and make-up she is transformed into a pretty hot looking middle aged cougar. As enjoyable as her performance was though, she was actually upstaged by the presence of Paola Morra, who plays her subordinate nun lover.

We are treated to some great topless scenes by Morra and I ain't gonna lie, this girl is smokin' hot. My personal favorite scene involves a young female patient giving a blowjob to an 80 year old guy in a wheelchair, during which, the old guy tells her, “Now, get up and ride the pony!" Good stuff, unfortunately the Killer Nun is watching the whole time and makes him pay for his sinful ways. Although considered “nunsploitation”, at its core Killer Nun is in reality among the very first slasher-style flicks which were beginning to appear in the late 70‘s. From a historical standpoint, and considered in that context, Killer Nun is actually a pretty decent little film with some wacky story-lines going on when compared to others of its time. Although the kill scenes are very rudimentary, you can see where later films like Friday the 13th and Halloween may have gotten some of their inspiration from in that regard.

I liked it, it definitely had that cheesy 70‘s feel to it, and the whole “naughty nun” concept is one that I know a lot of guys (and gals) will have a fun time with. By today's standards its pretty tame, but in its time I’m sure it shocked its share of audiences. It manages to be goofy, weird and sexy all at the same time. One of its claims to fame being the fact that it was outright banned in England at the time. 70‘s fans, exploitation fans and all of us who secretly lust over nuns should find this one a good old-fashioned guilty pleasure. Fellow perverts... this Nun’s for you.

7.5 out of 10

*From The Secret Files of the Vatican- Interview with Co-Writer/Director Giulio Berruti
*Theatrical Trailer
*Poster and Still Gallery

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