Nunsploitation Sunday: Killer Nun

One of the more well-known of the nunsploitation films is Giulio Berruti’s KILLER NUN, or SUOR OMICIDI, from 1978. LA DOLCE VITA’s Anita Ekberg plays Sister Gertrude, a nun who’s previously undergone a surgical procedure that has left her suffering intense headaches and attacks of paranoia. Because of this she has become addicted to morphine, which only adds fuel to the fire as she is prepared to do anything to obtain her relief, including killing patients for their drugs. KILLER NUN is a slow burner for the first fifty minutes or so, and even resembles the giallos of the time at parts. Things start to build slowly as Sister Gertrude heads into the city on a dope finding mission. She sells jewelry to a pawn shop and sits in a bar smoking cigarettes until she leaves, motioning for a man at the bar to follow. They head into an alleyway and the soft core nun humping begins!  Back at the hospital she seduces her nun room-mate, who’s been hot for her the whole time, and sabotages the hospitals head doctor’s job. Then a morphine induced flashback of her surgery turns into murder as a patient’s head is smashed in with a lamp. This sequence is very gialloesque and reminiscent of Argento. This is where the film really picks up pace and where we are introduced to Andy Warhol favorite Joe Dallesandro, as the doctor’s replacement, who is determined to uncover what’s really going on in the hospital, as he and the patients are becoming more and more aware of Sister Gertrude’s behavior.  This last half  is where the sleaze and blood pick up and it’s definitely worth the slow build up.  An agonizing scene where a crippled patient climbs up a flight of stairs only to make it to the top and have Sister Gertrude waiting is a slightly disappointing final kill,  and would have been better suited in the middle of the film. The twist ending, however, makes up for it even though if you’re paying attention you will have already seen it coming. All in all KILLER NUN isn’t the mother superior of nunsploitation flicks but it is a solid release and sleazy enough to make you say a rosary or two to repent.  Next Sunday we have a double feature of sacrilegious sleaze  as we tackle THE SINFUL NUNS OF ST. VALENTINE and THE SINS OF SISTER LUCIA. See you in Hell…

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