For months now the demonic duo of Nom DePlume and Razor88 from The Church of Splatter-Day Saints and I have been trying to join forces for a joint review, only to have the idea put on the back-burner countless times for countless reasons. Finally the dark stars have aligned and we agreed to cover a film that none of us had seen before. We decided on David Paulsen and John Mason Kirby’s 1979 effort Savage Weekend, and who wouldn’t? It’s got Savage right in the title, right? And the poster is all kinds of badass, right? Unfortunately for all involved, this was yet another case of THE POSTER IS FUCKING LYING! Let’s do this shit, shall we?… Continue reading
Alucarda starts off with little baby Alucarda being born and immediately being handed over to a spooky disheveled creep to bring to the orphanage. Her mother is left to writhe on a bale of hay, make funny faces and listen to the spooky sounds coming from… well, nowhere really. Let the credits roll, and we find ourselves at said orphanage fifteen years later where young Justine is being dropped off to live after her parent’s deaths. The orphanage is run by a convent of nuns who wear a sort of bloody tampon meets marshmallow outfit. Here we briefly meet Dr. Oszek and his blind daughter, and Justine’s new room-mate, Alucarda.
Alucarda and Justine hit it off immediately and go running through the forest giggling and tickling each other as all young orphan girls should. A gypsy funeral passes and Alucarda shows her inner goth angst as she comments about how “everybody has to die, but there can be happiness beyond death.” More frolicking and giggle ensues until they come across a hunchbacked gypsy that looks like a retarded hobbit. He takes them to his camp where he tries to sell them charms and is generally creepy.
Running further into the forest they find a building that from the outside looks like a gorgeous church but the inside reveals that it’s the shit hole Alucarda was born in fifteen years earlier. Here Alucarda professes her love to Justine, the girls make a pact to “love each other to death” and crack open a coffin unleashing all kinds of Satanic hell. This is where the screaming starts. So… much… screaming…
Back at the orphanage Justine passes out during mass and the nuns agree to let Alucarda watch over her when she awakes. In their room Alucarda has a fit screaming out “Beelzebub” and spinning in a circle like a possessed screeching top. She tears a crucifix off of Justine’s neck, screams about Satan and who should appear out of nowhere? The creepy hunchback of course, who makes it storm and encourages yet more screaming from Alucarda. This is where it all gets good, as Alucarda, now naked, screams for Satan and the hunchback strips Justine down and kneels them both down to perform a blood pact with the girls. He slices their hands and breasts, making them taste each other’s blood. This scene only hints at the lesbian greatness that this film could have erupted into at this point. There’s some soft, and bloody, smooching and Alucarda licking blood off of Justine’s cut breast, but that’s about it. Oh, and yes, Justine is yelling. There really is more screaming, yelling and shouting at the devil than even 1983 era Motley Crue could handle.
Two great scenes follow, as we go back and forth between a gypsy Satanic ritual/orgy and Sister Angelica praying for the soul Justine. In fact she prays so hard sh sweats, and cries blood. These two scenarios are two of the most powerful in the film. At the ritual orgy a guy in a giant devil goat mask shows up and wanders through the throngs of humping Satanists, randomly touching and repositioning them! Meanwhile, back at the convent Sister Angelica has prayed and bled hard enough to be levitated off the ground. These are the scenes that make Alucarda really shine.
This is also the point that I realized My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult sampled Alucarda on the song “The Devil Does Drugs.” Sweet.
The girls interrupt a bible study by chanting about Satan and Dr Oszek is called in to figure out the situation. While Justine is being leached by the doctor, Alucarda is verbally abusing a priest during confession and grabbing at his package provoking a group flogging and the decision to perform an exorcism. But of course.
Alucarda is full of overacting and silly characters and that’s what makes it so much fun. But there are scenes that are just brilliant, the floating nun and the orgy scenes that I’ve already mentioned, are two of them. The exorcism scene is pure screaming ridiculousness and Justine does not live through it. Alucarda, who is screaming at the priest that they will all die soon, is punched out while tied to a giant wooden x in what is the laugh out loud moment of the film. This scene also boasts the line “they must come back to the bosom of the holy church”, which is the greatest line ever, and I’m not even sure why! The actual exorcism itself resembles acupuncture and is broken up by the doctor coming in to preach science over superstition. He also releases Alucarda and brings her home to take care of her. Apparently, the doctor’s decision-making skills are majorly lacking as he lets his blind daughter stay with her in her room. Alucarda takes an immediate liking to her and it looks like Justine has been replaced, and the body’s still warm!
The doc is called back to the convent as Justine’s body has disappeared and one of the sisters is found mysteriously burned to death. This last act is by far the bloodiest, with the dead nun coming back to life to be decapitated and Justine rising naked from a blood filled coffin to thrash at Sister Angelica and be burned by holy water while biting a hunk out of the sister’s neck. There is also the finale where Alucarda sets half the convent’s inhabitants on fire, Carrie White at the prom style.
Alucarda isn’t as sleazy as some of the Satan/possession films of its time, and the over acting and the massive, massive amount of screaming does get to be a bit much, but overall Alucarda is one of the best of its kind. It keeps you interested throughout, and who doesn’t love to watch a tampon/marshmallow clad nun burst into flames?
Satan’s Wife (Un’ombra Nell’ombra) is another slice of late seventies Eurosleaze, this time from Italy. This was the second of three films done by writer/director Pier Carpi, and it’s definitely a trip, that’s for sure. The film starts with a perfectly choreographed dance performed by four women dancing around a fountain looking like happy little ballerinas. That is until the music picks up and four creepy Italians pop out of the woodwork in red tights and join in the dance, turning it into a choreographed disco number. At this point I’m not sure if I should do a line and get down or be afraid (which I am… very afraid. Mostly of the hairy Italian men in tights…) Most of the group break away and we have a one on one dance/grope thing going on with one of the girls and her hairy man partner.
This is all the beginning of a ritual where Lucifer himself (played horribly by Ezio Miani) has his way with four women… oh, and it’s a dream. Carlotta (played by Anne Heywood, who nunsploitation fans will know from The Nun & The Devil) is haunted by the fact that she let Satan get in her pants when she was young and dumb. The result was her having the devil’s baby, and not being able to have sexual relations with any other man… ever… shitty news. Shittier for her is the fact that her daughter Daria is starting to realize who her real dad is and the powers she possesses from him.
Thirteen year old Daria (played by Lara Wendel, who also appeared in Tenebre and Killing Birds) is a spooky little brat indeed. She steals dolls, buries her fingernails in a flower-pot (“no one should ever have access to dead parts of our bodies!”), and she calls out her teacher while discussing Charlemagne. Carlotta doesn’t know what to do so she calls on her three friends from the Satan gang bang to help. But before they meet up we are introduced to Carlotta’s soon to be ex husband Peter, who Daria has a sincere dislike for, probably because she knows he’s not her real dad. We also meet the professor, a former lover of Carlotta’s, teaching chess in a cafe ranting and raving about the battle between white and black, dark and light, and quite honestly it all sounds totally racist at first, which it isn’t.
The middle of the film gets a bit sluggish, but not unbearable as Daria makes things interesting by harassing her teacher, her mother, and her classmate Martin, who she brings home to study and leaves a big old burned in hand print on his chest when he goes in for a smooch. Doesn’t this kid know that you don’t try to make a play on Satan’s daughter? Sheesh… Oh and she shows her stepdad who’s boss.
So how do you rid the evil from Lucifer’s daughter? An exorcism of course! They seek the aid of a young priest who is ready to leave the church because he is questioning his faith (like every priest that’s ever performed an exorcism in a horror film). The exorcism isn’t like the rituals performed in other possessed little girl movies that you may have seen. It’s performed by the priest with the help of the Satanists! What?! The whole thing doesn’t make too much sense as it’s happening and after the fact, Carlotta has to put on fucked up face paint that makes her look like a cross between Ziggy Stardust and something out of Liquid Sky, and perform a second part of the ritual that leads to her final showdown with Daria.
All in all Satan’s Wife is a nice slice of Italian Satan-schlock! Like I said, the film does slow down in the middle but it’s easily made up for with the great performance by Wendel as Daria, and the all around fun mood of the film. I would also like to note that the Italians are a fucked up people, as Lara Wendel was about thirteen years old when Satan’s Wife was filmed and she appears completely nude. Kinda creepy. No creepier than Argento putting his own daughter in films where she is raped I guess, which by the way, is super fucking creepy!
I picked up a copy of the Mondo Macabro release Satan’s Blood a couple years ago for five bucks at a used shop. I watched about fifteen minutes of it that night before work and it remained on the shelf ever since. So I recently busted it out, in the mood for some satanic sleaze from the seventies, and truth be told, I was mostly disappointed. Mostly. If you’re not familiar, Satan’s Blood is a Spanish flick from 1978 directed by Carlos Puerto.
The film opens with some black-robed Satanists walking a young woman into a room where she is fondled, slurped on and groped by some old dude with a beard who finally stabs her as we go into our opening credits. One of the best things about Satan’s Blood is the opening theme. It’s a real simple yet menacing little tune. Next we meet a young couple, Andy and Anna, and their German Sheppard Blackie, who decide to go out for an afternoon stroll and then a car ride through the city. It’s all pretty boring until they come to a stop light and realize they are being stared at by another couple in the car next to them. At the next light they’re waved over by the couple who mysteriously know Andy’s name. Hmmmmm…. suspicious.
After introducing themselves as Bruno and Mary and debating back and forth whether they actually know each other from school or not, they decide to follow Bruno and Mary to their house out in the middle of nowhere to have a drink and celebrate Anna being pregnant. Okay, rule one – when someone says they know you and you don’t remember them, don’t go to their fucking house for wine and cheese. Simple as that. And if you do, and there’s a creepy furry dude at the gate when you get there – turn the fuck around! Odds are they’re into the Satan.
Once inside, Bruno lights up the fireplace, Anna finds a book on black magic, and Mary locks the dog up in a closet… oh and eats what appears to be bloody meat out of a dog dish. Nothing strange here. Bruno even finds the school picture with the two of them in it. Andy just isn’t convinced though. Rule two – if the guy that swears he knows you, shows you a picture of you that isn’t you FUCKING RUN. Run out the goddamn door and don’t look back! So as the night goes on we learn that Mary can read minds, and that their host have the coolest piece of furniture in all of Spain – a table with a Ouija board for a top.
So they light up some cigarillos and get down with the summoning of spirits. After the spirit accuses Anna with continuing her past affair with Andy’s brother, the fireplace roars, and Anna passes out they decide to have a Satanic slumber party. They wanted to leave, but of course there’s a storm coming in and the roads won’t be driveable. Of course. So before they hit the sack, there’s some bathtub loving for Andy and Anna, some more questioning if Bruno really did know Andy from school, blah blah blah. Anna decides to take a walk downstairs to check on the dog when she’s attacked by what would appear is a burglar. After almost being raped, she runs to get Andy and leave. But instead of just leaving like any sane person would do, they seek out their hosts to let them know they were going, “hey thanks for the good time, I enjoyed the Ouija and assault”….
This is where they find their hosts, kneeling naked on a pentagram drawn on the floor as Bruno is chanting some retarded Satan shit and Mary is writhing in place moaning. Thats when…
the Satan orgy begins! The fire in the fireplace roars, a picture of Jesus bursts into flames (why do Satanists have a framed picture of Jesus????) and we witness the very oily, very hairy (it was ’78…) group sex for the dark lord. Ick.
The film starts to go downhill from here. After the group sex, there’s some pairing off, more sex, the furry guy from the gate killing the home intruder guy, and the couple being way to nonchalant about waking up to find their car missing. Of course when the car is returned by their hosts (they just needed to pick up a few things!) it won’t start. No shit.
The whole last section of the film is a muddled mess of Bruno and Mary turning on each other, Andy and Anna going back and forth between acting like they need to get the hell out of there and casually hanging around as if all this shit is normal. Throw a doctor into the mix to rile up Andy and this film has raveled out of control. What starts out as a slow-moving, but almost promising slice of Satanic sleaze ends up just boring and messy. The ending, which I won’t spoil here, is pretty typical and unsatisfying to say the least. If the pace of the film was picked up a bit I could completely forgive the horrid parts of the script (about two-thirds) but as it stands Satan’s Blood is Netflix worthy. The opening score, the Ouija table-top and a few choice parts I didn’t want to spoil for anyone who will see this make it worth the five bucks I spent on it, but definitely no more than that!
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…