Saturday, 22 January 2011

Images in a Convent (1979)

There’s no movie genre with more potential for sleaze than the nunsploitation genre. The surprising thing is that this genre has produced quite a few rather good movies.

Ken Russell’s The Devils being the one unquestioned masterpiece, but Norifumi Suzuki’s School of the Holy Beast, Jess Franco's Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun and Gianfranco Mingozzi's Flavia the Heretic all manage to be more than just exercises in sleaze (although they certainly possess sleaze in abundance).

Such a claim cannot seriously be made for Joe D'Amato's Images in a Convent (Immagini di un convento).

There is a plot, of sorts, but mostly it’s an excuse for sleaze. Lots of sleaze.

A young woman named Isabella is committed to a nunnery to keep her out of the clutches of her lascivious uncle. Then a mysterious young man who has been grievously wounded is taken in by the Mother Superior. And strange things start to happen. The nuns start to devote their time to acts of debauchery. It has to be said that they don’t appear to need much encouragement. Eventually an exorcist is called in but he has his work cut out for him, having to perform his rites while a dozen naked nuns try to tempt him with the pleasures of the flesh. Nobody ever said an exorcist’s life was an easy one.

There’s no need to discuss the acting, since a willingness to get naked was obviously the sole criterion used in casting this movie.

Joe D'Amato's prime concern as director seems to have been to include as much sleaze as possible without worrying too much about anything else. There is one good shot in the movie, a shot of a corridor in the nunnery, and Joe D'Amato clearly liked it so much he repeats it several dozen times. It does provide the movie’s one effective scene though, with the exorcist marching down the corridor being besieged by sex-crazed and mostly naked nuns. It sounds tacky, and it is, but it has a certain undeniable power.

Aside from that what you get is nudity and sex, by the truckload. I was going to say that this movie belongs to the harder end of the softcore porn spectrum but it might e more accurate to describe it as belonging to the softer end of the hardcore spectrum. Some scenes are certainly unequivocally hardcore.

All of which probably makes this sound like a pretty awful movie. It’s definitely not Citizen Kane but it never claims to be anything more than an exercise in eurotrash exploitation and it can’t be denied that it delivers the goods in the exploitation front.

My copy came in the Media Blasters Nunsploitation Classics boxed set. The transfer is dreadful but it does surprisingly include some extras, most notably a documentary on Joe D'Amato. The boxed set is marginally worth grabbing if you can find a cheap copy and if you’re a devoted fan of the nunsploitation genre.

1 comment:

Japan Flix said...

Poor nuns. Seems like a tough job. They're always either exploiting each other sexually, or being driven mad due to there rigid code of conduct like in "Black Narcissus"