Jun 22, 2014

Killer Nun




Upon breaking ties with weirdo Warhol and his mentor Paul Morrissey and moving to Italy to establish a ‘legitimate’ non-arthouse acting career, Italian-American counter-culture sex icon Joe Dallesandro (Flesh, Trash, Heat) starred in a series of superlatively sleazy and largely forgotten Guido exploitation flicks, with the nunsploitation flick Killer Nun (1979) aka Suor Omicidi aka Deadly Habits directed by relatively unknown director Giulio Berruti and starring busty Swedish model turned actress Anita Ekberg being one of the more well known of these films. A piece of overtly sacrilegious trash of the super softcore Sapphic sort, the film was banned in the UK and pulled from distribution shortly after its release despite being the no. 2 film at the box-office in Rome due to pressure from the Catholic Church, who rather objected to the film’s absurd tagline: “From the secret files of the Vatican.” A work that more than clearly demonstrates that Ekberg’s waist increased and popularity decreased over the nearly two decades since she appeared in the iconic scene in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960) where she played a bodacious Nordic “dream woman” who dances in Rome's Trevi fountain for the pleasure of Marcello Mastroianni, Killer Nun features the sensual Swedish actress as an unhinged middle-aged opium-addled bisexual nun who suffered brain damage as a result of neurosurgery and now has an unhealthy hunger for blood, boobs, and Joe Dallesandro. Notably, in the book Joe Dallesandro: Warhol Superstar, Underground Film Icon, Actor (2011) written by Michael Ferguson, Dallesandro would confess regarding his involvement in the nunsploitation flick and various other goombah exploitation flicks: “When I worked in Italy, they’d take all these old actresses who were overweight and they would put them in films with me and they’d ignite again. They’d have something going for them because I wouldn’t make them look like an old person. I play to everybody as if they were the most important thing in the world.” Indeed, both onscreen in the Warhol/Morrissey films and off-screen as an actor, Dallesandro played the role of a hustler who used his body in a way that few women are even capable of. The lapsed Warhol superstar previously worked with Killer Nun director Berruti (who only directed one other film, the forgotten 1976 exploitation flick Noi siam come le lucciole starring Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato's then-wife Silvia Dionisio) three years before on the fairly trashy and mean-spirited but ultimately worthless crime flick Il tempo degli assassini (1975) aka Season for Assassins, for which the Guido filmmaker acted as the editor (Berruti worked as an editor and screenwriter before getting the chance to direct). A ridiculously sleazy work that, for better or worse, owes most of its charisma to Ekberg’s over-the-top, if not dead seriously played, performance, Killer Nun might qualify as a hagsploitation flick were it not for the lead actress’s relatively well preserved beauty and rather serious and less than campy performance. In short, this dago nunsploitation celluloid abortion is the dubious, if not curious and even sometimes interesting, result of what happens when a lapsed sex icon who is best known for her meta-busty body attempts to be a serious actress in a fucked film that lacks seriousness where an elderly wheelchair-bound cripple receives a blowjob during a thunderstorm from a hot young maid, a lesbo nun demands that her much younger spiritual sister wear stockings during sex, Little Joe portrays a sensitive and sophisticated yet ultimately weak and sex-starved doctor, an elderly man is suffocated via cotton balls, and a nun offers to sacrifice herself into servitude to save her murderous lesbo lover from prison.




 After receiving major brain surgery to remove a tumor from her seemingly under-used gray matter, big bosomed blonde nun Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) becomes a crazed cunt of the lethal lesbo sort who gets off by reading sexually-charged S&M-like stories of saints being tortured to elderly patients at the psychiatric ward where she works. While Gertrude pleads to the head physician, Dr. Poirret (Massimo Serato, who played a bishop in Nicholas Roeg’s 1973 arthouse-horror masterpiece Don’t Look Now), as well as her Mother Superior (played by Austrian-Italian countess Alida Valli, who appeared in several masterpieces, including Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) and Luchino Visconti's Senso (1954), though her career suffered as a result of a scandal involving the murder of a young fashion model during a sex-and-drug-orgy), that she needs therapy to fix her damaged brain, she is looked at with a sort of superstition-fueled indifference and does not get the serious help that she needs. After allowing one of her elderly patients to drop dead, Sister Gertrude steals and pawns the victim’s jewelry so she can buy some dope (she is a morphine addict, after all), booze, and a sexy wardrobe, which she uses to lure a man who enters her holy hole after she decides to go incognito as a non-nun aka real woman one day. On top of being a passive murderer and major morphine addict, the sensual Sister is also a closest lipstick lesbo who makes up the dominant half of a lurid love affair with a younger Sapphic sister named Sister Mathieu (played by Paola Morra, who is probably best known for being the Italian Playboy Playmate of the Month for February 1978), who is much nicer than her lunatic lover.  Ultimately, Sister Mathieu will help her loony lady lover cover-up her violently murderous crimes.




 On top of having a broken brain, Gertrude hates men as a result of being molested as a child, even admitting to a priest during a confession that she would like to “snuff out all men” in revenge for having her happiness snuffed out as a child. Needless to say, the nasty nun begins murdering men, including an old fart who she catches receiving a blowjob and sex from the luxury of his wheelchair. Although she hates men, Gertrude is no gentler with women, who she tortures before killing. In fact, the nympho nun even tortures her girlfriend Sister Mathieu, who she forces to wear stockings and declare, “I’m the worst kind of prostitute” before they have lurid lesbo sex. Indeed, Sister Mathieu is somewhat of a slut, but she is well meaning, as she kisses the crotch of a new young doctor named Dr. Patrick Roland (Joe Dallesandro) in a rather raunchy attempt to get him to overlook his suspicions regarding Sister Gertrude's murderous behavior. A crippled patient named Peter (played by Lou Castel of Marco Bellocchio’s Fists in the Pocket (1965) and Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore (1971)) also becomes suspicious of Gertrude’s deranged behavior, so the sadistic sister maliciously murders him, but not before taunting the paraplegic victim with a healthy dose of terror and torture. When Dr. Roland finally discovers that Sister Gertrude is a morphine-addicted serial killer, Sister Mathieu threatens to kill herself if he tells anyone about her lover’s deranged behavior. In the end, the nuns cover-up the murders and lock Gertrude in a cell where she falls into a quasi-catatonic state and Sister Mathieu becomes the virtual sex slave of Dr. Roland in return for him not going to the cops about the deaths. Ironically, as a result of being a Sapphic sister in sexual servitude, Mathieu develops homicidal tendencies and confesses to a priest her fantasies about killing men. 




 A spiteful little film without morals and redemption starring two of the biggest sex icons of their respective eras, Killer Nun is the aesthetically atrocious result of what happens when a novice director who is somewhat resentful about their old school Italian Catholic upbringing attempts to inexplicably juggle anti-Catholic sermonizing with aesthetic immorality. In the featurette From the Secret Files of the Vatican, director Giulio Berruti, who has a small Hitchcockian cameo in Killer Nun as a Priest, stated regarding his film and its relationship with the Catholic Church: “I love the Church, I admire them as educators, but maybe they push Church life too hard: Mass every day and Sundays…so when you come out of there, how can I say, you look for something different. So the idea of this nun caught my attention. I think she was killing because of her loneliness. So this is the theme, the plot of the movie. Not everything came out as intended but it was supposed to show that drug addiction could substitute for God.” Indeed, the film would have probably made a little more sense if a scene featuring the anti-heroine raising a syringe like a chalice over a church altar and ‘communicating with God’ via morphine injection was not cut out (and, according to the director, destroyed). According to director Berruti, Italian distributors could do whatever they wanted to do to films and ultimately destroyed the film. Describing his own film as being, “like a daughter abandoned by her father,” Berruti gave up on feature filmmaking after Killer Nun and decided to be a documentary filmmaker so he could get his creative freedom back. Despite being a blatant celluloid hatchet job, I, as someone who is not really a fan of the exploitation subgenre, found Berruti’s work to be one of the more interesting nunsploitation flicks. Indeed, no film featuring Anita Ekberg, Joe Dallesandro, and Alida Valli can be completely bad, though it can remind you of a grand missed cinematic opportunity. 



-Ty E

11 comments:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Paola Morra (as the little lustpot was when she was 18 at the time this film was made, not as the middle aged slag is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Its interesting that the first 3 lines of the 3rd paragraph are once again derived wholly and completely from "THE TIME OF SEXUAL REPRESSION" !!!!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Alida Valli (as the bird was in 1939 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously, which is long since dead, unfortunately).

Jennifer Croissant said...

This is another one of those movies where its difficult for me to believe that its 35 years since its original release.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

That was bad defensive play, they should NOT be 1-0 down.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

They scraped the bar and the post, they should be 2-1 up, they`ve gotta` get something out of this game because the game against the Krauts is gonna` be very difficult.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Classic strike by Jones, now they`ve got to go on and win it!!!!!.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

If they hold the lead they`re in the second round.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

This game can change so quickly Ty E, but now if they play out a boring 0-0 with the Krauts on Thursday they`ll both go through, if they`ve got any sense thats what they`ll do, both teams should put out the B-team as well to give the A-team players a rest before the knock-out stage begins. You`ll have the best of both worlds as well of course because both the Kraut Aryan master race and the inferior American unter-girl-sch will have qualified.

Anita Ekberg said...

Jervaise Brooke Hamster is a pile of shit.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I quite like the picture where the ludicrous smelly old wheel-chair bound turd is recieving a blow-job from the gorgeous sexy young girl, thats an oddly arousing image.