Killer Nun (1979)

Killer Nun (1979) Directed by Giulio Berruti

Anita Ekberg is an evil, heroin-addicted lunatic nun in this tawdry video nasty that’s not as nasty as I thought it would be. The storytelling patterns are the customary ones, this has to be one of the more traditional and boorish exemplifications of nunsploitation cinema. Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) works in a Catholic hospital; her patients fear her for her impetuous psychotic reactions and the lead doctor (Massimo Serato) questions her unorthodox approach to treating patients. Entering the lurid realms of the plot, the first thing one expects from its limited ideas is a paroxysm of blasphemous violence and a frivolous assault on ecclesiastical injunctions – there’s plenty of that, but not enough to be aggressively anticlerical – yet what you get here is an artless melodrama filmed with the virulent vehemence of a psychological horror; though ironically it’s docile in graphic violence. By the time Joe Dallesandro’s masculine bombast enters the picture in the middle acts it’s too late to redeem the softcore boredom of the preceding acts. Let’s just say it’s vaguely entertaining to watch Anita Ekberg play a schizoid nun enduring the mortification of celibacy, and equally invigorating to observe her in a visceral spectacle of lewd overreactions and profane carnality. Even so, nothing justifies the narrative claptrap here nor the directorial flabbiness of Giulio Berruti, who certainly knows how to instrumentalize the eroticism of his horny characters as a means of psychological exploration, but sadly the aesthetic handling is the incorrect one. It is a farrago of nonsense.

Matteo Bedon

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Editor and Official Film Critic at

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