Blu-ray Review: Killer Nun (1979)

October 14, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) is your average, everyday nun… you know, a real cock-hungry, morphine addicted, chain smoking, medically negligent bitch on wheels… the ushe…

When ol’ Gert gets a wild hair that she has cancer, she seems to lose her goddamned mind, and goes on a drug fueled tear through the hospital in which she works. If she isn’t kinda/sorta causing patients to die, using her days off to have sex with randos on the street, or having the occasional major psychotic break; then she’s “forcing” Sister Matthieu (the stunning Paola Morra) to have a lesbian tryst, or having hallucinations about murder… hallucinations that lead to there being actual corpses!

Enter: Dr. Patrick Roland (Warhol darling Joe Dallesandro), who becomes suspicious of our sinful Sister and starts causing some serious static for our habit-wearin’ anti-heroine… but is that justified or has Gertrude been merely a pawn in someone else’s game? Based on a true story… like for real!

Sadistic, salacious, and downright delirious, Killer Nun is an absolute scream from beginning to end! Ekberg is pitch perfect as Sister Gertrude, a character that can be high, horny, or hellish… often all at the same time, and she seems to be having the time of her life chewing the fuck out of the scenery here! Add to that all of the murder, mayhem, and mammaries and you got yourself a piece of exploitation fried gold on your hands!

Also on display are some moments of surreal beauty involving overly stagey set-pieces mixed with bold lighting and editing choices which when combined with Alessandro Alessandroni’s eclectic score combine into a heady brew of off-kilter cinematic insanity that is only aided and abetted by the period in which it was shot… the tacky fashions, decor, and even facial hair all swirl and coalesce into a one-of-a-kind picture that manages to defy conventions of the nunsploitation (mostly) while offering something that manages to be it’s own kind of awesome!

Along with the glory that is the feature presentation, Arrow Video have included plenty of bonus features here, with a fact packed, and good humored, audio commentary courtesy of Italian genre film experts Adrian J. Smith and David Flint leading the way. Following that we get an info-packed video essay on the nunsploitation sub-genre courtesy of author Kat Ellinger, who always has plenty to teach us horror hounds, followed by by interviews with director Giulio Berruti, editor Mario Giacco, actress Ileana Fraja, trailers, and an image gallery… and all of this is contained under a reversible sleeve featuring gorgeous artwork by Daryl Joyce. Additionally, first pressings of the film come with an info-packed collectible booklet featuring essays on the film courtesy of film scholar Andreas Ehrenreich and author Roberto Curti.

Just a ton of perverse, off-the-wall, grindhouse fun; Killer Nun is where it is at cats n’ creeps, and is absolutely essential viewing for all lovers of psychotronic sinema. Highest possible recommendation!



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