The Mother Superior of a medieval convent is tormented by visions. Torn by her own desires, she sees herself confronted by Mary Magdalen on a throne with a demon by her side. Magdalen challenges the nun’s beliefs that sex is bad, but this notion is reinforced by another vision, this one of a skeleton in nun’s habit. The poor nun’s torment is compounded by other visions of all sorts of carnal hell breaking loose.This is a real oddity. The writer/director is Nigel Wingrove, who, the case informs us, is the founder of Redemption Films. That outfit was one of the pioneers of deluxe re-issues of 70s Eurotrash horror and sexploitation, with plenty of nunsploitation tossed in. So here is a new exploitation film, very much a love letter to those earlier films, and is such an exercise in personal expression that it raises the question: can such a labour of love really count as exploitation. Then there’s the problem of how wordy the script is. So while there is a fair bit of naked female flesh on display (apparently waxing was de rigeur in the Middle Ages), the rather stiff philosophizing takes up the lion’s share of the screentime. The film is ambitious, and has some startling imagery, but doesn’t scale the rarified heights of such tour de force efforts as School of the Holy Beast.
The 2.0 soundtracks boasts extremely atmospheric music, which sounds quite ominous in surround. The environmental effects are pretty good too, whether one is hearing twittering birds or the wailing of damned souls.
The anamorphic widescreen picture is blessed by very strong colours and blacks, not to mention the all-important flesh tones in a pictures such as this. The film is thus quite visually rich. The pixellation is, however, quite noticeable, robbing the image of some of its sharpness. For a low-budget film, however, the overall impression isn’t bad.
Wingrove is joined on the commentary track by Salvation Films executive Mick Southworth. Their discussion sticks largely to the technical side of things, but does sometimes venture into thematic issues. There is a raft of still galleries here: images from the CD, poster art, behind-the scenes stills, and storyboards. You also have your teaser and theatrical trailer. The menu is basic.
This is one of those cases where a film has too many ideas for its own good, but for all that, exploitation mavens should certainly give it a whirl.