Blu-ray Review: KILLER NUN

KILLER NUN (aka Suor Omicidi) was directed by Giulio Berruti who co-wrote the screenplay with Alberto Tarallo and stars Anita Ekberg as Sister Gertrude, a nun lured into the world of drugs and perversion. The film co-stars Joe Dallesandro, Alida Valli, Massimo Serato, Paola Morra and Lou Castel. The music is composed by Alessandro Alessandroni.

FROM THE SECRET FILES OF THE VATICAN! Aging blonde-bombshell Anita Ekberg gives a full-bodied performance as a sex-crazed sister with some seriously bad habits in the lurid cult classic Killer Nun. One of the most notorious ‘nunsploitation’ films, Killer Nun tells the sordid story of Sister Gertrude, a disturbed woman of the cloth who degenerates into a perverse mire of drug taking, sexual perversion, sadistic torture and murder. Joe Dallesandro, Alida Valli and the ample Paola Morra offer spirited performances and able support to Ekberg, in this shocking tale based on real events. Boasting an incongruously classy score by legendary composer Alessandro Alessandroni and stylishly rendered scenes of sex and murder, Killer Nun takes the viewer on hair-raising journey from the heights of religious ecstasy to the depths of devilish degeneracy.

The story for this 1979 nunsploitation chiller centers around Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) who’s recovering from the removal of a brain tumor that has also left her haunted. Her doctor takes her off her meds and when she asks for help it’s kind of like everyone around her looks the other way. It’s almost like she saw this coming and tried to prevent it but nobody would take her seriously! Even the hospital’s own Mother Superior (Alida Valli) turns her back on Sister Gertrude.

What happens is, Gertrude is slowly changed by the things and people around her and it ends up driving her mad. She lives a double life and becomes this predator who goes out drinking, smoking and sexing it up. There’s also Sister Matthieu (Paola Morra) back at the hospital who she’s having a affair with. So you can see that Sister Gertrude isn’t really living her life for God as her existence spirals out of control. It doesn’t stop here because she ultimately becomes a killer. Or does she? Gertrude insists that somebody is trying to set her up and that she’s innocent but the thing about this Killer Nun is that she’s completely out of her mind.

The front of the packaging features newly commissioned artwork by Daryl Joyce that you can see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details and list of special features. The reversible sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your pick of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. There’s also a fully illustrated collector’s booklet inside featuring new writing on the film by Peter Tonguette that will be available on the first pressing only. The Blu-ray disc also features its own individual artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. Killer Nun has been given a new 2K scan from the original 35mm camera negative. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were mostly crisp and clear. There is some grain in a f ew of the darker scenes but that’s to be expected. I didn’t really have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Killer Nun ended up being another first time watch for me and I understand why some viewers were turned away from this “video nasty” back in the day. It was kind of ahead of its time because of some of its controversial content that included mental illness, male and female full frontal shots, sex scenes and even lesbianism. Times have changed and sleazy movies like this are getting a second lease on life so fans old and new can enjoy and maybe even appreciate them little. I thought the story about this disturbed nun who completely loses herself was interesting but what makes it even more fascinating is the fact that it’s based on real events. Anita Ekberg delivered a powerful performance as this disturbed nun who’s driven to madness by the things that surround her. Killer Nun is definitely a character driven psycho-thriller but there are visions of horror throughout the watch along with a little of the red stuff. Giulio Berruti helped come up with the story for Killer Nun and I thought he did a great job bringing it to life on screen. There’s a little Italiosleeze cheese to it but that’s part of the movie’s charm. This 1979 nunsploitation chiller will be available on Blu-ray on October 15th.

Distributor: Arrow Video

Run Time: 88 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: Italian LPCM 1.0 / English LPCM 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include new audio commentary, a new video essay about the movie, new interviews with some of the cast and crew, two trailers and an image gallery.

  • New Audio Commentary by Italian genre film connoisseurs Adrian J. Smith and David Flint
  • Beyond Convent Walls, a new video essay on nunsploitation and Killer Nun by critic Kat Ellinger (29:19)
  • Starry Eyes, a new interview with director Giulio Berruti (23:47)
  • Cut and Noise, a new interview with editor Mario Giacco (20:31)
  • Our Mother of Hell, a new interview with actress Ileana Fraia (51:51)
  • Original Italian Trailer (02:56)
  • International Theatrical Trailer (02:56)
  • Image gallery (03:40)

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