21 February 2008 | The_Void
Excellent story-driven early nunsploitation flick
Nunsploitation is certainly one of the more bizarre cult cinema genres, and The Nun of Monza may well be the first film to be made of this kind. I wont profess to be a huge fan of this genre, although there are several good examples; Images in a Convent and School of the Holy Beast being the best that I've seen. This one is an early example and as is often the case with pioneering films, it's not as lurid as some of the later ones made by the likes of Jess Franco and Joe D'Amato and takes an approach that gives more weight to the storyline; though The Nun of Monza does still feature most of the nunsploitation trademarks. The plot will be familiar to anyone who knows anything about this type of film and focuses on a young girl who is accused of wrongdoing by a sleazy priest and packed off to a convent for wayward girls. However, the people in charge of this convent don't adhere to the normal Christian teachings and the girl soon finds herself unable to escape from the devil worshippers, lesbians and general deviance that plagues the convent...
Unlike the later nunsploitation flicks, this one is actually a 'serious' attempt at a film and it has t be said that director Eriprando Visconti has done a good job with it. The cinematography is superb and most of the scenes are well staged. Anne Heywood does very well in the lead role and convinces as the young girl at the centre of the tale while receiving good feedback from a supporting cast lead by Antonio Sabato. The sleaze elements in this film are not the main focal point, but we still get treated to some lesbianism, torture and devil worship. The sequence in which the devil is conjured is one of the best in the movie. I must admit I prefer nunsploitation that is more along the lines of Images in a Convent - i.e. where the focus is on nudity and sleaze, but the other side of nunsploitation can be good if done correctly; and that is certainly the case with this film. Nun of Monza is for my money at the top end of the nunsploitation genre; I realise that's not saying a great deal considering some of the films in the genre, but this early one still beats off a lot of the competition. Recommended.