Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Other Hell

I’m not even sure if I should necessarily call this film nunsploitation, even if it’s about a series of murders in a convent. What it is instead is so dull and tame that not only does it not really deserve to be called a nunsploitation film, it barely deserves to be called a film at all.

The first film in a box set of three demon films I picked up, this film follows a padre as he is sent to investigate a series of mysterious deaths at a convent. His initial lines of questioning are not exactly promising; during one conversation, in a perfectly understated manner, the mother superior shrieks at him “Well there’s no mystery in this convent I assure you!!!”. This is naturally the way to behave when there’s nothing to hide. The groundskeeper is similarly helpful, telling the padre that he loves dogs more than people because they don’t talk and try to share secrets.

There’s a good deal of nonsense about the evils of penises and having children, and there’s one laugh out loud moment when an old nun, scandalized that one of the younger ones had a baby and wanted to keep it, grabs the infant and throws it in a steaming pot. Once this scene came up, I immediately began to reevaluate my feelings toward the film, but it not only quickly goes back to the dreariness of the rest of the film, it also gives a good reason for the baby to be killed, since its dad is apparently the devil or something.

How bad is this movie? It’s poor enough that it froze up a couple times on me, and I’m not going to try to exchange it for a perfect copy simply because it isn’t worth the damn effort. It has enough good moments in it to avoid an outright zero star rating (the baby scene is probably worth half a star on its own, and there’s another one where someone is strangled with a rosary), but it’s not much better than that. This is a rather ominous beginning to a theoretically promising demon box set.

Rating: ½ *

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