• Killer Nun (Arrow Video) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: October 15th, 2019.
    Director: Giulio Berruti
    Cast: Anita Ekberg, Paolo Morra, Joe Dallesandro, Alida Valli, Massimo Serrato, Daniele Dublino
    Year: 1978
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    Killer Nun –Movie Review:

    Swedish sex bomb Anita Ekberg (La Dolce Vita, Fangs Of The Living Dead) plays Sister Gertrude, a nun who, since having a tumor removed, has suffered a chemical imbalance in her brain. This causes her no shortage of pain in her cranium. Her condition has resulted in a pretty serious morphine addiction, as she uses the drug constantly to ease the soreness in her head. Unfortunately for those who come into contact with Sister Gertrude, while it may ease her pain, it also causes her to go on murder sprees every once in a while.

    One day, while assisting a doctor with an operation, things go wrong and she’s all of a sudden finding herself compelled to axe the plug out of the patient’s life support. After talking to her roommate, who may or may not be a lesbian, Gertrude decides to leave the solace of the convent and venture into the outside world. When she’s finished outside doing her thing and committing every sin in the book, she returns to the convent and people start dropping like flies. It sure looks like dear old Gertrude may be the one responsible for the current state of mayhem. Oh, and Joe Dallesandro shows up in a supporting role.

    What fan of exploitation and horror doesn’t love a good nasty nun movie? There’s something implicitly taboo about seeing a hot chick in a habit doing things she shouldn’t be doing and seeing as that is more or less the concept upon which most nunsploitation films are based, they generally deliver. So keep in mind that this is a film that is definitely going to appeal more to someone already familiar with nunsploitation than those dipping their toes into these forbidden waters for the first time. It’s not the best that this bizarre little subgenre has to offer, but neither is it the worst.

    So yeah, with that out of the way, Killer Nun is a pretty good film even for those who don’t normally enjoy the blasphemous antics of the nympho nuns that haunt the hallowed halls of exploitation. The film provides pretty much all of the basic elements one could want from the subgenre and sets them in a very easy to follow plot that serves merely as setup for the next set piece. Other films would do a better job of making you think or even of titillating you but Killer Nun does a very good job of entertaining, even if it isn’t really all that intricate.

    Ekberg has a strong screen presence and director Giulio Berruti does a great job of making sure that the film places her in all manner of lusty predicaments. Her performance allows her to show a decent emotional range here, and she handles this range well, her odd matronly appearance just adding to the film’s qualities. The film also benefits from some very nice cinematography that gives the film a slightly classier edge than it would have had otherwise and the camerawork does a great job of showing off the Italian locations used in the movie. The quirky score by Alessandro Alessandroni (who also scored The Devil’s Nightmare) suits the tone of the film quite nicely and further accentuates the feel that the cinematography creates with a sort of progressively classical sound.

    Killer Nun – Blu-ray Review:

    Killer Nun arrives on Blu-ray in a nice AVC encoded 1080p high definition 1.85.1 widescreen transfer taken from a new 2k restoration of the original 35mm negative. It’s an impressive picture, devoid of the scanner noise that plagued the previous Blue Underground Blu-ray release a few years ago. Detail is pretty solid, though the movie is shot a little soft, and there’s good depth and texture. There’s really no print damage at all, just the odd white speck now and then that you probably won’t notice if you’re not looking for them. Black levels are good, skin tones look nice and there are no problems at all with any compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noticeable noise reduction.

    Audio options are provided in English and in Italian in LPCM Mono format with optional subtitles provided in English (translating the Italian dialogue) and English SDH (transcribing the English dialogue). Both tracks are clean and nicely balanced with clear dialogue, free of any noticeable hiss or distortion.

    Extra features start off with a new audio commentary by ‘Italian genre film connoisseurs’ Adrian J. Smith and David Flint that proves to be well worth listening too. The spend the first chunk of the track detailing the actual historical events that inspired the film in the first place, which is quite interesting, and they debate whether or not the film really qualifies as nunsploitation or not. They also detail Giulio Berruti’s career and discuss the merits of the performances, particularly Anita Ekberg but also Paolo Morra and Joe Dallesandro. There’s talk of the score, the cinematography and the overall effectiveness of the film as well. It’s well-researched and delivered, interesting stuff.

    As far as the featurettes go, Beyond Convent Walls is a new video essay on nunsploitation and Killer Nun by critic Kat Ellinger that runs just over twenty-nine-minutes. In this piece, Ellinger details the history of nunsploitation from the page to the screen, offers insight into the genre’s appeal and how Killer Nun fits in with all of this while also differing from many of the other entries in the genre. Our Mother of Hell, a new interview with director Giulio Berruti, runs fifty-two-minutes and covers a lot of ground. Essentially serving as a career overview, this piece allows Berruti to talk about how he got his start in the business, covering his television work up to his feature film work. There’s a lot of talk here about Killer Nun, of course, as he talks about directing the performers, where the idea for the movie came from, what it was like on set and quite a bit more. Cut And Noise, a new interview with editor Mario Giacco that runs twenty-one-minutes. Here he speaks about getting his start as an assistant editor, learning on the job and taking what he learned to his work on Killer Nun. Starry Eyes is a new twenty-four-minute interview with actress Ileana Fraia wherein she speaks about getting her start as an actress, some of the early roles she was fortunate enough to be cast in, getting cast in Killer Nun, her interactions with some of the other people involved in the production and her thoughts on her character.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are original Italian and international theatrical trailers, an image gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The extras that were created for the previous Blu-ray release from Blue Underground remain exclusive to that release.

    Killer Nun - The Final Word:

    Killer Nun benefits from a great performance from Anita Ekberg and enough sleaze to keep most exploitation fans interested. Arrow presents the film on Blu-ray in an excellent presentation and with a nice selection extra features as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Killer Nun Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Alex K.'s Avatar
      Alex K. -
      I think this film is massively underrated.