Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 25th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Giulio Berruti
Writers: Giulio Berruti, Alberto Tarallo
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Paola Morra, Alida Valli
DVD released: November 26th, 2007
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English/Italian
DVD Release: Shameless Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Synopsis: Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) has not been herself since her operation a few months earlier. She has developed a morphine problem that has lead to her mental breakdown. Sister Mathieu (Paola Morra) a nun who has recently arrived at the asylum has developed a close bond with Sister Gertrude. When patients start to die mysteriously Sister Gertrude is blamed because of her deteriorating metal state. Has Sister Gertrude imagined all of these crimes or will an even darker secret be revealed?
The Killer Nun is loosely based on real life events that happened in Belgium. Ken Russell’s controversial film The Devil’s was one of the forerunners that help launch the nunsploitation. Anita Ekberg is most remembered for the water fountain scene in La Dolce Vita, were she seduces Marcello Mastroianni. Giulio Berruti with the Killer Nun had all the right ingredients to make a sleazy epic and somehow he manages to make a tame film that never achieves it potential.
The casting of Anita Ekberg as Sister Gertrude is one of the films major flaws as even when she is seducing a man she picks up at a bar the scene stills feels flat and un-erotic. Ekberg lacks the eternal sex appeal someone Brigitte Bardot oozes with. Another flaw in the film is the relationship between Sister Gertrude and Sister Mathieu which only hints at lesbianism. During these scenes Ekberg appears frigid while Paola Morra feels more relaxed doing these scenes. The director in the extras even points out how he took it easy on Ekberg during these not wanting to upset his star. The end result is painfully obvious they should have hired an actress who would have embraced the material without any inhibitions.
This film takes to long to establish itself early on moving at a tedious pace before finally taking shape in the final act. The strongest part of the films is Alessandro Alessandroni schizophrenic Morricone like score that captures the downward spiral of Sister Gertrude’s state of mind perfectly. Ultimately this film is a hybrid of sorts as it mixes elements form the nunsploitation and giallo genres. The killer Nun is an interesting curiosity that fails to capture the depravity that is prominent is the best nunspolitation films. In the end just like Sister Gertrude this film isn’t quite sure of its identity. Overall The Killer Nun is a movie that suffers from its indecision as it tries to merge too many genres and themes together without ever establishing itself in a set direction.
Shameless Films presents The Killer Nun in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones look healthy, black levels look strong and details are razor sharp throughout. Overall this is another superb transfer from Shameless Films.
This release comes with one audio a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are some scenes that are included with DVD that were never dubbed into English. These scenes are in Italian and English subtitles have been included. The audio mix is free of any audio defects and sounds evenly balanced throughout.
Extras include a six minute interview with Anita Ekberg titled “The Nun Speaks Out!” and trailers for Killer Nun, New York Ripper, The Black Cat, Torso, Venus in Furs, Baba Yaga and Phantom of Death. Besides discussing The Killer Nun, Anita Ekberg talks about other films that she has appeared in. Overall another first rate release from Shameless Films who give The Killer Nun its first uncut release in the UK.