Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 8th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Giulio Berruti
Writers: Giulio Berruti, Alberto Tarallo
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Paola Morra, Alida Valli
DVD released: October 26th, 2004
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
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.
Killer Nun is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film original aspect ratio. The colors are stable through out and the flesh tones look accurate for the most part. There is some grain present through out. The transfer is what we have come to expect from Blue Underground and as usual they have worked wonders with the materials they had to work with.
There is only one audio option included for this DVD an English dubbed track that is in Dolby Digital mono. All the action is concentrated in the front speakers. The overall quality of the audio source is clean with no sign of distortion or hiss.
The main extra consists of an interview with Giulio Berruti who talks extensively about the film and working with Anita Ekberg. Rounding out the extras is the films original trailer and a poster/stills gallery. Overall Blue Underground restores another obscure genre title giving it the best home video A/V presentation it has had to date.