Ah, the holiday season. Mariah Carey and ABC Family’s time to shine. Time for eggnog, snickerdoodles, cuddling by the fire, and general wholesomeness…or so I’ve heard, at least. Truth is, while you and your family are sitting around watching claymation elves, seasoned degenerates like myself are watching LESBIAN NUNS DO OPIOIDS. Santa gave up on the TehBen crew long ago – all we get from him now is coal and the occasional Dollar Store coupon for toxic-waste colored Mountain Dew. All that being said, he won’t care if we celebrate Jesus’s birthday with a little nunsploitation. So gather round the yule log and let me tell you about Giulio Berruti’s masterpiece, KILLER NUN.
Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) works as a nurse at a convent, and she’s been having a rough time ever since she had brain surgery. Her memory has been failing her, she’s irritable, she’s developing an opiate addiction, and she might be killing old people. What’s a nun to do?
Her mental health continues to get worse and worse until one day, she snaps at an elderly woman and violently stomps on her dentures. This frightens the woman so much that she has a heart attack and dies(!). Sister Gertrude is wracked with guilt over this…but not guilty enough to keep her from pocketing the old woman’s belongings so she can hock them for drugs.
Gertrude heads out into town to sell the goods, and while she’s there, she also decides that she’s incredibly horny. She picks up a random dude, takes him to a random building, and fucks him right there in the hallway! To add to the insanity, there’s a cheery pop song playing while she starts her journey towards denouncing God. Nothing says “I’m a horny drug addicted nun” quite like swelling violins
Gertrude heads back to her room to get loaded, has a wild hallucination involving necrophilia and beating a man to death and then…woopsies, there’s a dead man next to her when she wakes up. Luckily, her roommate Sister Matthieu is extremely gay for her and is willing to offer cover for her murderous habits. The bodies start to pile up quickly, though, and they can only keep up the ruse for so long…
Eventually, a new studly doctor rolls through to help deal with all the murder madness. He’s played by Joe Dallesandro, the trash KING who starred in multiple Andy Warhol movies – including a movie about an impotent heroin addict literally called Trash. You also may recognize his crotch from the cover of The Rolling Stone’s Sticky Fingers. After he shows up, the story only gets wilder. An old man in a wheelchair gets brutally murdered after getting his dick sucked, Sister Gertrude forces Sister Mathieu to have sex with her, there’s a shitton more elder abuse…oh, and some more cheerful 70s pop, for some reason.
I would unironically declare KILLER NUN a good movie…no, not a good movie…a good FILM. This is cinema, folks. The horror sells pretty well – there’s some genuinely unsettling old lady torture here, and the claustrophobic shots of Sister Gertrdue losing her shit are fantastic. On the schlock end, it definitely works – everything is over-the-top and ridiculous. Like, Sister Mathieu and Sister Gertrude just sleep naked in the same room together because OF COURSE THEY DO! Plus Ekberg really hams it up, giving us ridiculous cross-eyed looks as she drifts into her morphine trips.
Yeah, you’re going to have to take the story with a grain of salt – I mean, there are A LOT of issues here. According to the text at the beginning, this is based on a true story but somehow I don’t really believe that. For starters, I’m fairly certain that this is not a realistic depiction of how an opioid addiction would manifest. The lesbian aspects are also pretty problematique – it’s implied that the reason Sister Matthieu is a lesbian is because she was molested, which perpetuates the “lesbianism is a mental illness associated with a fear of men” stereotype. Sister Gertrude apparently has some sexual trauma in her past (though this isn’t fully fleshed out), and a lot of the plot hinges on the idea that being molested makes you a horny murderer, which is… Not Great
BUT, let’s be real. Do you really expect biting, accurate social commentary from a movie called Killer Nun? Do you expect it to be politically correct in any way? Of course not! So as long as you can turn your brain off for a bit and don’t take what’s happening too seriously, you will have an absolute blast watching this video nasty.