Gort vs homicidal anchorites, our review of Killer Nun

Stardate 190612.2:

I was slightly disturbed this week to happen across Gort wearing a full nun's habit with a rosary necklace while merrily tapping away at the mothership's transporter controls. When I inquired as to what he was doing, he explained that he planned to open the mothership as an old-people's home, use the neural inducer to force the residents to will all their worldly possessions to us, then eject them out of the airlock. He added that he had got the idea after watching 70s horror Killer Nun.

After a few seconds of staring blankly and an additional moment of gentle facepalming, I instructed him that such an activity would be highly immoral, illegal and probably not particularly profitable. In response, Gort's visor flashed slightly and, as he pulled out a pair of silk stockings and began to approach me, I decided it might be best to take an unscheduled holiday for a couple of days.

Also known as Suor Omicidi or Deadly Habits (a much-better title), 70s "nunsploitation" movie Killer Nun was granted the dubious accolade of "video nasty" during the British censorship meltdown that occurred in the early 80s. The film itself is, it must be said, rather tame, with far more implication or out-and-out bizarrity than guts and gore.

We follow La Dolce Vita's Anita Ekburg, a senior nun on staff at a hospital, recovering from an undisclosed neurosurgery with sinister implications. The operation has left her addicted to morphine, which her concerned doctor refuses to prescribe to her any longer.

Ekburg decides to hop over to the mainland to score some heroine and feed her addiction. While there, she has casual sex with a strange man in a random hallway they happen to find unoccupied, as you do. Returning to the home with a load of drugs, she is stricken to discover a resident is brutally murdered every time she blacks out on a high, with her the obvious suspect.

Ekburg's sanity becomes strained and she begins abusing the patients at the home, blackmailing the manager and even enters a kinky lesbian relationship with another nun. The older nun forces her youthful room-mate to declare herself to be "the worst kind of prostitute" and then tells her that, since Ekburg isn't a lesbian, she could only sleep with the young nun if she wears silk stockings. No, we don't know either.

The film only becomes more trippy from there, with one victim's corpse being discovered suspended from a ceiling, far above, only to fall on top of Ekburg at an opportune moment for no apparent reason; a nun seduces a man by licking his trousers; and we witness numerous scenes of Ekburg flailing around while suffering Freudian dreams about fondling naked cadavers. After the sheer weirdness of the opening, this section is actually quite dull, despite containing the only gory moment of the film as a series of pins are driven into a resident's face and eyes by an unseen assailant.

Just as you think the film might be a waste of your time, however, a well-orchestrated twist comes into play and the film climaxes with a deliciously-Machiavellian ending. It's probably signposted enough for you to have expected the twist early on, but it's still handled cleverly and memorably. This goes some way to redeeming a saggy middle section and, as a whole, Killer Nun has just enough going for it to make it worth your time.

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