Gort vs hallucinating nuns: Our review of Flavia The Heretic

Commander's log, Stardate 19032013.2:

I'd seen very little of Gort this week. The only sign of him had been eerie strains of Country music drifting from his quarters. I had taken the opportunity to do some modifications to the shuttles in the docking bay, when Gort boldly appeared in the hanger in full nun's garb once again.

"Oh, not this again..." I mumbled under my breath, before venturing: "What's with the outfit?"

"I'm leaving to join a technonunnery. Don't try and stop me!"

I hate myself for this, but I couldn't resist asking: "What?"

"She's left me. She's marrying some squishy flesh creature! I'm done with this unevolved thing humans call love!" he yelled as he flailed his robotic limbs around like a silver Julie Andrews.

"There, there, mate." I patted his shoulder. "I mean, I wish I... cared... but you know... you have plenty of reasons to carry on here. So, the relationship didn't work out. There're plenty more toasters in the kitchen... or something... In the meantime, you have people here who... tolerate... you... vaguely..."

"It's just not the same without her..." he pined.

"Come on... Robot up. We still have a mission."

Gort paused for a brief second. Suddenly, his back stiffened. He rose to his feet and cast off his habit in a grand, sweeping gesture.

"That's right! There is always the mission! I have a duty to destroy the human race...!"


"... to save the human race from the evils of Hollywood and defend the rights of terrible films! Quickly, to the nunsploitation cave!"

I attempted to ask what Gort meant by that, but it was far too late...

Flavia The Heretic has both somewhat of a reputation and not nearly as much reputation as you'd expect. It's known fairly widely for having some grizzly torture scenes that have only just been allowed to pass uncut recently. On the other hand, no-one has much to say about the film other than that.

It's not your typical nunsploiter. The titular traitor is first introduced as a young girl, who is, for some reason, allowed to wonder onto the scene of a battle and ogle the dying soldiers. Her flirting with a barely conscious Saracen is interrupted by her disapproving father who beheads her suitor and packs her off to a convent, somewhat unreasonably.

Decades later, Flavia is resentful of her position and barely hides her contempt for the patriarchal Church. In the course of an average day, she encounters a bizarre cult of nymphomaniac lunatics and witnesses a lord rape a peasant woman in a pig sty. When one of her wayward sisters is tortured for her disobedience, including a sadistic moment where her nipple is removed with heated tongs, she loses her faith.

Flavia takes up with an older nun, who's kind of a misandric Obi-wan and shows both a grudging respect for and hatred of the dominance of men. Casually urinating, the nun unsuccessfully tries to seduce Flavia by preaching the pointlessness of celibacy. The two happen across a Saracen raid on an Italian town and Flavia both joins and shacks up with their handsome leader. The now de facto general of the army, Flavia sets off on an ill-fated crusade to topple the Vatican by capturing, drugging and sexually assaulting any nuns they can find.

That's pretty much it for the plot and the film itself makes little more sense than the synopsis we've just given. The torture may have been pretty nasty for the time, but it pales in comparison to anything by Eli Roth and the plot itself is actually quite dull. What makes the film worth seeing, however, are the eerily trippy hallucination sequences, highlights of which include a naked Flavia climbing inside a cow's corpse and a banquet where a naked girl is served up to a table of dry-humping peasants. If you want a film to give you some twisted dreams after a late night, this is a good bet.

Congratulations to Helen Cox of New Empress Magazine on her engagement (not from Gort, obviously).