THE SINFUL NUNS OF ST. VALENTINE is a stylish and deliriously blasphemous Italian "nunsploitation" saga which was made in 1974 but made its US debut in 1998, courtesy of the British video company Salvation, which is releasing several Eurotrash exploitation classics of the 1960s and '70s
under their "Redemption" banner.
During the Spanish Inquisition, Esteban (Paolo Malco) is falsely accused of heresy by the father of his girlfriend Lucita (Francoise Prevost) and is wounded while eluding capture. Esteban takes refuge in the convent where Lucita has been banished by her father, and he is hidden by Joaquin, a
friendly servant. Joaquin brings Lucita to Esteban and she tends to his wounds, but when Lucita's cell-mate Josefa is later found stabbed to death, the abbess (Jenny Tamburi) accuses Lucita of doing it. After being whipped by Father Onorio, the Inquisitor of Seville, Lucita confesses in order to
stop the torture. The abbess then discovers that Esteban is hiding in the convent and brings him to her bedroom. During the night, Joaquin informs Esteban about what has happened to Lucita and tells him that the abbess is the one who killed Josefa and is only trying to keep him from rescuing
Lucita. Esteban then seduces the abbess and tells her he knows what she has done. The abbess kills Joaquin for betraying her and also tries to kill Esteban, but he escapes and goes to see Lucita's father, whom he convinces to help him rescue Lucita. Onorio discovers proof of the abbess' murderous
behavior and he walls up all of the nuns alive in a tomb. Esteban learns that Lucita is also walled up and he breaks into the tomb and rescues her, after which Onorio and the abbess are condemned to death by the Chief Inquisitor.
Although it delivers the requisite genre goods with generous portions of violence, nude whippings, bondage, lesbianism, catfights, satanic possession, and other perverted conduct unbecoming sisters of the cloth, THE SINFUL NUNS OF ST. VALENTINE is not quite as sleazy as it sounds, being equally
concerned with political commentary and an attack on the excesses of the Inquisition. The depiction of the fanatical, sadistic Father Onorio and the demented, lustful abbess is as strong a condemnation of religious hysteria and hypocrisy as ever put on film. The movie also has some dashing
widescreen swordplay and swashbuckling action and is a legitimate piece of historical and romantic entertainment, although one has to take an opening credit that claims the story is freely adapted from a Victor Hugo drama with a very large grain of salt. Director Sergio Grieco (who often worked
under the pseudonym of "Terence Hathaway") keeps the story moving at a snappy pace and his treatment is relatively restrained, apart from the feverishly lurid finale where the nuns are walled up in the tomb and start to go insane. As they claw at each other and crawl around on the floor in the
nude, one of them licks the wall to drink some water, and another one hangs herself (topless, of course). (Nudity, sexual situations, violence.)
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- Released: 1974
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE SINFUL NUNS OF ST. VALENTINE is a stylish and deliriously blasphemous Italian "nunsploitation" saga which was made in 1974 but made its US debut in 1998, courtesy of the British video company Salvation, which is releasing several Eurotrash exploitation… (more)