Splatter Time Fun Fest 2014: Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo (The Nun & The Devil, 1973)

the nun & the devil

Nuns are a tricky bunch, aren’t they?

Screenplay By: Tonino Cervi & Domenico Paolella
Directed By: Domenico Paolella

Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo is all about subversion through perversion. It’s my understanding that this film is actually rather tame compared to most nunsploitation flicks. Still, the fact remains that the aim of Domenico Paolella’s film is to subvert through the method of perversion. That’s a fine aim, and in a better film I might have appreciated the subversion more. Unfortunately Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo is not a better film, it’s a poorly made film that doesn’t manage to do much with its attempts at subversion or perversion.

Truth be told I’m no fan of any organized religion. Most, if not all, organized religions are corrupt or have terrible histories. Showing this to me is nothing new, and that places the impetus at the feet of the film to present the corruption and terrible history in an interesting manner. The film fails to do this as it slogs from scene to scene without much interest garnered on my part. Two nuns kiss, and all I cans say is , what’s the big deal? If the attempts to shock me with perversion are falling flat that leaves only subversion.

Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo is attempting to subvert the Catholic church. It does subvert some tenets of the church, but to what end? It’s not enough to simply say, “look, these are nuns, and they’re having sex, and killing, and being sinful.” That accomplishes very little, and doesn’t actually subvert much. Maybe there were convents like the one shown in Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo, but presenting this convent in a ham-fisted and uninteresting way doesn’t shed light on any problems within the history of the Catholic church.

It’s hard for me to put into words why Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo is such a mediocre film. It’s not a criticism I like to use often, but Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo most fits the label of a film that’s too boring and accomplishes next to nothing. There’s no reason to care about what’s happening on-screen, or to any of the characters. The nunsploitation aspect is far from shocking, and it doesn’t help matters that the direction is of the lesser variety. Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo wants to shock the viewer and leave them in a state of perpetual awe. This is never achieved, instead the film leaves the viewer in a state of the doldrums wondering when something interesting will actually happen in the film. A film based on exploitation can’t be uninteresting, but Le Monache Di Sant’Arcangelo is, and that’s the main reason it’s never better than a mediocre motion picture.




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