Friday, July 19, 2013

Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1977)

Director: Jesus Franco

Starring: Susan Hemingway, William Berger, Herbert Fux, Ana Zanatti, Aida Vargas, Vitor Mendes, Isa Schneider, Herman Jose, Patricia Da Silva, Victor de Sousa, Nicolau Breyner, Esther Studer, Dagmar Burger, Anton Diffring

More info: IMDb

Plot: When Father Vincente (Berger) catches 15 year old Maria Rosalea (Hemingway) fooling around with her boyfriend, a visit to her destitute mother results in Maria getting a one-way ticket to the Serreda Iris cloister where she must atone for her sins. After Mother Alma (Zanatti) confirms that she is still a virgin, Vincente begins to weave his wicked web, persuading his charge to relay the contents of her erotic dreams. In a desperate cry for help, Maria asks one of the nuns to post despatch a letter to her mother, a decision that backfires as her missive ends up in the hands of Mother Alma. This time, retribution is to be far more severe as Maria discovers her sacred virginity will be offered to Satan himself.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!  

Franco is known for is abundance of sleaze and not for his storytelling but sometimes he managed to combine both.  The other day I watched THE DEMONS (1973) and I was duly impressed that, while there was a good deal of nudity, he made a fun and interesting film.  A few years later he revisits the convent for this picture.  He brings the exploitation elements that he holds so dear and despite the plethora of naked women, he's surprisingly reserved in lingering on it for too long.

It's not nearly as good as THE DEMONS as this one barely held my attention.  The nudity helped but it wasn't enough.  I do need substance sometimes you know.  Of the dozen or so Nunsploitation pictures I've watched in the past couple of weeks this is the worst but it's not a bad picture, just a dull one, not that you'd get that idea from the screenshots.

One aspect I liked that has been missing in all of the previous Nunsploitation pictures (there was one that barely touched on it though) is Satanism.  The gals (and dude) here loves them some Satan and need a virgin.  It's sometimes a good idea to keep one around just in case.

The title is misleading.  Young Maria writes one letter to her mother pleading for her help in rescuing her from these Satan worshipers and another letter at the end of the film the day before her execution, asking God to forgive her, blah, blah, blah, which she lets fly out of the tower window.  This studly guy happens upon it and and saves the day.  Sorry. Spoilers.

They're hardly love letters.  That's immaterial I suppose.  It's all about the horrible things that happen to this poor girl.  There's lots of nudity and torture and that's the real draw.  I needed a more compelling story (I know, right?).  This picture is dull. Watch his much better Nunsploitation film, THE DEMONS instead or any of the other films on the Nunsploitation list that came before this one. 

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