Thursday, March 24, 2011


Alucarda is a strange girl. I'm not sure if she's naturally predisposed to sketchy behaviour, or if it comes from being raised in a convent.

She wears nothing but black and skulks in the shadows. She collects rocks and calls them secrets. She speaks in conspiratorial tones as if everything she says is a new revelation, only to be whispered about in hushed silence. None of these things would lead you to think she was inherently evil, but when Alucarda does become possessed by demons, you can only shrug and say "Yeah, that figures."

The convent is run by the Sisters of the Perpetually Bloody Snatch. No, that's not the official name of the order, it's just what I like to call them. The Sisters wear grubby white habits, all of which are stained blood-red at the crotch. It defies any sort of explanation really. (Or, if it does, it is beyond me.)

Things don't start going badly at the convent until Justine (Susana Kamini) arrives. She's been recently orphaned and sent to live among the nuns. Justine and Alucarda become fast friends and it's not too long before they're frolicking in the woods surrounding the convent. It's on one of these excursions that the two happen upon a gypsy (Claudio Brook).

He's a goat-bearded man with fluffy, sheep-skin pants. (Think Torgo without the overgrown kneecaps.) He tries to charm the girls but his poetic gibberish just freaks them out and they flee to the safety of a mausoleum. I told you Alucarda was a strange girl: she immediately starts poking around the caskets and manages to release some sort of demon that seemingly possesses the girls.

It's bad news from here on out. Later that evening the goat-faced gypsy materializes in Justine's room at the convent and strips both her and Alucarda naked. Incantations are chanted, the skies rain blood, and the girls are transported to a satanic orgy. Old Scratch himself makes an appearance, though his only participation in the debauchery is rubbing everyone's heads. Frankly, that may be far creepier than if he'd actually humped someone.

Needless to say, the girls' attitude towards the Sisters grows a bit hostile after this. And spewing heresy in bible study does little to help the situation. This outburst, and an incident in the confession booth, reveals Alucarda and Justine's true nature. It also reveals that some nuns have Brooklyn accents.

Of course, Father Lázaro immediately calls for an exorcism. A naked exorcism to be exact. A naked exorcism with knives. Do I need to tell you things don't go well? (But really, do exorcisms ever turn out well?) Lázaro and the Sisters seal their fate, performing unspeakable acts upon Justine's body.

One of the benevolent sisters and the town doctor attempt to intercede, but it's too late. Justine is dead. Or is she? When they inspect the mausoleum where she has been interred they find Justine isn't lying still in her coffin, she wide awake and thirsty for blood.

Now, I must note a few things about the doctor. First, he's played by the same actor that portrayed the demonic gypsy. Secondly, he's wearing a pair of glasses that are clearly from the wrong century. Thirdly, the only thing he's carrying in his little black bag is a bottle of holy water. Sure, that last thing comes in handy as he douses Justine, but in the long run, it turns out to be a bad move.

See, now Alucarda is really pissed. She wants revenge. And she gets is. One by one she destroys the sisters. She screams "Baphomet!" and a nun explodes into flame. "Beelzebub!" and there goes another. This goes on and on until the convent is engulfed, a pyre of burning sisters satisfying Alucarda's taste for vengence.

Overall, this is a fun film, you know, for one that features heavy on the torture and sadism. But you can never go wrong with exploding nuns.

Directed by Juan López Moctezuma • Unrated • 1978 • 85 minutes

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