Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Flavia the Heretic (1974), Or The Power of Tarantula Compels You!

It is I, the Duke, returned from my latest sojourn into the nether regions of the world; those dark, secret places that only men of strong mind and iron resolve may venture into. Not a fortnight ago, my carriage happened to be flying along an empty road in southern Moldova, near the black depths of the Dniester River. We chanced upon a lone inn out in the wilds, a ramshackle place which seemed to befoul the very air around it. Blessed with a keen sense of intuition, I ordered my driver Alan to stop. The inn bore a sign depicting the Pope undergoing the Pear of Anguish, and a name carved in runes underneath, written in the Deeptongue, which I dare not repeat here. Knowing instantly I would be welcome here, I strode through the iron-bounded door.

All talk ceased instantly as I entered, the room so dank I could barely make out the tables near me, saying nothing of the hidden rustlings I heard in the darkened corners. A stooped old woman shuffled forward out of the shadows. Her face streaked with suet, her dress barely rags, she cackled at me and beckoned me forward. Wordlessly I followed, as conversations started picking back up, spoken in hushed tones and in languages that made my mind hurt upon hearing.

The old crone led me to a small, twisting corridor in the back of the inn. Soon I was standing before a coffin, the old woman nowhere to be seen. Knowing I could not back down now, I studied the box before me. Sized only large enough to fit a child, the sarcophagus was carved entirely from jet black basalt, and chisled with runes so that they covered every inch. I did not attempt to decipher them, I merely reached forward and opened it. Contained within, settled among silk cloth the color of dried blood, I found a treasure I thought long lost to humanity:

Flavia the Heretic. Heresy is something all nuns eventually get up to. How can they not, wearing those sexy habits, devoid of any earthly pleasures. Blaspheming and profaning themselves becomes second nature. Flavia the Heretic deals with one such nun. Our story begins with young Flavia sneaking around with her friends to survey a battlefield after the fighting is finished. A dying soldier catches Flavia’s eye and she goes out to meet him. He’s a handsome, dashing man, clearly hungry for love, and a new blood supply.

Suddenly, Flavia’s father pulls up on a horse and sees her and the soldier staring at each other. Apparently this is cause enough to behead the soldier and place his head on a pike, and then send Flavia off to a convent for life. Tough, but fair. We see Flavia arrive, have her hair cut, and her service to Christ is begun. She cannot, however, forget the manly manliness of the fallen soldier, and dreams of him often.

Suddenly, we jump what must be 10 years at least into the future, to see Flavia continuing on with her prayer and general nun-like activities. All does not remain calm, however, as suddenly some cultists show up. They worship a god called Tarantula and their church services appear to consist mainly of ribald chanting coupled with dry humping any object within reach, be it a stone support column or the marble pulpit in a church. Where do I sign up!?

This debauchery causes some of the other nuns to tear their clothes open (including one nun who has nipples you could dial a phone with) and begin joining in with the fun. Not Flavia, oh no! The chaste Flavia watches in horror as even her Mother Superior joins in. News of this reaches the wrong ears and pretty soon the convent is under examination by the Italian Inquisition. No one expects the Italian Inquisition! Their chief weapons are oily hair and Dago mustaches, coupled with a ruthless, fanatical devotion to dripping hot wax onto nude nuns. Again, where do I sign up?!

As the movie goes on, Flavia weathers many different storms. From a new Duke who insists on raping a peasant woman in the middle of a hog pen while the hogs watch in abject horror, to the arrival of Muslim warriors. This, however, isn’t all a bad thing, for Flavia finds a lover! He is the spitting image of her long lost warrior man, and she wastes no time in bedding him. Very quickly she joins his cause, even donning armor herself, to rid the area of filthy heathens.

Along the way we have a most disturbing dream, featuring a naked nun falling out of a hanging animal carcass, the public castration of a horse, and a naked nun crucified on a cross, all of which elevate Flavia into the realm of must watch. In the end, I would have to give Flavia 2 solid thumbs up. The story isn’t that great, since it’s a lost love story and has no place in the realm of nunsploitation, but then again it does serve as a catalyst for some crazy Inquisition escapades and more than one scene of nuns dry humping inanimate objects, so it does have that going for it.


The Vicar of VHS said...

My dear Duke! Praise the Video Gods that you have returned! And with such bounty!

I'm sure I need not point out the obvious to our readers: I write reviews, but you, Duke, create art.

As for Flavia, it's definitely still as timely as ever, what with the state of the world politically, not to mention the resurgence of the Cult of Tarantula. A movie whose time has come...and come again.

Karswell said...

How great would it be if there was a cable or satellite station that had the balls to show nunsploitation films on Easter?

Michael J. said...

Mein Got, Karswell, you're a visionary. As a kid, my local station used to run King Kong every Thanksgiving. Never saw the relation myself -- if anyone cares to illuminate me, please do -- but to this day I can't look at a gorilla without getting a vague craving for cranberries. Imagine the associations your suggestion might lead to...

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