Friday, March 27, 2009

Behind Convent Walls (1977), Part 3 of 3: My Only Friend, The End

So here it is at last, parishioners and subjects: the third and final installment of the Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies review of Walerian Borowczyk's infamous nunsploitation effort, Behind Convent Walls and the first-ever Duke/Vicar tag-team! When we last left our transcription, the Duke and the Vicar were getting ever more inebriated, waxing poetic on the mysteries of nunly seductiveness, the wonders of Avery Beer, and the beefy slab of Awesome that is Paul Naschy.

Today in this ultimate post in the series, the Vicar suggests a new beatitude, the Duke confesses to the molestation of an inanimate object, the Damnable Duo engage in yet more entirely inappropriate Naschy love, and we deliver our final verdict on the film itself.

The contents of today's post are NOT suitable for young readers, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, or people with heart conditions or well-developed senses of morality. For everyone else, though, it should be a blast. ;)

And if you've enjoyed this double-team (and who doesn't enjoy a nice double-team, eh?), let us know in the comments--I mean seriously, would it kill ya? If the fan reaction is positive and/or outraged enough, who knows? It may inspire more reviews such as this one in the future.

But enough of my yakkin'! Whattaya say? LET'S BOOGIE!

Click Here to continue reading Part III

V: Well, Duke, as to the larger meaning of Behind Convent Walls, I think it’s about the way that human sexuality is restricted in a lot of ways that are unhealthy to everyone. Because in the end, sex is a gift from God.

D: Amen. He gave you these parts, you might as well use them.

V: And the more sex you have, the greater the grace! In fact Veronica says at one point, “And if from this hour on I commit any mortal sin, it shall be only to get punished even more vehemently!” Because the more you get punished, the more grace in the forgiveness. And I think that’s something that the Church at some point must have edited out of the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the Fuckers.

D: For they shall inherit something or other.

V: Yes.

D: Probably Chlamydia.

V: God Bless ‘em. But the idea, which I think is an idea Rasputin had, was the more you sin, the more grace is required to absolve you, and the more grace, the more good Jesus is doing.

D: It’s a net gain.

V: Exactly. So really, sex in the convent has more to do with redemption than damnation, I believe.

[TheBar Wench returneth]

D: One more round, trollop! I want a Pinkus Wheat. I can’t leave without a pinkus in me.

V: Now you’re doing it on purpose.

[Bar Wench leaveth, requesteth a shift change]

V: So to sum up: naked nuns—always good. I have to say in Walerian’s favor that pretty much all the flesh he gives us is Grade-A.

D: Oh, absolutely. Like I was saying before, if you were to go to a real convent I guarantee you it’d be full of wrinkled old crones that I wouldn’t touch with *your* dick.

V: ...

I would.

D: Be that as it may. There is one scene I wanted to talk about that I thought was really awesome. I didn’t gather what it was they were using, but when they were in the library they kept using some kind of cloth screen they could flip up sideways—was that a loom or something?

V: They were doing some kind of embroidery. Veronica was the one doing that.

D: Anyway, it was really cool because they could flip it up, and then just go fuck underneath!

The sisters sew a few more notches onto the Communal Fuck Shield.

V: The explicit scenes in this movie were mostly with Claire—and then Claire kind of goes crazy at the end and says—and I quote—“Roderigo deflowered this body…and it was BEAUTIFUL!”

D: YES it was!

V: Roderigo deflowered the HELL out of that body.

D: There were no petals left.

V: And she was seeing—she was getting that mystical experience that you get from really good sex—

D: I mean, when you’re getting rogered righteously by a rascal named Roderigo, you’re gonna see God. Reminds me of my most recent trip to Miami.

V: Duke, your experiences in these matters—I’ve spent too long in the ecclesiastical cloister.

D: You really need to get out more.

V: I hear about your adventures when you return, and it makes me green with envy. And also a little nausea.

D: Such is love.

V: After the frolic in the chapel, there’s this whole frenetic release of pent-up sexual energy in montage form—I mean, we’ve got the Meat Man fucking the nun over the crate of live chickens, we’ve got more nude yoga and bicycle exercises, we’ve got a couple of nuns on their beds next to each other, grasping one another. And then we’ve got the violinist—and I think really there’s not enough sex and violins on TV.

D: [Groans] Oh, you had to go there.

V: I did. And then we actually have a scene of the violin nun “fiddling” with herself, as it were, actually masturbating with her instrument!

Who says it's better to play with a group?

D: And what true music lover hasn’t done that?

V: Indeed, I’m regularly intimate with my lute.

D: I fucked a cello.

V: I tell you what you need—you haven’t had it till you’ve had a piccolo.

D: I’ll have to remember that the next time My Lady of Laserdisc visits. She’ll be all “Do you want the Big Bertha this time?” And I’ll say, “No—I’m going for the PICCOLO.”

V: “Blow on it! Play the scales! PLAY THE GODDAMN SCALES!”

D: [sings] “Mary had a little spooge, she had it on her cheek—and everywhere that Mary wiped…she couldn’t get it off her cheek.”

V: This has to be the foulest conversation I’ve ever had in my life.

D: You could do that so many ways: [sings] “Mary had a little spooge, it shot across her chest…”

V: “And even though it stained her dress, she swore it was the best!”

D: “And everywhere she licked her tongue, she said it tasted best.”

V: You’re a poet. Anyway, I don’t even know where we were…oh yeah, that second frolic where she’s fucking the violin, the girl who has had her dildo confiscated is MADLY whittling another dildo.

D: I thought that was awesome. “Take *my* dildo, will you? I’ve got PLENTY of these!”

V: “I’ll sweep out the chapel, just GIVE ME THE BROOM.”

D: Oh, man.

V: So what do you think Walerian’s beef was with the whole convent idea was? Did he go to Catholic school, maybe?

D: He obviously had some hang-up with the Vatican.

V: I know when I was in school, and I had a particularly stringent teacher, it was always kind of fun to imagine her bent over the Wedge of Sorrows. Which probably actually happened.

D: I think it’s really just the general principle: who *wouldn’t* want to fuck a nun?

V: Not me! I do not *not* want to fuck a nun.

D: Exactly…I think. So maybe Walerian simply *wants* to fuck a nun.

V: I think we may have unearthed the secret of the whole nunsploitation genre.

You'd Do It

V: So, to sum up—we’ve got this wonderful nunsploitation entry.

D: Where would you rank it? Would you put it above Images in a Convent?

V: I don’t know, I’d have to go back and rewatch that one. I liked it a lot.

D: I’d say it’s definitely below Alucarda. But then again, how can you reach that high? Baths of blood, naked backbends…

V: Oh, my god, when she rises up out of the blood-filled coffin? Holy shit. I’m getting turgid right now just thinking of it.

D: Tumescence: Achieved!

You're Soaking In It

V: As long as we’re going off-topic let’s talk about Alucarda, because I know it’s one of your favorites.

D: It just doesn’t get any better. And we’re not alone in this point of view—Kitty of Killer Kittens from Beyond the Grave and others have said as much.

V: You’ve got Dirty Thieving Gypsies

D: Is there any other kind?

V: There’s not, as Paul Naschy has taught us.

D: Every gypsy is thieving and dirty.

V: If only they would leave the silver dagger where it is—WHY do they always go straight for the silver dagger?

D: That little glint of silver, and it always ends with Paul doing LEAP ATTACKS that defy all gravity.

V: Curse of the Devil—the greatest leap attack ever. He’s on the balcony, he looks down and he sees the BLIND OLD WOMAN just standing there, and he thinks, “I’ve GOT to fucking GO for this!”

D: He thinks in his head, “This is it! This is the LEAP ATTACK that I’ve been waiting for my whole life! Never mind that it’s a blind old defenseless woman!”

V: And he does a SOMERSAULT off the balcony, onto the woman, and nails the landing! It just doesn’t get better than that.

D: Cinematic brilliance.

V: You haven’t seen Naschy’s Exorcismo yet, have you?

D: No, I haven’t.

V: That’s a good one. A lack of nuns in that one, but Naschy playing the priest doing the exorcism is worth the price of admission.

D: He already has the greatest lines ever—like “I’ll see you bitches in chains!” Jesus Christ, I thought I was going to explode! Literally the best 2 seconds of film ever.

V: Naschy has got to be—

D: He’s the Sex God of Cinema.

Dream a Little Dream for Me

V: And he’s got such confidence in himself.

D: Even when he’s playing a hunchback.

V: Dude, he gets LAID as a hunchback!

D: Exactly! What fucking hunchback in cinema HISTORY has ever gotten laid? NONE! Except for Paul Naschy.

V: From the first time I saw Vengeance of the Zombies…I was basically gay for Naschy.

D: Let me just say, coming into this meeting, I absolutely KNEW it was going to turn into a Naschy love-fest. We can’t get together and have beers without Paul Naschy coming up.

V: And apparently—I have this from good sources—Naschy transcends sexuality, really. Women love him, men love him.

D: Like I told you before—if Paul molested me in a dark alley, I wouldn’t report it.

V: In fact you’d slip your phone number in his pocket.

D: Exactly.

V: In Vengeance of the Zombies of course he plays the Hindu guru, he plays the burnt brother, and he plays Satan.

D: “I’m his Infernal Majesty!” Is that what he says?

V: No, that’s in Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror.

D: I get my Naschys blended together.

V: “Haven’t you guessed? I’m his Infernal Majesty!” FUCK YEAH you are, Naschy!

D: Like I said, as he walks across the room, you can hear the panties drop. He comes in, and it’s moist—it’s like Niagara Falls.

V: All the guys want to be Naschy, all the women want to have Naschy—

D: All the MEN want to have Naschy.

V: I don’t think I could maintain my heterosexuality around him—in fact, I know for certain I couldn’t.

D: There’s a couple of “Get out of jail free” cards with regards to your heterosexuality that every man gets to burn in his lifetime, and Naschy would be one of them.

V: So Behind Convent Walls3 thumbs up.

D: We can agree that Alucarda is the pinnacle, but I think Behind Convent Walls is either second or third behind it. From a pure nunsploitational point of view.

V: We talked about the church cover-up a little bit, the Jack Palance guy and the Inquistion…[belch] …We’re going to have to shut this off because I’m too fuckin’ drunk.

D: Same here.

V: But while I’ve got you here--Horror Rises from the Tomb, how about that one?

D: Gah!

V: Horror Rises from my PANTS, more like!

D: With alarming frequency! One thing I love about his movies just in general are the titles. I mean, where else is Horror gonna rise from? It’s gonna come from the fucking TOMB.

V: Another director we haven’t talked about who’s one of our favorites is Jean Rollin.

D: Rollin, yes.

V: Who in Requiem for a Vampire has the girls in there, they start out dressed in clown outfits. And at some point they stop in an abandoned barn somewhere and change out of their clown outfits, into their SCHOOLGIRL outfits.

D: Exactly, because what *else* would they wear?

The look is Casual, but They Mean Business

V: They’ve got the short skirts, the knee socks, the pigtails…and at that point I’m thinking “Whoa, this guy’s a visionary.”


V: A *FUCKING* genius! In Requiem and in Shiver [of the Vampires] he’s got the scene with the blonde girl, whose name I can’t remember right now, but she’s in several of his movies , and her partner on this fur-covered bed.

D: Yeah, and the whole set-up to that is fantastic as well. It’s like “Oh, here’s this abandoned castle, let’s go check it out…Oh, here’s a fur bed—let’s have SEX on it! Let’s get all LESBONIC on this shit,” for no fucking reason!

V: It’s at a point where the truth of the visual overwhelms the truth of the narration. You don’t need a coherent narrative thread when you’ve got two hot schoolgirls lezzing it up on a fur-covered bed.

D: It needs no explanation.

V: It’s just one of those images that sticks in your head and will not go away. Rollin has done more for lesbian vampires than any other person in the history of the world, and he is owed a debt of gratitude for that…He’s like Naschy—you either get him or you don’t. If you watch VotZ and you hate it, you’re never, NEVER going to get Naschy. But if you watch it and enjoy it, there’s really nothing better. It’s the same with Rollin—if you watch Shiver of the Vampires and think “Oh, this is boring, there’s nothing happening, they never even talk until 40 mins into it.”

D: “I don’t like these teenage lesbians, I just don’t get it…”

V: Right, you’re never, ever going to enjoy Rollin. And I feel sorry for you, I do.


V: Indeed.

V: In closing—BCW, awesome.

D: Three thumbs up—not as good as Alucarda, but then nothing is as good as Alucarda. Still a must-watch for any fan of the subgenre.

V: Definitely so. Well, it’s been a pleasure talking with you about violated nuns and Paul Naschy today, Duke.

D: As if we ever talk about anything else!

V: So from the Slaughtered Lamb, I’m the Vicar of VHS for the Duke of DVD, saying good night, and get thee to a nunnery!

"Don't say you're sorry to me...say it to Him!"


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Behind Convent Walls (1977), Part 2 of 3: Into the Lower Depths

Previously on MMMMMovies:
Yesterday the Duke and I began our meticulous discussion of Walerian Borowczyk's infamous nunsploitation effort, Behind Convent Walls. (Click here to read Part I.) When we left our excellencies, we had just finished discussing a scene in which a near-unconscious Sister Clara is taken by the bare-bottomed cad Roderigo, in a long, lingering love (?) scene. Today we pick up where we left off in the transcription of the raw audio, with the Duke and the Vicar deeper in their cups and more free with their glee.

Today--the Capenter Nun's prize-winning project, a consideration of what makes nuns so darned sexy, and some completely tangential yet entirely appropriate Naschy love.

Warning: the even remotely religiously reverent should stop reading now and go to the 700 Club website or something. We'll all be happier.

Really. I'm not kidding.

Okay. You were warned!


Religious Ecstasy

V: But Roderigo's questionable seduction of Clare is not the only explicit scene we had—I know you’re a big fan of the whittling girl.

D: Yes, yes.

V: What happens is, the Meat Man is outside, and he’s chopping wood—IYKWIM—and a piece of the kindling flies up, because he’s such a ramrod strong guy he could put his cock through a wall—

D: Everything is a metaphor in this movie.

V: Everything is innuendo.

D: There’s nothing left unturned; every scene has a purpose.

V: So he is chopping his log, as it were, and a piece of his wood flies up through the window, IYKWIM.


V: And one of the nuns grabs the LONG, HARD piece of wood—

D: And thinks, “Oh my God! This could TOTALLY be a phallus!”

V: She gets a piece of glass to cut with, and then goes back to her room and whittles herself a dildo.

D: And this isn’t any normal dildo—we’re talking about a cucumber-esque, 3-inches in diameter wooden phallus. But the CAPPER, as it were, is a perfect rendition of the face of Christ on the base of the dildo!

"It's not what it looks like..."

V: The craftsmanship is really amazing.

D: I can just imagine the props guy for this movie. “Now what we need is a dildo.” “All right, I can carve a wooden dildo. I can knock one of those off in half an hour.” “But what we need on the base of it is, THIS!” And they hold up a picture of Jesus!

V: Our Lord and Savior.

D: Yes. I can imagine this guy back at his wood shop, carving Jesus into the base of a dildo, thinking, “Yep—it’s Hell for me!”

V: Especially an Italian guy!

D: Exactly! “There’s no escaping this—I might as well not even confess, because I’m just going straight to Hell!”

V: There’s no penance, for this.

D: “There’s no amount of Hail Marys or Our Fathers that could POSSIBLY make a difference now.”

V: Let’s go ahead and talk about the scene—because I know you want to—where the Christ Dildo gets put to use.

D: Oh, my god—not only do we get explicit penetration, but we get BLOOD. Which, I was like, “Holy fuck!”

V: Literally!

D: Not only are they showing this thing going into this nun, but there’s BLOOD on the thing…

V: She throws the thing into a basin of water, I believe, and there’s these clouds of blood rising…

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

D: And there’s some ON it, as it’s going…

[The Bar Wench returneth, a shocked look on her face]
BW: Something else?

D: You know, for some reason I really feel like some chili cheese fries.

BW: Um …okay. [she leaveth, in haste]

V: We did get a very explicit scene there, and it just went ON and ON. Not only was she using the Christ Cock in such a blasphemous and AWESOME way, but she was…it wasn’t enough for her to feel it—

D: Oh no no no! She had to see it, going into her! Through the ingenious use of a hand mirror, she watched in various positions. What killed me was, she watched for a while lying on her back, you know, and then, “Well, you know, I wanna get on my knees,” so she turns over, tries to look in the mirror, but she can’t really see what’s going on.

V: And that’s not gonna work.

D: So she keeps maneuvering around, trying to get the best view…of, basically, Christ fucking her. Which you’d WANT TO SEE, right?

V: I mean, you’ve GOTTA see that!

D: I mean, Christ is carved on the base for a reason! You want to know that it is in fact Jesus fucking you. And let’s be frank here--who doesn’t want to be fucked by Jesus?

V: I know *I* do.

D: Exactly! Sign me up! [laughs]

V: It’s a gift from God, really.

D: Just think what would take hold, from His seed spilled into your rectum. What unholy thing would spring forth!

V: [long pause] I…I just really don’t know where to go from there, man. You’ve rendered me speechless, and probably damned by association.

D: It’s a talent I have, and a curse.

V: Moving on... So later the Mother Superior comes in, and she discovers the Christ Cock—

D: And she wants to know what’s going on.

V: Yeah, “What *is* this thing?” Because she’s never seen anything like it, I mean, she’s never—

D: No, she wouldn’t have!

V: She’s never put anything in her cooch, her entire life.

D: Her cooter is dry as a bone.

V: So she asks the young nun, “What is this for? What were you doing right before I came in here?” And the killer for me is that the nun completely shows her! She’s like, “Well, okay, I was doing THIS! I was fucking myself with Jesus!”

D: “I think I got a splinter! But it was worth it!”

V: [laughs himself to damnation, takes another sip of his beer] God damn. The Avery Reverend is kicking my ass.

D: You can see why “feared by Satan” is on the label.

V: Talking of which, I was surprised that Satan didn’t show up in this movie.

D: Yeah, because usually there’s at least some kind of imagery, if nothing else.

V: Right. For instance in Malabimba…


Ask for it by name

V: The same. She was…[distracted by shininess outside pub window] Okay, a hearse just went by.

D: Driven by what looked like Keith Richards. In fact, it may have been!

V: Keith Richards is actually dead, you know. It’s just that the drugs haven’t worked their way through his system yet. If he ever cleans up, he’s just going to disintegrate, like in the Poe story, "The Case of Msr. Waldemar"…

D: Right.

V: Or, not Waldemar, I’m thinking of Daninsky. Naschy—we can’t go through a session like this without Naschy coming up.

D: No—it’s been almost 30 minutes, without a Naschy reference. I think that’s a record.

V: I don’t know whether Naschy ever made a nunsploitation movie.

D: No, but he SHOULD have. Oh my god…

V: He’s still alive. There’s still time. He could direct one, *and* he could play Satan.

D: Agh…

V: For our readers, the Duke just made the “O” face.

D: I’d rather him play Satan, and it could be directed by Coffin Joe. Of course, that would be a world-ender.

V: Indeed—“starring Paul Naschy, directed by Jose Mojica Marins…I mean, the Apocalypse would happen, right there. But it would be totally worth it.

D: I would watch it, and then kill myself.

V: Well, you would have to. Or maybe you couldn’t, because your eyes would be bleeding…

D: My brain would turn to mush, I’d let out a massive roar as I orgasmed into my robes, then I would expire.

V: It’s really a shame that Naschy and Mojica have not gotten together.

D: Yeah, it really is. Because that would be the perfect storm of awesome.

"The Horror! The Horror!"

V: I mean, I really—we’re getting afield of the topic, but I think we should record this for posterity—I really think that Naschy…you know I love Naschy. I mean, you know I would totally go gay for Naschy.

D: Oh yeah. Who wouldn’t?

V: Who wouldn’t, exactly. But I think that, as a director—Naschy, he’s got the childlike joy, he’s got the monsters, I love Paul Naschy. But I really think that Mojica is a better filmmaker.

D: Agreed. Naschy doesn’t have the depth of depravity that’s required to make the most truly unholy of films.

V: So if he were an actor in a movie written and directed by Jose Mojica Marins, then the world would have to end.

D: Exactly.

V: In my dream world, which is a much better world than the world we live in, that pairing would happen. Well, I guess we should get back to Behind Convent Walls…

D: Yes.

V: Now, there is a difference—we were talking about the Devil not showing up in this movie. There is a difference between nunsploitation movies in which—

D: I’m sorry, I have to pause here—I notice in the Vicar’s notes, he’s got in all-caps: “SWORD CANE!” [Laughs] That’s awesome.

V: Yes! The Mother Superior with the sword cane.

D: It’s so inexplicably awesome.

V: She’s stabbing through mattresses trying to find pornographic drawings…

D: It’s obviously the perfect device for a Mother Superior to have, but it’s the first time I’ve actually seen it put on film.

V: Now the Mother Superior meets a rather ignominious end, as she is poisoned with an overdose of opium from the drug-addled nun they have in there. They put opium in her tea, and for some reason it’s fatal.

D: It’s just a hot shot of opium.

V: And when she dies, it occasions one of the great scenes in the movie, because the nuns just completely FLIP OUT!

D: With absolutely no oversight.

[The Bar Wench returneth yet again]
BW: You guys doin’ all right?

D: Damn and blast your eyes, woman! Can’t you see we’re conversing here?

V: No, wait, my friend—I’d like to order a Xingu Lager.

BW: [pauseth] All right. [leaveth]

D: I apologize, but really, this insubordination among the help is inexcusable. [tents fingers, arches eyebrow] She must be punished.

V: Something tells me you were thinking of appropriate punishments well before her first transgression.

D: Some people are born needing punishment.

V: I think she arrived at her need sometime after puberty.

D: Let’s hope so, at any rate.

V: But moving on—when the Mother Superior’s death is announced in the convent, in a wild frenzy the nuns just dash out into the hallway, running naked up and down the corridors—as you do.

D: Except for the wimples! They always wear the wimples.

V: Now, we haven’t discussed why it is that nuns are so sexy. And I know that you, as a connoisseur of the nunsploitation genre, would have some thoughts on this subject.

D: Hmm. [strokes chin thoughtfully] What is it? The innocence? The defilement of the good? The thought that these nuns are cloistered away, obviously indulging in these kinds of things behind closed doors? It has a certain power over the imagination.

Lingerie, 1700s Style

V: Another of our favorite nunsploitation movies of course is Alucarda, which for me is still the pinnacle. But the more I think about Behind Convent Walls, the more awesome it seems to me. I mean, basically it’s your standard “Randy Nuns in the Convent” kind of thing, but you add the explicit Jesus dildo scene, you add the explicit sex, the oral sex with Clara

[The Bar Wench returneth—setteth down the drinks, leaveth most hurriedly]

V: [looks after her suspiciously] You don’t think she’s spying, do you? I mean, for THEM?

D: The Inquisitors? They wouldn’t dare! Not after the rogering I gave the Grand Inq last time. There’s a reason they call him “Tuck-a-mata” now.

V: Anyway—you’ve got Veronica, who’s the sorority girl type here, she goes kind of crazy at the end and starts believing she’s got the stigmata because she’s hurt her hands on a crown of thorns made of roses, which I think is a brilliant image. There’s a lot of stuff with the roses and the thorns, with Veronica especially. She gets blood on her finger early on from a thorn during the Frolic in the Chapel, and she sucks the blood from her finger VERY suggestively.

D: And awesomely.

V: After she finds out that her aristocratic relatives have gone to America and she has no power because they’re away, she goes CRAZY. She starts feeling up a statue of the Virgin Mary, for instance.

D: Also awesome.


V: The blasphemy in this flick is really off the charts.

D: That’s another thing I wanted to touch upon, because obviously this guy Walerian had a bone to pick with the Catholic church.

V: IYKWIM! It seems to be something with the Italians especially, which is no surprise. I mean, they’ve got the Vatican City right there in the middle of Rome.

D: So there’s nothing more taboo than banging a nun. PURE SHOCK CINEMA in Italy would obviously have to include the defilement of the Holy Roman Church.

V: Now at the very end, as in many of these movies, we have THE INQUISITION coming in.

D: Which no one expects.

V: I was *completely* caught off guard by that. The guy who comes in, though, the Bishop, he looks a lot like Jack Palance to me.

D: He does!

"I crap bigger than you!"

V: And his whole thing is, at the very end he makes this prayer to the Lord, and he prays that “Whatever happens in the convent…STAYS in the convent!”

D: Just like Vegas.

V: Exactly.

D: You know, I just wonder in the real world how much convent lesbianry the Vatican has had to cover up.

V: All of it, I’d imagine. But it would be an interesting anthropological study.

D: It would be. Because you know it’s going on. It *has* to go on.

V: Well, yeah. Perhaps…I don’t know—how much of our perception is affected by these movies, or how much do the movies reflect reality?

D: Yeah. I’m sure if we went over to Italy, and dug up some remote convent, it would be full of old crones.

V: Indeed. The whole “real-life lesbian” story is generally not nearly as alluring as it’s been portrayed on film.

D: I mean, that may go over in some circles, but it’s not *my* “Images in the Convent.

V: Oh, there’s another great one, Images in a Convent. You can read that one on Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies. [belch] The readers should know that the Duke and I have been partaking in *very* high alcohol beer for quite a while now. I actually have a beer standing here I haven’t even touched.

D: I have some Reverend squeezin’s to get rid of.

V: Oooer! But we need to return to our favorite character, The Meat Man. Because he meets a rather ignominious fate as well.

D: Yes, his demise is much celebrated.

V: When the Mother Superior ends up dead, unfortunately for our Meat Man he was inside the convent, banging one of the nuns over a crate full of chickens.

D: Which is an image *everyone* needs to see!

V: So he’s trying to escape the convent while everybody is trying to figure out who killed the Mother Superior, and of course *he* gets blamed, unjustly. He’s chased down by the villagers, and I believe he’s killed at that point, or if not he’s at least beaten very severely. And really all he wanted was to get his meat into the convent.

D: He just wanted to work his joint.

V: Put a hole through the wall. Bang a few nuns. And who among us hasn’t had similar thoughts?

Feeling Dirty Yet?

Thanks and thanks again to Tenebrous Kate for providing the copy of the film that both the Duke and the Vicar devoured with much rapacious hunger! And tune in tomorrow for the third and final installment in this, the longest review ever on MMMMMovies. Please read! Otherwise we will have been banned from our favorite pub in vain!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Behind Convent Walls (1977), Part 1 of 3: DUKE and VICAR Roundtable!

[Here it is, the post you've been waiting for these three months--if you even remember when it was first promised back in December. :) The Duke of DVD and the Vicar of VHS got together last year at a local pub, much to the horror and consternation of the townspeople, and recorded nearly an hour and a half of audio, which has taken this long to transcribe and edit. Below is the first third of the result.

An event of this magnitude couldn't go by like any other review, and so in order to fill the gaping holes in the appreciaton of the film left by the Duke's bawdry and the Vicar's drunkenness, we've asked Horror Blogging Royalty and Nunsploitation Maven,
Empress Tenebrous Kate to give us a this scholarly, erudite, and awesome introduction to the film before we two leap fully into the game. So Kate, the floor is yours--we'll take the sofa. :) ]

Tenebrous Kate: "Walerian Borowczyk’s 1978 film Behind Convent Walls walks a tightrope between earthy farce and tragedy that might seem more at home on a Sixteenth Century stage than captured on film. Unlike other titles in the nunsploitation canon, Borowcyz’s take on the Women In God’s Prison theme is a bawdy romp that is free from the depictions of Satanism and torture that texture other similar, flicks. This is still a scathing indictment of the Catholic Church, but Borowycz’s approach is to strip out the dark fantasy elements and force the viewer to confront the potential tragedy that results from the suppression of natural human sexual impulses. This vision is in contrast to the densely symbolic and dream-like world of a director like Jean Rollin, or the compulsive camera-eye of a Jess Franco.

"Borowycz’s literality infuses every aspect of the film. The cinematography by Luciano Tovoli (veteran of Dario Argento’s Suspiria and Tenebre) combines a hand-held camera with sensual soft-focus that creates halos of light around the faces of the nuns. A restrained color palette provides a sense of visual unity—as the title suggests, the film takes place entirely in one nunnery, and the colors are almost entirely limited to white, black, red and a woody neutral. It’s a stunning film to look at that emphasizes the beauty of its main players—the experience of watching this film is like seeing a fabulously naughty image painted by Vermeer and then brought to life.

"But back to those “natural human sexual impulses” that are the focus of this tale. This movie brims with sex and all natures of couplings are explored, sometimes in graphic detail. Softcore hetero and lesbian scenes abound, from furtive girl-on-girl breast-groping in a confessional (bonus points for the fourth-wall-busting “oh no we’re too shy” response of the ladies to the voyeuristic camera’s gaze) to a passionate outdoor deflowering to a rough-and-tumble quickie over a crate of chickens. A surprisingly explicit close-up scene of a nun masturbating with a homemade wooden dildo rounds out the “something for everyone” on-screen sex report. There’s an effort to make the sex in this film look real and erotic without verging onto the territory of plastickey pornography or a fetish fulfillment checklist. Elements like the hand-painted erotica that one nun uses to trade for forbidden food or the very sexual crush that another nun has developed on Jesus himself add a innocence and even sweetness to the proceedings.

"This isn’t so much a work of the fantastique as it is one of magical realism. The story takes place in the real world, but there are inexplicable quirks throughout that one must accept rather than struggle to explain. It serves to reflect conditions and issues that exist in reality rather than to represent them directly.

"In keeping with the bawdy nature of this film, I think it’s best if I get out from behind the lectern and turn this over to two gentlemen who can guide you through some of the weird and wonderful details of what goes on Behind Convent Walls. Duke and Vicar—have at!"

Can you feel it?

[Thank you empress! And now to the first section of the audio transcription of the Duke and Vicar's BCW piss-up, wherein we settle on what to drink, exchange banter with ther serving wench, and sing the praises of the Meat Man.]

V: Okay, because our public has asked for it, it’s the Vicar of VHS and the Duke of DVD talking about a movie together for the first time. And my first question is, Duke, where have you been lately?

D: Oh, man! Where haven’t I been? [Laughs] Who haven’t I been in?

V: The Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps? Although come to think of it, I wouldn’t count it out.

D: Yes, he’s a saucy little knave.

V: It’s good that we’re talking about ecclesiastical matters, because the movie under discussion today has a lot to say about the everyday life of people who have devoted themselves to the Lord. And that is Behind Convent Walls, directed by Walerian Borowczyk, which I believe was 1977—

[A Bar Wench, clad in dirndl and knee-socks, approacheth]

Bar Wench: You guys want something else?

D: Not right now.

[The Bar Wench leaveth]

V: Sorry, the Duke had to send our bar wench away.

D: Yes, I’m engaging in libations.

V: In fact, I wanted to commend you on the choice of pub today. Is it the Slaughtered Lamb?

D: Yes!

V: Anyway, director Walerian Borowczyk, I believe, had a lot to say about nuns and the way that they live.

D: First of all, they’re in service to Christ.

V: It’s true, they are the Brides of Christ, and as such they have to bear themselves in a way that reflects well on their otherworldly Husband, which I think they do very well in this film.

D: Apparently service to Jesus requires frequent bicycle-kick exercises.

Too Fit to Quit

V: Yes, one of the nuns—I believe it was Sister Clara—she was very much into yoga as physical fitness, and did very many yoga exercises, in front of a mirror, usually. Lots of lotus-position butt-flexing, for instance, which Walerian gave us many lingering shots of. And you know, you’ve got to keep yourself in good shape for J.C., because He’s not going to be after you if you’ve got the flab happenin’. I mean, He’s Jesus. He can have whoever He wants.

D: That’s right. He can snap His fingers and have whoever, so you’d better be looking good.

V: So as a movie in the nunsploitation genre, it’s basically the same plot over and over again: you’ve got these nuns, they’re shut away from the world—

D: They’re horny.

V: They’re horny. And then, shit happens. Occasionally the Devil will show up to help them out with their sexual urges, but in this case there is no Devil.

D: No, just randy townspeople.

V: Just randy townspeople who are always coming into the convent. And in fact something that occurred to me as I was watching this movie was that, if it had had more jokes and less religious iconography, it would have been a lot like Porky’s.

D: Color me intrigued.

V: Bear with me. You have the same character types—for instance you have the snooty Sister Victoria, and she’s like the spoiled sorority girl. Her dad’s an aristocrat, and she’s not going to take any crap from the Mother Superior because she can buy and sell her, you know. Then you’ve got the goody-two-shoes, Sister Clara, who is devoted to Christ. She’s the only one in the convent who has actually devoted herself to Christ rather than being locked up there by her family. And then you’ve got some other characters: you’ve got the Druggie, a girl who’s addicted to opium; and the nerdy, artist girl who will paint pictures of erections for the other nuns in exchange for honey and grapes and things. Which is a good kind of friend to have, I think.

So I was wondering: which of them fits most closely with the Duke’s lifestyle?

D: I would probably be the one who likes to whittle.

V: Tell us a little bit about this craftsperson.

D: Yes, this industrious nun has figured out that since Jesus is not going to come down to penetrate her physically, she is instead going to create his the form of a wooden phallus!

V: Doppelbanger, more like!

D: Well, you know, Jesus was a carpenter.

Almost there...

V: And she was able to whittle this Holy Dildo with a piece of glass.

D: Very industrious of her.

V: It showed a lot of determination. We'll discuss her more later...but to get back to my Porky’s analogy--if you’ve got the convent as a sorority house, then you’ve got all the randy villagers trying to break in for a kind of a panty raid. Or in this case, a wimple raid. Or come to that, a virginity raid. Because everybody’s trying to get in…

[The Bar Wench returneth]

BW: So what did you decide on?

D: The Avery Mephistopheles, wench!

BW: Let me check to see if we’ve still got that. [She goeth]

D: I have to drink anything endorsed by Satan.

V: Indeed. Lucifer knows from booze.

Anyway, these characters who are trying to get into the convent to get at these nuns are kind of interesting too.

D: The meat delivery guy being my favorite.

V: Yeah, the very first chapter on the DVD is entitled “MEAT DELIVERY,” which I think tells you *exactly * where we’re at.

D: This guy’s delivering meat in many different ways.

V: He’s this burly bearded character who comes in bearing this HUGE slab of meat, and then proceeds to do nothing but make inappropriate innuendoes with the nuns.

D: Yes, saying that he could thrust his member though a wall if he wanted to.

V: I think I have the actual quote here—he says “Ramrod! With a mighty thrust I could put a hole right through this house!”

D: And there was much twittering and blushing and dropping of dishes.

Our Hero

V: But the nuns were pretty saucy with that too, though, because they kept talking about how he was “working his joint” and such.

D: And they kept feeling his muscle, and stuff like that.

V: I think they even said that he was “beating his meat” at one point!

D: Yeah, yeah. The highlight for me, though, with regards to the meat delivery guy, has to be him using his fucking HAIR GREASE--or ear grease perhaps, I could never tell—being Italian, I think he uses grease off his hair to lubricate the rusty joints of a gate…

V: [Laughs] I wasn’t quite sure where you were going there. My mental imagery was somewhat different.

D: Do you remember that?

V: I do.

D: Oh my God. He pulls the hair behind his ear, gets the grease off his hair, and lubricates the door.

V: It’s important that the gate not squeak, when you’re sneaking in to bang a nun in the chapel.

D: You don’t want to distract the nuns from the next scene, which is the violin extravaganza—

[The Bar Wench returneth, bearing bad news]

BW: We’re out of Mephistopheles.

D: Gads and Be Damned! Well…how about…[indiscernible comment]

[Bar Wench twittereth, blusheth, and leaveth]

D: My order is in.

V: I’ll bet! But the thing about the nuns in this movie that differentiates them from other nunsploitation movies that I’ve seen, is that largely these are not women who have devoted themselves to the church—these are girls who have been put there by their families.

D: Right, taken shelter there, or what have you.

V: It’s kind of like a private school in a way, and the Mother Superior is the “mean old principal.” So really they’re rebelling against the strictures of their cloisterization through the whole thing.

D: All fun and no play make Jack a dull boy.

V: Or vice versa.

D: [Laughs] No fun and no play.

V: It’s all or nothing with you, isn’t it? [Laughs]

D: Exactly! That’s what I’m telling my manservant at all times.

V: So the early scene that you reference was the “Frolic in the Chapel,” where they’re doing their religious hymns, being devoted and beatific…and then all of a sudden ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

"We weren't doin' nothin'."

D: Sparked by a violin, no less.

V: Yeah, the violin player starts playing a secular tune rather than a spiritual tune, and all bets are off at that point.

D: Immediately two nuns run to a confessional and disrobe, and begin fondling each other!

V: Topless confessional, an idea whose time has come!

D: It was like, “Hello, Vicar!”

V: And they keep coming back to that too, because someone will come to the confessional and pull the curtain aside, and you’ll see the two nuns there with their breasts out—still with their wimples on, though.

D: Always. Always keep the wimples on.

V: And a little bit later someone else will go there and pull the curtain back, and they’re still there, still fondling, and it happens several times. And Clara takes the opportunity to do some of her yoga kicks we were mentioning earlier. These are some rather feisty nuns here—they’re not blushing Brides of Christ by any stretch.

D: Just how I like ‘em!

V: Now let’s talk about the Mother Superior, because you’ve always got to have some foil to put things against, and she’s as I say kind of mean the old principal. But also the only Mother Superior I’ve ever seen who has a FUCKING SWORD CANE.

D: Which she employs to great effect.

V: She is NOT screwing around.

"Oh, father, what am I going to do with these girls? I mean, you know, besides the obvious."

D: She’s also seemingly everywhere at once.

V: She goes through girls’ rooms looking for trappings—


V: --the trappings of sin, which at first are just mirrors, because obviously if girls are looking in mirrors that’s a bad thing, but then EVERYBODY has a mirror!

[The Bar Wench returneth, even more crestfallen than aforenow]

BW: We’re out of that too.

D: Baby Jesus Butt-plug! Something made by Avery, surely you have in stock.

BW: We’ve got the Reverend, Salvation

D: Reverend? That sounds awesome. Is that like 20 dollars or something?

BW: It’s not $20, it’s a little more expensive. It’s a bigger bottle, it’s high alcohol.

D: Is it on your bill of fare?

BW: It’s on there—they changed it up a while ago, and I still haven’t gotten…[peereth over the menu, which rests on the Duke's loins]

D: I would remember seeing the word “Reverend,” because I would have wanted it.

V: It’s a shame there’s not an Avery “Duke.”

D: Well, I guess bring me that Reverend, if it’s not too many ducats.

BW: It bugs me that I can’t find it.

V: (aside) IYKWIM…

BW: I know it’s in there, though!

V: (aside) I. Y. K. W. I. M…

D: I’ll take it though. [BW leaveth] Apparently I’m going to drink something from a Reverend.

V: Yeah, well…it won’t be the first time!

Ask for it by name

D: [Laughs] I’m reminded of that trip to Transylvania back in ’87…

V: Ooer! So the Mother Superior is basically quashing anything that is joyful in the convent.

D: She’s a quasher. It’s what they do.

V: And the sisters are rebelling against that. Which I think is a worthwhile thing—I mean it’s kind of like Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, only if Ferris were a sexually frustrated nun.

D: [Thoughtfully] I’m gonna bankroll that. That needs to be made!

V: Ferris Beuller’s Day Out of the Convent! [Laughs] So it’s about these young women who are sexually frustrated, they’re coming into the bloom of youth, and they’re being smacked down at every turn by these religious strictures, and the only way they can rebel against that is to have lots and lots of sex.

D: Which is a good way of rebelling against anything, imo.

V: Let’s talk about this character of Clara, who’s the goody-two-shoes, but nonetheless likes to do naked yoga in front of a mirror.

D: Don’t we all?

V: I believe she’s glorifying Christ in that, or at least that’s her point of view.

D: I would assume so.

V: And her bicycle exercises, which Walerian gives us SEVERAL times, at least three instances of her doing naked handstand bicycle kick exercises…

[The Bar Wench returneth, bearing booze at last]

BW: The Reverend came with two glasses, so I brought them both, I figured he [indicating The Vicar] might want to try it.

D: But of course, wench!

V: He’s good that way, he shares with me. (aside) IYKWIM…

BW: [twittereth girlishly, leaves]

D: [admiring the Avery Reverend label] That’s awesome. Would you do the honors, Vicar?

V: [Pours, Sips Reverend] APPROVED.

D: [also quaffs] Dang! Tasty as a kick in the teeth from a high-heeled boot! [Reads from Reverend label] “Created by God, feared by Satan, loved by All.”

V: That could be my epitaph!

D: It might very well be! That’s fucking awesome. Those guys at Avery GET IT.

V: BTW, Avery is now the official brewer of the Duchy and the Vicarage. Please send us free beer.

So anyway what happens with Clara is, later in the movie, the local priest who takes the nuns’ confessions, Father Luigi—

D: Who really has the best job in the history of jobs.

Confess to Daddy Luigi

V: Yeah, he gets to listen to all these young nuns talk about the sinful things they’ve done, and you can tell he REALLY loves his work.

D: He gets quite sweaty, in fact.

V: He has a nephew named Roderigo who comes in to…I don’t really know why Roderigo comes in—oh, wait, I remember now: he’s selling art prints, and he gets to the convent to try to sell the Mother Superior some stations of the cross or something, and while he’s in there he gets to stand behind a cage, behind these bars, and watch the nuns at their nunnery—kind of like a petting zoo. Then he entices Clara to come close to the bars, and he GRABS her and starts molesting her!

D: Like at a petting zoo.

V: Which is apparently EXACTLY the right thing to do with Clara, because how does she react? She falls right into his lap!

D: She loves the molestation.

V: Well, she’s been waiting for this all her life. So they contrive to meet somewhere in the woods and then we have a very explicit love scene between Roderigo and Clara. Well, I should say I’m not sure it’s really a “love” scene, because first he meets her, and she wants him a lot, but he rejects her. And then she faints, and he carries her off unconscious, and lays her down on the ground, and I guess as long as she’s unconscious he feels it’s all right to just TAKE her.

D: This is the way most parties end at my house.

V: And why I employ a designated coachman. Anyway, that was a long and very lingering scene. We get to see Clara’s face while she sees God, as it were, and then a series of extreme close-ups of Roderigo’s thrusting, flexing ASS. Which I know, Duke, you enjoyed quite a bit.

D: Oh, quite. It was very manly.

[Come back tomorrow for Part 2, wherin we get deeper into the movie proper while also getting deeper in our cups, discussing in detail the Infamous Holy Dildo Scene, investigating the question of why nuns have such an appeal, and waxing poetic about Paul Naschy. Oh, like that wasn't going to happen!]

And special thanks again to Tenebrous Kate for providing the scholarship and the pixels!

Don't go away, now...

Click here to read Part II of the Behind Convent Walls double-team!

Click here to jump the the end and read part III!


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