16-year-old Maria is forced into Serra D'Aires convent, secretly run by Satanists. Her confessor is in collusion with the Mother Superior. Maria is tortured, forced into sex with men, women... See full summary »
16-year-old Maria is forced into Serra D'Aires convent, secretly run by Satanists. Her confessor is in collusion with the Mother Superior. Maria is tortured, forced into sex with men, women, and the horned Devil, and told that it's all a bad dream. She writes a letter to God, and a Knight rescues her, only to fall into the hands of the Inquisition, put on the rack, and condemned to death like Joan of Arc. Written by
The film was complete in 1975, but it went through a number of censorship bans (the first on 3 March 1976), appeals, rejections, and editing for release in different markets in 1977 and 1978. See more »
Many people accuse Jesus Franco of being a talentless hack, but he has an amazing ability to bring artistry and watchability, and occasionally even a little class, to some of the most sordid subject matter. It's hard to rave unreservedly about a movie that features a naked sixteen-year-old girl stretched out on a rack and tortured with a pair of metal tongs--a movie whose subject manner includes masturbating priests, lesbian nuns, satanic ritual sodomy, and all other manners of depravity and blasphemy--yet it's a testament to Franco that the film remains highly watchable and even manages to be somewhat of a serious historical indictment of the Catholic church. Since this at first seemed to be another of Franco's sick WIP movies, I was initially curious why he had cast the unknown Susan Hemingway in a role usually played by Lina Romay, but it turned out to be a good choice. You actually feel sympathy for Hemingway's innocent-looking character when she's tortured and sexually abused by corrupt and lecherous nuns and clergy, whereas these scenes probably would have been merely crass titillation if Romay (who was many things but innocent wasn't one of them) had played the role. This movie makes you wonder what Franco could have done if he'd ever made a serious film that did NOT plumb the depths of sexual violence and human depravity. But I guess it wouldn't really be a Franco movie then, would it?
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