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|Index||21 reviews in total|
THE OTHER HELL (1980) *** Franca Stoppi, Carlo De Mejo. In this Bruno Mattei film, a young priest (De Mejo), is sent to a convent to investigate a series of bizarre and brutal murders. The nuns think Satan is to blame; the priest thinks the murders are the work of a psychopath. The truth turns out to be something in between. Stylish direction by Mattei, a stunning performance by Stoppi (who was even more brilliant in Joe D'Amato's Beyond the Darkness), and a pulse-pounding score by Goblin combine to make this a solid offering. Recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(aka: THE OTHER HELL) Nowhere near as good as Gianfranco Mingozzi's FLAVIA THE HERETEC (1974) or Mariano Baino's DARK WATERS (1994), this one ranks at the bottom of the barrel as far as 'nuns from hell' films is concerned. Even director Bruno Mattei in the DVD extra admits as much. We start with a nun who is embalming a dead nun, suddenly going berserk and cutting out the dead nun's uterus. She then stabs to death another nun who is assisting her with the embalming. A little later, she starts to bleed from her hands, mouth and feet as if she is being crucified. She basically winds up bleeding to death on her bed. It's a couple of so-so scenes. Believe me, this whole thing sounds more dramatic than it really looks. A priest is called in to investigate this and suddenly his bible catches fire. Then a younger priest (Carlo DeMejo) is called in to assist the older priest in his investigation. As the older priest is alone in his study tending his fireplace with a poker, he suddenly catches on fire and burns to death. The devil takes the form of a distorted mask with red-glowing eyes (looks cheap) or a faceless nun who looks like she has white linen pulled over her face. What the distinction is between the two, is never explained. Then the mother superior, who earlier in life had an aborted baby by the devil(?) stabs the younger priest. Just as she's ready to finish him off, the devil now appears as a young girl with the lower half of her face horribly burned. The Mother superior stabs the young girl from behind, but then suddenly, the corpse of the gardener (who was killed earlier by the dogs) chokes her to death. There's even more to it than that but I'm not gonna bother... You'll have to find it out for yourself. If this whole thing sounds pretty messed up, it is. This convoluted mess looks like it was done on the fly very quickly with little coherence to the script. Plus the Goblin soundtrack sounds ridiculous and out of place for a convent setting. Why not use an old recording of a Gothic choir instead? The Shriek DVD has an interview with director Mattei where he explains that the film flopped in Italy (not surprising) and that the ex-convent where it was filed at is now home to the Italian secret service. (laughs). It was shot in 16mm, blown up to 35mm but the widescreen transfer looks OK. Still, I really think this whole thing should have stayed in the can where it belonged. It's pretty sloppy. 3 out of 10
This Italian nunsploitation epic has been referred to be a plethora of
adjectives, including sleazy, low-grade, and stupid. Perhaps these
descriptions fit, but there is definitely some fun to be had for the
Weird, seemingly supernatural events plague a convent, and priest Carlo De Mejo tries to figure it all out. The perverse proceedings start off interestingly, with a nutty nun carving out the uterus of one of her sisters, ranting maniacally about how "the genitals are the doorway to EVIL!" (The first, but thankfully not last, instance of hilarious "shock" dialogue.) This is a Big Moment; the movie contains a number of Big Moments strung together by indifferent, uneventful stretches in which people argue, a creepy gardener lurks about, etc. Often possessing little regard for style or visual creativity, the film ping-pongs between effectiveness and boredom; the high points are memorably bizarre and demented, while the lows will make you seriously consider a nap.
The makeup effects range from good (a nun breaking out with stigmata) to atrocious (burn scars resembling plastic vomit). The photography is overly dark and burdened even further with bad color (everything is given a sickly yellow cast, as if they forgot to clean the camera lens). De Mejo isn't very interesting, but Franca Stoppi is marvelously over the top as bitchy Mother Vincenzia. Along the course of the story, elements from a number of more successful films--Carrie, The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, Suspiria--are lifted and tossed into the cauldron. On the subject of Suspiria, the one truly high-quality aspect of The Other Hell is Goblin's pounding electronic score.
Indeed, this movie is not going to win any prizes, but trashfiends will probably get a kick out of it despite the flaws. If you find naughty nun sinema to be your garbage of choice, this may be the dumpster for you.
A priest is sent to investigate an outbreak of apparent demonic possession at convent.There is certainly something dark and sinister at work there,but is it really Satan or maybe has it something to do with the Mother Superior's gloomy secrets?"The Other Hell" by Bruno Mattei is an atypical Italian nunsploitation flick.There is absolutely no sex or nudity,still there is a little bit of gore.The film offers some rather tasteless moments like genital mutilation or blood-vomiting nuns.The acting is terrible and the dialogue is stupid,but the film is fast-paced and surprisingly entertaining.So if you like Italian horror films give this one a look.My rating:7 out of 10 and that's being very generous.
Bruno Mattei was possibly the most worthless of all the European
horror-exploitation filmmakers. He lacked the style of Jess Franco or
the intelligence of Jean Rollin and really had little to offer. Films
such as "Rats: Night of Terror" and "Hell of the Living Dead" aren't so
good they're bad, they're simply unbearably inept. Before viewing "The
Other Hell", I expected the absolute worst nunsploitation flick out
there. Surprisingly, it was moderately enjoyable. Its still one of the
weakest films in the bizarre subgenre I've seen, but there were enough
enjoyably trashy moments I was entertained. The plot itself had enough
holes to drive a Hummer through and didn't make a bit of sense, but it
made the film a nicely disorienting experience. Also, the gore
sequences were laughable but in a good way.
Still, this is far from being a trash classic. Mattei was the single dullest director imaginable, so the picture's pacing is highly uneven. There are a few dull stretches. Also, Mattei has demonstrated in the past that he loves killing animals for our "entertainment". While I can overlook this if the film itself is good (such as "Cannibal Holocaust" or "Cockfighter"), but with schlock like this I find it rather inexcusable. However, worst of all, is that there's little nudity or even attractive females. When I see a nunsploitation film, I'd generally expect some attractive convent sisters in little to no clothing. Bruno Mattei, for his love of any other exploitable element, shows restraint here. All in all, "The Other Hell" isn't as bad as I expected and worth maybe a rental for trash fans. (5/10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well I would start by saying that this is a bizarre movie, but the sub genre of nunsploitation is entirely bizarre, so that doesn't help you any further. Fact is, however, that Bruno Mattei's "The Other Hell" starts being strange from the very first minute, as a nun randomly dwells through the grisly catacombs of her convent and meets up with a second nun who's in the middle of mutilating a third (and dead) nun's genitalia! We ought to assume that this dead sister was a severe sinner, as the second nun refers to her vagina as "the doorway to hell". Oh, and then suddenly a red-eyed monster appears briefly! Apparently, there are more sinister events going on in this particular convent, as the Vatican appointed young priest Valerio to investigate the strange murders there. Are these nuns possessed by the devil himself or has simply one nun gone on a violent killing spree? This is probably Bruno Mattei's best movie (alongside "Women's Prison Massacre"), but still not on the same quality-level as other contemporary Italian horror. The script is incredibly incoherent, the acting performances are pretty damn lousy and - as usual - Mattei shamelessly copies cool ideas from other movies. That bloody dog-attack, for instance, is obviously inspired by Dario Argento's "Suspiria". Nonetheless, there are a handful of exciting gore-sequences, some twisted dialogues and a remotely suspenseful climax. Luckily Mattei could also rely on another dazzling electrical score by Goblin and some genuinely uncanny set pieces. The prototype nunsploitation-movie (like Joe D'Amato and Jess Franco make them) usually contains a lot of sleaze, brutal whippings and lesbian sex, but (sadly?) you won't find any of that in "The Other Hell". This is an overall entertaining exploitation flick, yet only avid cult-collectors should spend money on the fancy Shriek Show DVD edition. If you like the concept of convent-horror without all the unnecessary sleaze and nudity, I also highly recommend Mariano's Baino's "Dark Waters".
A priest is sent to a convent to investigate the sheer lunacy of a
bunch of nun's gone nuts performing acts of lust and depravity. But the
closer he looks into the situation the more supernatural it becomes.
Does the devil roam the halls terrorizing the nuns or is it something a
bit more sinister.
I'll get Mattei credit; he tries to inject a little something more in your average, ordinary (nunsploitation storyline (if there is such a thing). It's not entirely successful in that regard but never-the-less he manages to pull off this entertaining but a little slow and the bit of a Stephen King twist to the ending helps it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A Nun named Sister Christina becomes lost in the skull and bone strewn
catacombs under her Convent. Eventually she finds Sister Assunta who is
currently embalming a dead Nun in what looks like a cross between a
dungeon and Victorian laboratory with lots of bubbling test tubes and
strange looking scientific equipment, hey this is Bruno Mattei and
that's all you need to know! After some insane rambling about "the
genitals are the doorway to evil!" Assunta mutilates the dead Nun's
vagina, kills Sister Christina and dies herself soon after. Father
Inardo (Andrea Aureli as Andrew Ray) tries to question the other Nun's
in the convent but all his attempts are meet with silence apart from
Sister Rosaria (Paolo Montenero) who tries to talk with Father Inardo
and warn him, but starts to cough up blood and is taken away to be
treated. Later that night, as Father Inardo performs an exorcism to rid
the convent of evil, Sister Rosaria develops the stigmata (wounds on
the feet and hands that resembles Christ's) and dies. Father Inardo
reports back to the Bishop (Tom Felleghy) and says he feels the convent
is rife with evil satanic forces. The Bishop thinks Father Inardo's
conclusions are about as useful as a used tea bag so he appoints a
'special investigator' called Father Valerio (Carlo De Mejo) to take
over and complete the rest of Father Inardo's work. Father Valerio
thinks that the Nun's deaths are committed by someone who has a secret
and will kill to hide it, and not by Satan. He begins to question the
Nun's but finds them very hostile towards him which he thinks is
because of Mother Superior Vincenza (Franca Stoppi) who is very
dictatorial. Soon Father Inardo has an 'accident' and is killed. Father
Valerio decides to take drastic action to solve the mystery, which
after some detective work he does. The convents shocking truth is
revealed but will Father Valerio live long enough to tell anyone about
Better known to English speaking audiences as The Other Hell this Italian production was co-written and directed by the notorious Bruno Mattei under the pseudonym Stefan Oblowsky. I personally thought that this film is more competent than most of Mattei's output that I've seen, but that isn't saying much. The script by Mattei again as Oblowsky and Claudio Fragasso is a bit of a mess and it's all rather stupid, we even get a zombie Nun at the end. And the way Valerio discovers the truth is totally ridiculous, a spirit possesses his projector and shows him the truth like it was a film! You have to see it to believe it. The revelation at the end is OK and ended things quite nicely, just don't think about it too much. There's surprisingly no nudity apart from a naked dead body and not much gore, someone is attacked by dogs and their throat is bitten out and a burnt corpse is about as nasty as it gets. There is also a sequence of the grounds-keeper Boris (Franco Garofalo as Frank Garfeeld) chopping the head off a live chicken with an axe, so animal lovers beware! The special effect that depicts Satan is poor, it has glowing red eyes that are obviously just lights that flash on and off. The exploitation elements we expect from a film such as this are sadly lacking. The acting is OK for this type of thing but they aren't helped but the predictably poor dubbing. My favourite part was the attic full of large dolls and mannequin's hanging from the ceiling which looked quite creepy and different, but why would a convent have an attic full of dolls and mannequin's hanging from the ceiling? Like many things in this film it's never explained. I also liked the catacomb scenes too, the walls are strewn with skulls and bones but again why this is part of a Nun's convent I don't know. The general atmosphere is pretty good as is the production design and photography by Giuseppe Bernardini is professional enough. The music mostly by Goblin appears to have been stolen from another film, which doesn't surprise me as it's not really suited to the on-screen action. It's OK overall but it isn't anything particularly special, just about worth watching if you like this type of Euro/exploitation film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE OTHER HELL is a mess of a nunsploit/horror film that starts off
strong and then fizzles out throughout the rest of the run-time.
Seemingly pieced together from ideas gathered from BUIO OMEGA,
SUSPIRIA, and ROSEMARY'S BABY - but never really comes close to
matching any of those films.
The plot focuses around a nunnery where mysterious murders are taking place. A young priest is brought in to investigate the assertions that it is the work of the Devil. The priest believes that the murders are not supernaturally related and intends to prove his theory...
THE OTHER HELL started off VERY strong with a really cool opening scene that I was hoping would set the tone for the rest of the film. Unfortunately, it didn't. The film quickly became dull and derivative, with some scenes appearing to be almost directly lifted from other films. The strong Goblin soundtrack itself was ripped straight from BUIO OMEGA as is the lead actress. THE OTHER HELL had a good bit of potential but just never acted on it. I'd still recommend a look to Italian horror fans - but don't get your hopes up too high...6.5/10
Nunxploitation is often called the bottom of the barrel of exploitation
genres because they're the cheapest to make and the most devoid of
imagination and entertainment. Rent some nun costumes, use a church as
your set, use classical public domain music, have some orgies of both
blood and sex, cut print done in one take.
The first thing to know about nunxploitation is that they ALL follow the same theme. The secret lives of nuns reveal that nuns aren't really nuns, or even Christians, they're really Satanists. They're also all lesbians, rapists, and murderesses. Yup, ALL of them in EVERY movie! Hence their lives aren't really secret since we all know what's coming.
That's pretty much what 'The Other Hell' is. It offers nothing new as far as nunxploitation other than being directed by Bruno Matti. Let me guess, he's going to title the film 'Terminator 2' and claim it was based on a Peter Benchley novel.
The plot: set in... whenever, it's never explained. Present day? The Spanish Inquisition? We never know. It opens with a young nun discovering that one of her sisters (not literally) has murdered their sister (not literally) because she became pregnant. The crazed killer nun has ripped the woman open starting with her vagina which she says is the "gateway to the devil."
The most amusing element of the opening scene is the vast array of boiling chemistry beakers. Seriously! Dr. Frankenstein never had a chemistry set this elaborate. So is this a lab, has the killer nun been doing unholy chemistry? Never explained! It's clearly just more nightmare fuel to add to the set to make it look scary. The satanic imagery is understandable as the character is a Satanist but why the elaborate chemistry set? All she's missing is the Tesla coils.
So anyway, after confessing to her crime she kills the young nun as well. The convent conspires to lie to the investigating priests that the deaths were accidents. Accidents? She's cut in half! This reminds me of the scene in 'End of Days' when a character is crucified and it's ruled a suicide! Even if someone did try and kill themselves via crucifixion it wouldn't work! They'd run out of hands!
The killer nun is ruled to be possessed by Satan and must undergo an exorcism while a younger priest disagrees arguing the woman is just mentally ill. Either way, shouldn't she be in a padded room somewhere? Not remaining in the convent?
Basically Bruno Matti spends the entire film throwing as much nightmare fuel on the set as possible without explanation. Bedrooms have life size dolls hanging from the ceiling from chains without explanation. Tons of satanic images. There are even pitbulls and Dobermans in cages. All that's missing are the Tesla coils or posters of Chairman Mao to make things scarier. Even the nuns acknowledge their convent is creepy. When a priest tries to bless it they prevent him from fully exploring it. No wonder their sisters are turning homicidal living in a place like this!
In conclusion I've never been a fan of nunxploitation and this film only reinforces my feelings. It's a genre built on cheap scares and no imagination. This is one to skip even if you're a fan of nunxploitation.
Several reviewers have stated that is isn't bad for a Bruno Matti film. Given the true pain of Matti's other films this is hardly an endorsement.
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