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After the mysterious death of her mother, a young woman chooses to enter a convent to find out what happened. As soon as the door closes to the nunnery, the nuns start torturing the woman. Also, the woman has to deal with a God-hating archbishop and a lesbian mother superior. Written by
It's pretty difficult to fully comprehend the background to this movie, when you contemplate about it. "School of the Holy Beast" is a nunsploitation film but there are as good as no Catholic people in Japan and most of the actresses probably didn't knew what the hell a convent was! The only thing director Norifumi Suzuki knew for certain was that sex movies with nuns were extremely popular in Europe around that time and he saw this as an open opportunity to do the same for the Japanese exploitation-market. Maybe that's why "School of the Holy Beast" isn't anything like those void and trashy Jess Franco movies, but actually a very stylish and reasonably well-scripted film! "School..." doesn't feature the textbook plotting of nuns worshiping the devil and even the lesbian interactions between the young girls aren't the film's main events. This merely is a good old-fashioned tale of revenge, set within the walls of a convent and compellingly criticizing the abuse of Catholic power. Despite obviously enjoying her sexuality in the outside world, young Maya seems determined to become a nun in one of Japan's strictest convents. She never knew her parents but she discovered that her mother also was a nun here who died in mysterious circumstances. As the plot develops, Maya's only interest seems to be unraveling the convent's hypocrite network of sexual perversion, torture and murder in the name of Catholism. She and rebel nun Ishida become good friends who bring men into the convent and encourage other oppressed sisters to stand up for themselves. Don't get too frightened by this rather ambitious-sounding plot, as the film features more than enough sleaze & violence to satisfy even the most demanding exploitation fanatic. The girls get severely whipped, raped by a Raputin look-alike priest, tied up with thorny stems and beaten with bouquets of roses (that's not as pretty as it sounds). Things get even more sadistic when French/Japanese über-nun Nathalie Green shows up, since she immediately implements some of the vilest torture tricks ever, including a bizarrely fascinating ritual to decide whether or not a girl is a witch. "School of the Holy Beast" is astonishingly beautiful to look at, with imaginative cinematography and an excellent use of color shades. The set and costume designs are magnificent, and surprisingly surpassing the quality of most scenery used in European nunsploitation movies! The music is enchanting and the nudity, although plenty of it, is always illustrated with flair and good taste. The young starlets here, especially Yumi Takigawa Emiko Yamauchi, belong to the prettiest and most talented Japanese actresses I ever beheld. This movie now ranks among my favorite nunploitation-efforts, along with "The Devils", "Flavia The Heretic", "Alucarda" and "Behind Convent Walls". Highly recommended!
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