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The uncontrollable virginity of women has become as dangerous to the Church as uncontrollable sexuality. There are those who question all aspects of women and who see the female as the harbinger of the Devil, bewitching all men with her cunning.
[seeing the Abbot's man Richard pursuing her servant girl]
Is he bewitched, Father Henry?
Aye, he is... and I dread the day when the honest affection between a man and a woman could be seen as the work of the Devil.
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British imprint Redemption Films have been releasing obscure Eurotrash films since the early 90s. Their early VHS releases of films such as Tombs of the Blind Dead, The Living Dead Girl and Virgin Among the Living Dead were instrumental in triggering my love of cult cinema when I discovered them at my local video store. In 1989 Redemption founder Nigel Wingrove made a short film, Visions of Ecstasy, which was banned outright by the BBFC on grounds of blasphemy. Wingrove fought the BBFC in court - losing his home and many of his possessions in the process due to the hefty lawyer costs - but lost the case. To date, Visions of Ecstasy remains the only film banned in the UK for blasphemous libel. Now it seems Wingrove has decided to stage a "comeback" with another "blasphemous" film, again of the Nunsploitation variety.
The basic plot of Sacred Flesh centres around Mother Superior Elizabeth who is possessed by devils. The convent's Abbess is rightfully concerned about her and writes a letter to a local Abbot requesting him to come and check her out and maybe exorcise some demons. That's about all there is plotwise, the rest of the film's brief runtime is taken up with the Mother Superior's nightmarish visions, long monologues on sexual repression within the Catholic church, and the typical lesbo-nun action, flagellation, bondage-crucifixion, etc.
Mother Superior Elizabeth is torn by Catholic guilt, between the repression of lust she is taught, and the sexual abandon she craves, her hallucinogenic revelations involve: on the one hand Mary Magdalene condoning sexual freedom and condemning the Catholic church, and on the other the "Death Nun" extolling the virtues of chastity and threatening hellfire & damnation. I imagine in Nigel Wingrove's mind he is probably quite proud of himself for producing yet another artistic, highly controversial piece of blasphemous filth but in reality this chunk of shot-on-video junk is basically low budget soft porn masquerading as highbrow art. Mary's rambling, awkwardly worded anti-Catholic tirades come off as pseudo-intellectual bullshit, that's purely there as an attempt to add some class to this low budget tits 'n' ass show.
For a medieval piece set in the early 1900s I find it strange that the nuns sport copious amounts of whorish make-up and silicone, some even flaunt bellybutton & tongue piercings and freshly shaved pussies. I wasn't surprised then to discover that half of the cast are actually British porn stars moonlighting as "actresses".
Now, usually I'd really dig this (or any) kinda sleaze especially when there's the added bonus of skanky nuns, but I think what initially put me off here was the fact that Wingrove is trying so hard to emulate the spirit of 70s European exploitation and completely fails (although the horrendous acting and shitty script didn't help much either). Trying to hide your lack of budget behind some flashy editing and lighting then throwing in some didactic bullshit does not a good film make.
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