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...
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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 »
The UK cinema certificate was rejected by the BBFC in 1979. It was eventually released on DVD in 2004 after 6 minutes 15 secs of cuts which removed scenes of torture and nudity, as the lead actress was below the age of 18 when the movie was filmed. See more »
Fifteen-year-old Maria (Susan Hemingway) is caught by Father Vicente (William Berger) playing with her boyfriend in an innocent manor. The Father tells the girl's mother that she is possessed by Satan so the mother turns her over to a convent. Once there the girl realized that the Father as well as the main mother (Aida Vargas) are in pact with Satan and plan on turning her over to him. This isn't your typical nunsploitation film because it actually has a very strong message bashing the Catholic Church. A lot of these films are just out there to see lesbian nuns mess around and while we do get some of that here, the sexuality isn't the main goal. Franco is certainly trying to show the evils behind the walls of Catholic priests and this subject matter is certainly going to offend a lot of people just like it did when the film was originally released but after all the stories from the past five years it's easy to say this film and Franco were ahead of their time. Both Berger and Vargas turn in very strong performances and truly nasty ones as well. The entire film belongs to Hemingway who is simply brilliant here. Hemingway made a total of seven films in her career and all of them were with Franco, which I've watched six of. She's certainly a very good actress and it's a shame she got out of the business or was dumped by Franco but I've yet to hear any stories about what happened to her. She was around 15-years-old when she made this film so the scenes of her naked or being raped are going to turn a lot of people off but I think it brings a realistic nature to her performance as well as the film. There's nothing hardcore here but the scene where she is offered up to Satan is pretty disturbing. It appears Franco was working on a larger than normal budget here and he manages to turn over a very good looking film with some nice cinematography as well as a great music score. Franco has made a lot of exploitation films in his career but this isn't one of them. The message of the film is quite clear and very strong and in the end this ranks as one of the director's best films.
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