I’m woefully ignorant of nunsploitation films, and The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine (available now on Blu-ray) ended up being my first dip into the unholy waters of the genre. Here’s what I expected from it: nudity, sacrilege, torture, and lesbians. And wouldn’t you know? The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine has all of those things (though light on sacrilege)! Surprisingly, it doesn’t have any one of those elements in excess, and it surprised me most as being a capable romantic adventure, light on sleaze…well, relatively speaking.
The film begins with the young lovers Estaban and Lucita reuniting after Lucita was forced into a convent by her parents as a means of keeping her away from Estaban. Estaban can’t make his presence public and hides away in the recesses of the convent while Lucita endures torture and rape at the hands of the oversexed Sister Incarnation. It’s a very simple set-up that allows for a good amount of drama and suspense while Estaban and Lucita plan their escape.
Ultimately, it’s a minor film, and other than an extended sequence in which the nuns get a cruel and unusual punishment doled out to them for their wanton ways, it’s fairly light on horror. This actually binds The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine to the other new Redemption Blu-ray release, the barely-a-giallo Cold Eyes of Fear. Neither one are horror films, exactly, but both maintain just enough elements of horror to get their feet in the door.
Sinful Nuns is the more fast-paced of the two by a wide margin, and I had a much tougher time getting into Cold Eyes of Fear. The story, which mostly takes place in a single location, sees a man and a woman hooking up at a bar, but when they go back to the man’s place to “seal the deal,” they find themselves caught up in a robbery already in progress. Director Enzo Castellari would make some exciting movies in the course of his career, but sadly Cold Eyes of Fear is not one of them.
Both films are new to high-def, and sport somewhat beat-up transfers from the source materials but both with solid contrast and colors. The Blu-rays have noticeably hissy audio, and in a rare move for a pair of Kino releases – no special features. I can really only recommend Cold Eyes of Fear if you need to fill holes in your giallo knowledge. Sinful Nuns, on the other hand, I can support as good gateway nunsploitation. It’s zippy and entertaining; trashy enough to satisfy, but energetic enough to surprise you.