Posted by: John Gholson
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.
Posted by: John Gholson
I can’t speak for how faithful this adaptation of Marquis De Sade’s Justine (aka Cruel Passion) is, but if it doesn’t stick directly to the text, I have to imagine it sticks to the author’s intent (the best it can, that is, without being pornographic). Under the direction of Chris Boger, and the lens of Coen Brothers stalwart Roger Deakins, Justine is an erotically-charged, bleak little number about a girl (Koo Stark, supposedly playing a pre-teen, though she’s obviously and thankfully in her 20’s) who clings desperately to her innocence while ricocheting from scene to scene where that chastity is put to the test in harrowing ways.
The film doesn’t skimp on the depravity, featuring rape, necrophilia, mother-son incest and more, but before you draw the conclusion that this is some despicable sleaze-fest, it really isn’t. Boger, perhaps limited by the censors, picks his battles, and when he does, he always chooses sexual frankness over outright titillation. Many things are discussed or implied without being directly shown. There’s not much nudity in here for an “erotic” film from the 1970’s, and Boger chooses to construct the entire film as little episodes of trouble for Justine, building up to its nihilistic, tough-as-nails conclusion.
Posted by: Brian Salisbury
If you haven’t seen William Lustig’s seminal undead law enforcement horror film from 1988, part of me wants to beat you over the head with a nightstick. But a larger part of me, the part that isn’t currently being indicted in several states, is envious that you now have the ability to see it for the first time via Synapse Film’s stunning Blu-ray release. For years, Maniac Cop languished in limbo between VHS and DVD. What few DVD releases were available during this dark time were just a half-step above complete bootlegs. But then, in 2006, Synapse Films gave us the only loving-treated, passable release of Maniac Cop and there was much rejoicing. Now, Synapse has just released the first ever (at least in the U.S.) Blu-ray edition of the film and we couldn’t wait to read you its rights…because it actually doesn’t have many wrongs.