Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Original Title: Satanico Pandemonium
Year: 1975
Director: Gilberto Martínez Solares
Writer: Jorge Barragán (story), Adolfo Martínez Solares (adaptation), Gilberto Martínez Solares, (adaptation)
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070636/
Genre: Horror/Nunsploitation

A young nun is tempted by visions of forbidden sexual fantasies to cross over to Satan.

Well, it's official! I have popped my nunsploitation cherry. Until today, I had never seen a film like this one. I know the basic setup, but just hadn't sat down with one as of yet. Leave it to Mexploitation Month to shatter boundaries!

This film is set in the 17th or 18th century in rural Mexico, but i really think this story could have taken place at any point with only a few things changed. Outside of the costumes and some buildings, the era was very nondescript. Although Luzbel, a.k.a. Lucifer (Enrique Rocha) wouldn't have sported as sweet a cape had it been a more modern tale most likely!

Rocha makes only a few appearances in the film, and has even fewer speaking appearances, but he has a pretty interesting look... sinister and handsome probably as Lucifer really would be.

Sister Maria (Cecilia Pezet) is far and away the centerpiece of the film, and Pezet does quite a good job at portraying the troubles that Sister Maria deals with. From frustration to lustful glances, she is pretty convincing as the tormented nun.
From the very start, she is tempted by this fuzzy man that pops in and out of sight with the symbolic fruit in tote. I wonder why she never eats the fruit yet still goes completely bat shit crazy. Regardless, I think she did a strong job playing both sides of that fence, showing a range from fear to cockiness and back again.

Probably helps that she's easy on the eyes as well, as she has that habit down quite a bit, be it for whipping the piss out of herself while wearing some spiky belt, or enjoying some extracurricular activities like fondling tits, corrupting innocent youth, or shanking a neck prison yard style.

Good times!

The story of the film is solid, but I think it could have gone farther. As it stands, Satanico Pandemonium seems like a good entry level tale in to this particular subgenre, but never quite reaches any point of true shocking exploitation that one may come to expect. Director Gilberto Martínez Solares and cinematographer Jorge Stahl Jr. present the story well with a color palette very reminiscent of some late-60s horror I have seen before. Despite some blatant budgetary limitations (some of the sets like the cellar of the convent and a cave later on were pretty damn cheap), Solares keeps the film moody and dark, and it goes a long way. Shadows cast, dark alleys, etc. all work toward this overall feel.

Some scenes of violence are done quite nicely, including some torture sequences, despite that obvious lack of budget again. You can definitely see the collapsible blade action going on like the toy knife you used to buy at a state fair or Halloween aisle, but they make up for it with copious amounts of blood. No gore really to speak of outside the fake blood, but some images that are definitely memorable.

Later on, the film gets a little silly, which I personally love in these Mexploitation films, but it could have gone a bit far with nuns prancing about playing lutes and eating grapes underneath a glitter painted wooden chandelier. And the ultimate resolution of the film, which I won't give away here, was disappointing to me. It was far too easy, and the sort of solution used too often in poorly written drama.

I don't have much to say about it, but I did think the music was good in the film as well. There was typical organ style score with the classic (and sometimes funny) eerie mad scientist sound effect made by some sort of early electronic instrument I'm sure. I don't know what it is called, but it is something definitely recognizable.

This film had a lot of potential, but I did feel like it could have gone farther. It came off a bit conservative - This feels odd to say since it is after all a story about a convent. But I was really hoping my first foray into nunsploitation would pack a sleazier punch than this one ultimately did. It's not bad, but not great either.

Recommended, although I'm sure there are more notorious nun exploitation horror films around.

Score: 6 / 10


Matt-suzaka said...

First of all, naked chicks dancing around and playing guitars is enough to sell me on this one!

I've been wanting to delve into more Nunsploitation films and this one is in my mile long netflix queue, so I will see it one day. Sounds like it should be decent enough for the genre and that photo of the hot water being funneled into that girls mouth is pretty sick!

Great post as always!

pickleloaf said...

oh, it's not water. i'll leave that for you to discover. fucked up!

hans is a big fan of this one i learned today.