The Senator Likes Women

Italian senator Gianni Puppis is on the verge of being elected President, but he has a problem. The senator has just found out "He likes women". After years of steadfastly dedication himself to his political career and abstaining from the pleasures of the flesh, senator Puppis's carnal urges are erupting uncontrollably. After being caught on film squeezing the bottom of a visiting female dignitary Puppis finds himself the victim of blackmail. The problem is until now Puppis had no idea he was doing these things, but once his obsession with the female posterior is revealed to him the bouts of ass squeezing come at more regular intervals. Senator Puppies has no choice but to get help for his affliction and with the election coming up he needs it fast. Luckily a Dominican monk who runs a nunnery in the countryside believes he can help, but is it really such a good idea to put the rear end obsessed Senator in a nunnery with 21 beautiful young nuns?

Once at the nunnery Puppis finds his "Sickness" in full swing and it's not long before he sleepwalks his way into the bedrooms of all 21 nuns. Returning home he believes himself cured and he better be because he is the puppet of a power mad Catholic bishop he will stop at nothing to see his man win the election. Unfortunately for Puppis and the Bishop there are a lot of beautiful asses to be squeezed in Italy and Puppis is far from cured.

"We're fucked"
"He’s not cured! He's worse than ever!"
"This means Giacinto doesn’t just touch clothed asses anymore!"
"Now he wants more!"
"He wants naked asses!"

The Senator Likes Women (All'onorevole piacciono le donne) is directed and co-written by "nun" other than Italian cult favorite director Lucio Fulci (The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, Warriors of the Year 2072, Contraband, Conquest). Fulci is generally thought of as a pulp director, even a hack by some and is certainly most famous for his horror and gore than any of his other works. How ever with a directorial career spanning over 30 years and having worked in the industry Fulci turned his hand to quite a few genres and The senator likes women finds him directing a farcical political satire come sex comedy. While much of Fulci's back catalogue has long been plundered by "for the fans, by the fans" DVD labels, their constant pledge to bring weird and interesting films to the DVD market rarely see's them get past the predictable sex and violence. So props must be given to Dagored films for taking the step to release this little gem. Here we have a film the likes of which most cult and film fans in general will not have seen before.

The music is very, very cool in places with the track that plays every time Puppis looses it and starts needing to grab an ass being a must own for me. Fulci's direction is pretty good here and the weird shots and old school special effects are just brilliant. The softly exploitative dream sequence with Senator Puppis grabbing the naked asses of a line of nuns is just fantastic and need to be seen.

"Last night, you dishonoured my entire convent!
You used my nuns to quench your beastly instincts!
You dared to defile twenty-one immaculate bodies!"

The Senator Likes Women takes several elements and blends them together. It can be seen as and works very well as a Rush Myer esque / Carry on films, type sex comedy with a happy dose of female full frontal nudity. How ever there is more to it than that, it also takes aim at the Italian establishment of the early seventies with the government, the Catholic Church and organised crime in the firing line. Not happy with blending both these elements Fulci then throws in a dash of Nunsploitation, a large dose of weird and just a touch of his patented horror.

Italian funny man Lando Buzzanca (For a Few Dollars Less, Monte Carlo or Bust, Dracula in the Provinces), gives a wonderful comic performance as Senator Puppis, reminding me at times of British comedy legend Peter Sellers for some reason. The rest of the cast is suitably fun all giving slightly hammed up performances.

Maybe not a film for Fulci horror fans, but for those who like comedy exploitation this is great fun and genuinely funny in places.

... The kind of movie that makes you want to go out and grab a nun yourself! 

NB. This review concentrates on the film itself, the Dagored DVD sadly features a very poor transfer from a weak source and has not be re-mastered in any way. I am not sure there is currently any other release for the movie so Fulci fans and sexploitation lovers may want to pick this one up anyway, but be warned it offers the picture quality of a heavily watched VHS tape at best and that’s probably being too favourable.

The Nun and The Devil

The mother superior at the convent Sant' Arcangelo is on her death bed. As she passes into eternal peace the convent itself becomes anything but peaceful. A power struggle erupts between the senior nuns almost the moment the former mother superior draws her last breath. One nun however Mother Julia played by former Miss Great Britain Anne Heywood, may just prove herself to be the most devious of them all. However it's not just each other the nuns have to worry about. The power which comes with the top job at Sant' Arcangelo, mean forces within the Church are keen on keeping an eye on proceedings.

Directed by Domenico Paolella (Stunt Squad, Diary of a Cloistered Nun), The Nun and The Devil (Li Monache di Sant'Arcangelo) AKA Sisters of Satan is considered one of the best Nunsploitation movies ever made. After watching the movie it's easy to see why, this really is a great film. It's easy to write off films that fall under the broad banner of exploitation as curiosity pieces for cult film snobs, DVD collectors and degenerates looking for cheap and nasty thrills. However if you take this view you may find yourself missing out on a wealth of fantastic film making from lesser known and yet often very talented individuals.  Sure these genres do also have more than their fair share of hacks and films which exist only as some lame attempt at being shocking or  offensive, particularly amongst more modern attempts at exploitation film making. However what one should remember is that for many of the earlier exploitation filmmakers, the exploitatative elements exist more as a way to get their films seen than the primary drive behind the film. Without big name stars and Hollywood budgets lesser known directors turned to exploitation as the hook to get the audience into the cinema. They lured the audience in with nudity, gore and depravity that could not been seen in the mainstream, but they often did their best to work those elements into something that was really worth seeing.

The Nun and The Devil, is certainly worth seeing, above and beyond the lure of naked flesh and tales of perversion. At its heart is an interesting historical drama, which looks at internal politics in the Church. Themes of class, social standing, political manoeuvring and sexism mix with tales of deceit and perversion. The closed societies in microcosm that are monasteries and particularly convents will always hold intrigue for the outsider. The concept of denying ones own nature for a higher cause is one that causes both suspicion and fascination. Those of us that give in to the natural and primal urges of humanity can't help but wonder how such institutions and the people within them contain such basic forces and often suspect it's a lot more difficult than they would have you believe. More recent revelations have shown us that the very structure of the mighty Catholic Church has for years been the playground of the morally corrupt and an outlet for those with less than savoury wants. Sure that may be evidence from the last few decades, but one has no reason to suspect this is a new thing, the institution has no doubt been a haven for the corrupt for centuries. In many way's The Nun and The Devil looks to the church as not just a haven, but also a breading ground for depravity, its arcane rules and punishments as much a part of creating beasts as it is a haven for them. Years of self denial, ritual and enforced social structure have left the inhabitants of the Sant' Arcangelo Covent with only the chance of becoming mother superior and wielding that petty power on their peers to strive for. The church how ever will not tolerate anything which may bring it into disrepute and will use any means at its disposal to make sure that it is the institution and not the individual matters. In the 16th century setting of the film, the means are very cruel as the churches inquisitor and his hooded guards, search, inspect and finally torture confessions from the nuns. Soon the full extent of the depravity is known as the nuns admit to lesbianism, being visited by male suitors, attempted murder and more.

The Nun and The Devil is well shot, well acted and interestingly plotted. An exploitation film it may be in the broader sense, but look past that and you have a very intelligent and subversive viewing experience. Maybe not one for devout Catholics, but for those who can tolerate a dose of nudity and a smidgen of torture onscreen this is a film I recommend.

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The original, and to many "Eurotica" afficionados the best, "nunsploitation" movie of all time, The Nun And The Devil comes to DVD for the first time in its most complete and uncut English language version, fully restored and boasting all the quintessential trappings of the genre it created – sadism, masochism, lesbianism, torture, unfeasibly attractive nuns and plenty of gratuitous nudity.

Starring former Miss Great Britain and Golden Globe nominee, Anne Heywood (The Fox), alongside Ornella Muti (The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things; Flash Gordon; Tales Of Ordinary Madness), Tinto Brass regular Martine Brochard (The Voyeur; Paprika) and Maria Cumani Quasimodo (Behind Convent Walls), The Nun And The Devil is a gothic-style tale of lust, greed, jealousy and corruption.

The untimely death of their Mother Superior sparks a villainous power struggle amongst the nuns of the Covent of Sant Arcangelo, all of whom are uncommonly eager to replace their departed sister – but for good reason. The position comes with untold wealth and power in the form of control over a charter for the exploitation of gold mines in the New World. As rival aristocrats pull the strings behind the scenes, the ruthless Mother Julia (Anne Heywood) sets about eliminating the competition from inside the convent. Complicating matters is the arrival of Mother Julia's beautiful and headstrong niece, Isabella (Ornella Muti), who despite her induction into the convent secretly continues her affair with her boyfriend. As the nuns' fight for supremacy escalates, degenerating into wanton depravity and murder, it attracts the attention of the local Cardinal, triggering a Holy Inquisition. With so much at stake, the nuns are reluctant to co-operate with any investigation into their actions, leaving the inquisitors no option but to resort to torture to resolve the issue.

Director Paolo Dominici skillfully blends stylish eroticism, wry humour and wince-inducing torture sequences to produce a sexually charged and utterly compelling study of immorality and religious hypocrisy.

"The best of the sex-and-violence-in-a-convent movies"   Aurum Horror Encyclopaedia

The Nun And The Devil (cert. 18) will be released on DVD  by Argent Films on 16th October 2006.

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