The manga or comic-book-based nunsploitation classic School of the Holy Beast (Sei-ju gakuen, 1974) is one of the "roman poruno" or "pinku eiga" (pinky films) that mixes violence & nudity with whatever writers & directors can drum up that is not too obscene for the censors, but as obscene as they can get away with.
As with American censors, Japanese censors deplore healthy sex & full frontal, but violence is hunky-dory, so it's easier to get away with lots & lots of sadistic torture that to show that sex can be a mutually rewarding activity.
The film shows no regard for the fact that Japanese Christians were a persecuted minority & this film (& several like it if less extreme) is a little like being a German filmmaker interested in making dirty movies about beating the living daylights out of Jews.
School of the Holy Beast is as perverse a vision as any film can provide. It delivers everything anyone interested in the thematic material could dream of getting, plus a bit of demon-possession for horror film appeal.
Whoever deplores pinky violence won't find anything here of merit. But anyone capable of enjoying arch trash will find here an example that is beautifully photographed -- almost too beautiful for the thematic material.
Despite the campiness inherent to the genre & the sheer goofball content, there's a certain beauty to nuns in habits getting it on with one another with passionate kisses or getting their habbits ripped off in exchange for bondage & torture experiences, in slow motion, amidst rose petals.
Yumi Takigawa was not proud to appear in such a film & never again got naked in any movie. Yet it would follow her throughout her career, to her admitted deep chagrin. "Luckily" at least, her film debut is a masterpiece of sleaze instead of regular ol' sleaze.
Crazy-ass Christian nuns start out as self-flagellants & work their way toward a crescendo of group torture. The film is laced with over-the-top laugh-out-loud lines like when Sister Ishida (Emiko Yamauchi) threatens her fellow nuns with a knife, warning them, "Don't fuck with me screaming bitches! You act holy, but you just want to get laid!"
Highly recommendable to anyone who is not instantly offended by the whole idea of "nunsploitation," or for whoever can view such oddball crapola as avant garde when it's done this well. But pass it up if you were hoping for anything beyond decadent seediness.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl