Movie Review – The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine (1974)

Believing I was embarrassingly uneducated on the vaunted subgenre of nunsploitation, I decided to give the Italian film The Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine (1974), directed by Sergio Grieco, a go. The film stars Françoise Prévost and Jenny Tamburi, who appeared in many giallo films.

What surprised me is actually how reserved much of the film is and how seriously it takes itself. Truthfully, I found the plot, set during the Inquisition and dealing with such concepts as corruption, zealotry, bigotry, and betrayal, not to mention lust and desire, oddly compelling at times. I expected to laugh and give my eyes a roll but I found myself interested in the characters and their fates. That’s not to say this film is a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. It certainly has its budget constraints and the exploitation aspects are oddly handled, but Grieco actually tried to tell a story amid the naked nuns, which don’t really appear until the end.

The film even throws in a sober message or two, such as when the High Inquisitor states that “Fanaticism is often nothing more than the other face of madness.” What I thought would be a schlock-fest was actually quite watchable, which admittedly may say more about me than it does about the quality of this film.

Grade: C-

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