STUDIO: Heretic
MSRP: $19.95
RUNNING TIME: 72 Minutes
• Teaser and Theatrical Trailers
• Commentary by Director Nigel Wingrove
• Stills of Publicity Materials
• CD Soundtrack Images
• Storyboards
• Production and Behind the Scenes Still Galleries

The Pitch

“It’s Agnes of God with all the sex scenes put back in!”

The Humans

Sally Tremaine, Moyna Cope, Simon Hill, Kristina Bill, Rachel Taggart, Eileen Daly.

The Nutshell

In a medieval convent, a tormented Mother Superior edges close to madness as she struggles with lustful urges boiling inside her. As a bride of Christ, she knows that pleasures of the flesh are forbidden, but she cannot make the impure thoughts go away. What is a nun to do when her vow of celibacy clashes with her innate desire to perform the “beast with two backs”? Adding to her confusion are visions of a “death nun” who callously scolds Mother Superior for questioning her chastity and arguments with Mary Magdalene, who doesn’t help matters by persuading the nun to succumb to her carnal desires. There is also a crater-faced person with a spinach pasta wig making up taunting rhymes. As this internal battle rages in her brain, Mother Superior throws herself about a small room in anguish as she recalls the increasingly depraved exploits of several nuns (and a couple of manipulative priests) who surrendered to their wicked appetites. A worried abbot travels to the convent to discuss the nun’s crisis of faith with an elder nun. Eventually, Mother Superior rids herself of the conflict tearing her mind apart, but will her self-destructive revelation please God?

"Sister Mary, if you take my bikini wax once more I’ll punch you in the rosary."

The Package

Recorded on digital video, Sacred Flesh manages to look as if it was recorded on plain-old analog video, despite valiant attempts by Director Nigel Wingrove to light his interior scenes well. It would have helped to filter out the yellow light to avoid that staged, soap opera look. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the transfer is slightly blurry (a common flaw of digital video) but otherwise free from defects. The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is as pedestrian as the video presentation, especially during the very talky scenes (those are the ones without naked nuns rolling around on the floor). You’ll have fun trying to understand more than a few words uttered by the “death nun”, rubber skull mask notwithstanding.

There is a mildly pretentious commentary track with the director and an associate discussing the grand themes of sexual denial and lust put forth in Sacred Flesh. Wingrove comes off as a guy with an ambitious plan, even if his film turned out to be a giggle-inducing softcore quickie. Other extras include two trailers, small production and behind-the-scenes galleries, as well as galleries for the soundtrack CD, storyboards and publicity materials.

Even in death, Mother Teresa maintained a heavy work load.

The Lowdown

Is it possible to take this film seriously? The film obviously takes its own heady subject matter seriously, even when numerous scenes of naked models supplement the philosophizing with sleaze. I mean come on, am I supposed to believe that nuns have body jewelry and breast implants under their habits? If that is so, point me to the nearest nunnery, I’ve got some friends with wads of dollar bills who would pay good money for this type of salvation. Even if I believe that some present-day nuns look like this, and it is certainly possible that they do, the movie is set in medieval times. How hard would it have been to put makeup on a tattoo or remove a barbell stud from a woman’s tongue?

The key ingredients of a good exploitation film are loads of naked flesh, some shattered taboos and at least a touch of realism. Sacred Flesh nails the first one and stumbles on the second, but completely forgets to suspend our disbelief enough to keep the laughter at bay. Just as you can’t make ice water without ice, you can’t sell the idea of horny nuns engaging in forbidden behavior when the women have shaved pubes and cherry-red lipstick. Sure, it’s sexy, but the need for the whole nun fetish goes out the window because all attractive women without clothing are basically sexy. The biggest problem with Sacred Flesh is that it wants to bridge the gap between a high-concept, thinking person’s religious film and a steamy, low-concept film with naked nuns. That’s a pretty wide gap for any movie to bridge. Thinking about watching this just for the sex scenes? Well, those are pretty clumsy and boring. The idea of nuns having sex might appeal to some people, but I never believed that these women were nuns. They look like Cyber Girls of the Month. You could dress them in shaved ham and it would be just as kinky, and a nice sandwich after sex is always a satisfying experience.

3.0 out of 10

Sister Dominatrix never understood why her students refused to behave.