(Release Date: 1980)
(USA Release Date: December 1985)
Yes, you can count on ol' Bruno to pack his films with ugly gore and beautiful nudity... that is, with the exception of this Bruno Mattei flick... that being the one 1980 flick of his I didn't list above: The Other Hell, AKA: L'Altro Inferno. Oh, the gore is there... gore, maggots, dead animals (enough to qualify this one as a Video Nasty, though that didn't happen), entrails, spurting blood... But there is virtually no nudity whatsoever, which is a REAL shame. The only actual nudity was even ruined by the gore aspect. A dead nun is stretched out on a gurney awaiting autopsy naked, save a bloody cloth over her nether regions... Then the Nun performing the autopsy decides to forego the Y Incision and remove the woman's... um... nether region...
Look, I'm no psychologist, but I'm thinking that Bruno, old bat, you might just have a problemmo with Women. You might want to think about entering into a support group with nasty ol' Umberto "Nightmare City" Lenzi. But if that were to happen, there's at least one other douche-bag who would have to take a seat in that round circle in the basement of the downtown YMCA... and that's smilin' Claudio Fragasso. Yes, it is with a heavy heart that I point out that this is one of twenty-one credits Bruno's ass shares with Claudio's ass. So, if the phrase "From the makers of Zombi 3, Zombie 4, and Zombie Creeping Flesh..." could possibly attract you to a film, see a psychiatrist and then allow me to direct you to L'Altro Inferno.
Actually, I own those very flicks on DVD, myself, and I'm now reviewing this one... so Mr. Pot is making racial slurs about Mr. Kettle. But hey, I did see my psychiatrist on Wednesday.
The plot (which both Bruno and Claudio share the blame... I mean "credit" for) revolves lamely around a convent of Nuns at which some really scary ass shit is going down (starting with the above-mentioned genital autopsy). But that's just a slice (no nasty-ass pun intended) of what creepy Sister Vincenza (Franca Stoppi) has up her habbit. See, frightening things have been going on for some time within those convent walls and Sista-V is the main witness to all of this. But is she Victim or Vicious?
Trying to figure this out is Father Valerio (Carlo De Mejo), sort of the Fox Mulder of the priestly set, sent to stagger around, act like a jackass and maybe investigate a little while he's there. Shades of The Exorcist's Father Dyer abound, of course, even as the paranormal circumstances come to a head. All the while, Bruno does his best to be atmospheric as he sets up a long series of semi-inventive, but usually stolen ideas. Deformed Baby Dolls hung from the ceiling in hidden parts of the convent are cheap, yet effectively creepy, to say the least.
Man, did I just give Bruno Mattei a compliment? I... I'm not sure, let me re-read that... um... well I came close. Bruno still sucks, though, as most of the rest of the film will demonstrate.
The main crime here is that the film is boring as hell. It starts off with the promise of more Italian B-Movie Schlock (poor, yet entertaining), but devolves into essentially a menagerie of dull scenes, mostly stolen by Bruno and Claudio from better films (and again, not for the first or last time). The difference between The Other Hell and most of their other collaborations is the almost complete lack of gratuities. Instead of the good stuff, we get boggarted moments and silly attempts to appear artistic. How Bruno and Claudio got away with no nudity in a movie with three porn stars in it I'll never understand. Yeah! Three porn actresses, though in the interviews on the DVD, Bruno claims... ha ha ha... that at the time there was no such thing as Porno (did I mention he directed 1981's Porno Holocaust?)! That's not all that makes it dull, of course. The plot just seems to wait, idling at the green light in neutral, to really get started. By the time Francesca Carmeno's Elisa (possibly the only really interesting character) shows up, the closing credits are just about due to start rolling.
Rounding out the cast is an actress named Susan Forget, whom you may remember from 1982's Les Aventures sexuelles de Néron et de Poppée; Paola Montenero from 1978's Il Mondo porno di due sorelle, but since Bruno says that film couldn't possibly exist, I'll just point out that she was in 1971's Reazione a catena; Sandy Samuel, whose career started that same year in Blue Erotic Climax, though that film couldn't possibly exist either; finally, two men (Andrea Aureli and Tom Felleghy) appear as priests, but I don't really care if they were in pornos or not, so I'm not looking.
Also present is a whole butt-load of stock footage, most of which you've seen before if you've seen other Italian Schlock flicks out there. If not, you'll see that silly, flying white owl again. I almost thought that scenes of Franco Garofalo were part of that stock footage (possibly from Hell of the Living Dead), but no, he apparently really does play Boris. Hard to tell in such a derivative movie. Further, the special effects and makeup, though somewhat inventive for the time and budget, are less convincing than an animated film version of A Million Little Pieces.
Further, this one seeks to link elements from The Exorcist, The Omen, Rosemary's Baby and a ton of other flavors of the month, but really comes off rather flat, resembling those films only in the elements stolen from them.
As with a ton of films of this ilk, The Other Hell is receiving a life after death (or, as the film says "Ex Morte Vita") on DVD, courtesy of Shriek Show and the treatment given to this film is as lavish and thorough as they usually give. Included are trailers and interviews (which show Bruno has gotten arrogant again and, if possible, even less in touch with reality), along with a very good, remastered video and sound track. Sadly, none of the extras can explain just why in the name of Royal Nunsuch that Zombies ended up popping up in the last reel. ZOMBIES, folks! I thought this was Nunsploitation. Though I'll give Bruno and Claudio a tiny bit of credit for what they tried to do (they would seem to lose interest in quality entirely within the next few years), this one isn't even that good as an Nunsploitation Flick. Any way you slice it, The Other Hell is another DOG! Not recommended. As the tagline for this film states, "Some Things are better left Unknown." If Nunsploitation is your thing, I invite you to check out Suor Omicidi, which has all the elements you're probably looking for (but probably shouldn't). As for me, I think I'll get some rest. I most assuredly need to go to Church in the morning. Bruno, I suggest you go too and stay for confession. No, I'm not saying you should confess to blasphemy... your film isn't clear enough to qualify. But surely your back catalogue amounts to the Dictionary Definition of Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Still, Bruno, I'll see, even you, in the next reel, where I'll be watching more bad movies, so you don't have to.
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