Finally Solares' sickening sleazefest available on DVD!
Matthew King | Toronto, Canada | 09/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Italians are well-known for having brought exploitation cinema to new levels of disturbing heights in the 70's with their cannibal and zombie films. Another sub-genre that flooded the video-nasty market were "nunsploitation" films, which involved nuns doing deviant, illicit, erotic (!) and highly immoral acts. It all started in 1971 when Ken Russell's "The Devils" became a cult hit worldwide. The success of Russell's controversial masterpiece then opened the gates to an entire sub-genre of sleaze in which many of the best-known exploitation auteurs of the 70's chose to capitalize on. Joe D'Amato's "Images in a Convent", Bruno Mattei with "The Other Hell", Andrea Bianchi with "Malabimba". Even Lucio Fulci joined the fray in 1990 with "Demonia" but by then the genre had already died a derivative death and these films would be relegated to being nothing more than cult exploitation curiosities.
One of the best films from that era in my opinion is "Satanico Pandemonium"(1975, Mexico). The film is lensed by none other than Gilberto Solares, who just happens to be Mexico's most prolific filmmaker ever, with close to 200 films to his name, including a bunch of those cheesy "Santo" films.
Story: Sister Maria is a nun who is practically a model of saintliness, one who the other sisters look up to and who is always there to lend a hand and console others in troubling times. However things take a turn for the worse when Maria starts seeing a naked apple-chewing guy who she is convinced must be the devil incarnate. From then on, Sister Maria begins a downfall into hallucinations, insatiable lust for boys and other sisters within the convent, self-mutilation, stabbing and a host of other unpleasantries. Sister Maria, somewhat against her will, has now gone on a rampage within the convent and no amount of cold showers will do anything to decrease her insatiable lust for pain and flesh...
If the thought of fully-robed nuns suddenly baring it all and engaging in lesbian lust appeals to you, then Satanico is a real treat. Director Solares definitely chose his lead actress well, as Cecilia Pezet delivers a fearless performance. I really liked her transition from model of saintliness to woman of depravity, the descent is gradual and she is extremely convincing in the role. Satanico Pandemonium is gory but not uber-gory. However there are so many objectionable things tied in with religion and sexuality that it's bound to make the majority of viewers (especially those Catholic) blush a few times throughout.
The best part of this movie to me is the beautiful way in which it is lensed. The screen just explodes with colour, the sets and costumes are flawless and it has some absolutely beautiful shots of the Mexican countryside. This movie is so much more than just a piece of sleaze and I wholeheartedly recommend this DVD, which has been given a gorgeous transfer and includes lots of informative special features. Amen to that. "
B. M. Kunz | Los Angeles, CA USA | 05/14/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mondo Macabro's Satanico Pandemonium is a Nunsploitation film from Mexico that at the time of its release was meant to provoke and shock its audience, but which today does neither (at least not as intended), and is at best an amusing entry in this sub-genre of film. As usual, the story is about a nun's fall from grace, in this case brought upon by the temptations of a ubiquitous apple-wielding Lucifer. As the sister continues to plummet further into darkness, and into Lucifer's apple-scented clutches, she turns from her daily regimen of self flagellation, and other forms of self inflicted torture, and begins hurting the people around her - nuns in the nunnery and a young, innocent shepherd boy who lives in the village. The film has its fair share of nudity, and a little bloodletting here and there, but Pandemonium there is not. Unfortunately, even the bloody bits in the film are basically rendered impotent due to incompetent effects work. The result is ineffectual gore that is at times mildly amusing, but never really startling. Where the film succeeds admirably is in the cinematography department. Although it gets off to a shaky start with some sloppy second unit work during the film's opening, the majority of Satanico Pandemonium is bolstered by striking visuals via some remarkably beautiful cinematography. As always, Mondo Macabro has done a stellar job bringing another little seen film to DVD, with a practically flawless looking print (until the final seconds of the film where some print damage is visible) and a handful of extras. Most notably, there is an interview with the director's son, and the writer of the film, Adolfo Martinez Solares, and a documentary featuring the man behind the Redemption films DVD label, Nigel Wingrove, rhapsodizing (a little too "passionately") over the Nunsploitation genre. Thus far, I have not seen any nunsploitation films which I have loved, so if you're a fan of this sort of film then I would recommend this DVD. Note: I arrived at a 3 star rating by comparing this film to other nunsploitation movies I've seen - mainly Flavia the Heretic and Alucarda - and the overall quality of the DVD itself."
"Call me Lucifer..."
Dymon Enlow | 08/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Inspired by Bunuel's script for THE MONK, SATANICO PANDEMONIUM is well-made and pretty interesting, not in an erotic sense (even though there is a lot of mediocre nudity) but in a story sense. Virtuous Sister Maria is picking flowers one day outside the convent when she sees the Devil (in human form) naked as a jaybird. She runs away but it's too late cause she's already possessed and soon goes bonkers.
Her rejection of Christ rampage starts out innocently enough with Maria throwing her prayer book on the floor and a little sinful licking, but before you know it she's killing other nuns and even rapes the stable boy before killing him! Hell yea!
Maybe not as wild as some (CONVENT OF SINNERS) in the "nunsploitation" genre, but definitely more entertaining than others (THE SINFUL NUNS OF SAINT VALENTINE). The Mondo Macabro DVD has a great picture, very sharp and colorful. There's also a couple of short interviews but they were just so-so. "
James L. Humphreys | San Antonio, Tx | 08/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very odd, completely over the top film from the seventies that was amazingly enough made and released in Mexico, considering the extreme prevalence of Catholicism there. If you are in any way a follower or sympathizer of the Catholic faith then you are more or less obligated to be offended by this film. For those not Catholic however, it is a bizarre story thinly disguised as a morality tale simply to provide an excuse to show a nun who is naked for much of the film and engages in a broad variety of sacreligious activities including but not limited to raping and murdering a 13 year old boy and turning the nunnery into what I guess is supposed to be a house of debauchery (some naked nuns dancing and playing acoustic guitars). If you like strange movies with gratuitous violence and nudity, this is an absolute must have!!"
An interesting slice of Mexican horror.
Luis Carrillo | Obregon, Mexico | 06/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Satanico Pandemonium is a rare example of Mexican Cinema, for starters it's a horror movie without any wrestlers. This statement may seem odd for those unfamiliar with Mexican movies, but back in the 70's most movies with a supernatural theme had either Santo or Blue Demon (or some other famed Mexican wrestlers) as heroes battling werewolves, vampires, or mad scientists. Satanico Pandemonium is a seriuos attempt to tell a spooky story on its own terms. The story's main protagonist is Sister Maria (the beautiful Cecilia Pezet), who upon meeting Lucifer slowly descends into madness, lesbian lust and murder. There's nudity aplenty and this is one the films main sellings points since the gore is few and far between and hampered by rather low budget special effects. The movie is often categorized in the genre of Nunsploitation and that would be a very fitting label, but there's also a surreal atmosphere that makes Satanico Pandemonium worth watching. Also, the cinematography is just outstanding, with great color throughout the film and lush vistas of the Mexican countryside. I admit the movie does feel more than a bit dated, though in it's time I'm sure it was rather shocking. Still very much worth a look for those who can appreciate off-beat movies."