Nunsploitation insanity from the late Italian trashmeister Bruno Mattai (a.k.a. Stephen Oblowsky) that even by traditional nunsploitation standards is profoundly trashy and perfunctory, and frankly not very entertaining at all.
THE OTHER HELL (a.k.a. L’ALTRO INTERNO and GUARDIAN OF HELL) followed Bruno Mattai’s HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD and the more like-minded TRUE STORY OF THE NUN OF MONZA. Like those films THE OTHER HELL was an exploitation quickie, released in early 1981 in its native Italy (where it flopped), followed by a U.S. VHS release in 1987 and a 2002 DVD. It has, inexplicably enough, become the most popular of the abovementioned films, and one of the key entries in the so-called Nunsploitation movie cycle.
A nun is murdered in a convent whose mother superior, the domineering Sister Vincenza, is a depraved psychopath. When a father superior enters the convent to investigate the killing a nun is seemingly possessed by Satan, spasming and bleeding from the mouth. An exorcism is performed, and appears to have some effect, yet the nun winds up inexplicably bleeding to death. Father Valerio, a young investigative-minded priest, is called in to take over the investigation.
Sister Vincenza thwarts the investigation at every turn, but this doesn’t deter Valerio. Rooting through the convent he discovers many suspicious elements, including hanging dolls, a rotting severed head enclosed within the convent’s altar and a mysterious sequestered nun.
The weirdness spreads beyond the convent, to a groundskeeper who’s bitten to death by apparently possessed canines. Clearly there’s a scary supernatural presence afoot, and it seems to spring from the sequestered nun–who, it transpires, is Sister Vincenza’s daughter, birthed from a union with (wait for it) none other than the Big D. himself!
The cut-rate nature of this production is evident in the murky cinematography, stilted acting and bland filmmaking, although there are a few enjoyably campy moments (such as an alleged telepathic baby that’s clearly an inanimate doll). Bruno Mattai’s evident motivation in making this film was to finish it as quickly as possible so he could move onto his next trash-fest (which, for the record, was 1981’s CALIGULA AND MESSELINA).
Obviously we don’t watch movies like this one for great art, but even by exploitation movie standards THE OTHER HELL is pretty crappy. The sex-and-nudity quotient is surprisingly restrained, while the other exploitable elements–stabbings, burning, animal killings (at least one of which, a chicken beheading, is real), telekinesis—are too poorly staged to make much impression. As for the narrative, it is, in true Mattai fashion, hopelessly underdeveloped and filled with gaping plot holes. At least Goblin contributes a music score that’s very characteristic–and so doesn’t fit the trashy imagery on display here.
Bruno Mattai was often referred to as the Italian Ed Wood, i.e. not a moviemaker known for subtlety or artfulness. He could, at least, usually always be counted on to deliver the exploitation movie goods, but not in THE OTHER HELL!
THE OTHER HELL (L’ALTRO INTERNO; GUARDIAN OF HELL)
Director: Bruno Mattai
Producer: Archangelo Picchi
Screenplay: Claudio Fragasso
Cinematography: Giuseppe Berardini
Editing: Liliana Serra
Cast: Franca Stoppi, Carlo De Mejo, Francesca Carmeno, Susan Forget, Franco Garofalo, Paola Montenero, Sandy Samuel, Andrea Aureli