If School Of
The Holy Beast was made today, it would definitely have included
paedophilia among its litany of sins. Simply put, the 1974 film,
also known as Convent of the Sacred Beast, is sold as Japan's most
notorious nunsploitation film.
ASIAN VALUES VCD REVIEW
who are unfamiliar with the title, no there are no demons (ala
The Devil's Rain or The Devil Rides Out) or satanic black masses
but what goes within this Sacred Heart Convent can easily be construed
starts with Maya (Yumi Takigawa) having a fun day out which ends
with her in bed with a stranger, telling him that she will be
going to a place "where women are not women." She enters the convent,
not because she is called but to find out what happened to her
mother who died there.
As if to leave her past life behind, the initiation process into
nun-hood involves Maya stripping in front of the altar in the
presence of all the nuns and being draped with a white veil. The
first night in the dorm, Maya witnesses one of the nuns flagellating
herself with a whip. The nun on the next bed tells Maya that this
is what the nuns do when they get the urge.
Maya settles in the routine of the convent, she comes across two
nuns who were caught stealing food. Their punishment - they had
to lash each other 20 times. It isn't 20 minutes into the film
but by now, viewers would have taken in a fair share of bare breasts
and a kissing and fondling scene between two nuns.
of an archbishop does nothing to improve things. In fact, the
opposite happens - for the lecherous bishop, the convent is like
a brothel catering to his every sexual desire, with the mother
superior acting as the madame - after all, she has already given
herself to him and has always been in love with the priest. Underneath
her cowl of respectability, one of the other senior nuns is really
horny like anyone else and one night, Maya gets two of her male
friends to have sex with the sleeping nun.
As Maya is eventually fingered as a "bad" element, she gets the
dreaded "13th Punishment." Stripped off her top (Japanese cinema
was shy about showing male and female genitals), Maya is bound
by a thorny vine and whipped by a lineup of nuns with roses and
more thorns (an inversion of Jesus' crown of thorns).
of the nuns is discovered to be pregnant (after being raped by
the archbishop), she is punished in what might be seen as the
film's most blasphemous scene. Tied up in a chair (again without
her top), the girl is forced to drink copious amount of salt water.
A piece of art depicting Jesus on the cross is placed beneath
her chair. In a move that would make the witch hunters of Salem
proud, if the nun is true to her beliefs, she will not urinate
on the art!
In a career
that spans more than 20 years, cult director Norifumi Suzuki is
probably best known for this film. Very well photographed, the
film has some nice visuals - for example, the archbishop lying
in an inverted crucifix position (usually associated with the
upside down cross of the antichrist). The film's wit is its ability
to weave in an incest subplot that is deterministic in its execution
and leaves the perpetrator totally a-moral at the end. To go any
further would only spoil the fun.
logic and the story are not the film's strong points, it is the
film's outright condemnation of hypocrisy within the church vis-a-vis
the convent that viewers will remember. It's almost as if within
each and every nun or priest lies a festering urge for sex and
normality, a need which can be momentarily and damnably satisfied
by torture, whippings and masochistic rites. In this convent,
sacrilege is probably considered a venial sin.
School Of The Holy Beast DVD (Cult Epics) is banned in $ingapore.