With The Conjuring 2 blowing away the box office with the greatest horror opening ever recorded for the month of June, it's already been announced that the most terrifying presence from the movie has been awarded her own movie. Yes, my children, the Nun will helm her own horror film.
As delightful as it is that The Nun is doing for The Conjuring 2 what Annabelle did for The Conjuring, the concept of the killer nun is not a new one. Nuns got naughty in a series of Sexploitation movies dramatizing the sordid acts of those sexually repressed sisters — see Sister Emanuelle (1977), Images in a Convent (1979) or Sacred Flesh (1999) if you have an *academic* interest in these matters — which became so popular they grew their own genre: NUNSPLOITATION. At the other end of the spectrum came horror movies drawn to the investigation of evil, the dark side of organized religion and the primal fear of fallen angels, those daughters of darkness.
While you wait for The Conjuring 2's most unholy of villains to take to your screens in The Nun, check out 10 of the greatest horror movies starring evil nuns.
1. Alucarda (1978)
Orgies, exorcism, lesbianism, the devil himself and more screaming than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alucarda is a film you or your eardrums are unlikely to forget in a hurry.
2. The Other Hell (1981)
When the Mother Superior finds a dead nun in her convent, it's up to her investigate; but her efforts only seem to cause more mayhem and destruction. Alternative title: Guardian of Hell.
3. Satanico Pandemonium (1975)
The classic Mexican Nunsploitation, often known as El Sexorcista, sees Sister Maria attempt to corrupt her convent and lead her sisters to hell. Fun fact: Satanico Pandemonium is the name of Salma Hayek's snake-wearing stripper in From Dusk Till Dawn in tribute to this movie.
4. Demonia (1990)
In 1486, five nuns were tortured and crucified underground. Hundreds of years later, a young woman sees a vision of these wronged nuns at a seance. Demonia is a fabulous romp from giallo maestro Lucio Fulci.
5. To The Devil... A Daughter (1976)
The Wicker Man scribe Dennis Wheatley tops his more famous creation in a tale of perversion and heresy almost matching the boasts of its fabulously overwrought trailer. Bonus: '70s sex symbol Nastassja Kinski at her most sumptuous and depraved.
6. The Devils (1971)
Forcible enemas, gaggles of nuns disrobing for mass orgies and religious symbols defiled as sex toys, The Devils really does have it all. Oliver Reed plays opposite hunchbacked nun Vanessa Redgrave in an utterly deranged picture, a '70s, Catholic answer to Satyricon.
7. Killer Nun (1979)
Italian "video nasty" Killer Nun (a.k.a. Suor Omicidi or Deadly Habits) starring the delectable Anita Ekberg was banned on release, with the full uncut version only finally released in 2006! Sex, drugs and wimples abound.
8. Don't Deliver Us From Evil (1971)
Young teens Anna and Lore are sent to join a convent, where they secretly make a vow to serve Satan as an act of rebellion against their oppressive religious leaders. Subversive upon release and still holding the power to shock today, this beautiful, dreamlike French film is totally haunting.
9. La Monja (The Nun, 2005)
A marvelously camp horror ride about a deranged demon nun terrorizing a bunch of students, for which you can either hunt down on DVD with English subtitles or just practice super hard on your Spanish. What better motivation for expanding your linguistic horizons than to watch the insane Sister Ursula torture her young charges?
10. The Convent (2000)
Unabashedly trashy, lending an unmistakeable '00s stamp to the Nunsploitation themes of the '70s, The Convent opens with a woman in dark glasses massacring a church full of nuns to the strains of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me." This is one of my favorite movies, and I don't care who knows it.
BONUS: Heretiks (2016)
Forthcoming in 2016, Heretiks concerns a young woman sent to a 17th century priory to repent after a stay of execution, only to find corruption, terror and "The Reverend Mother." Director Paul Hyett, who worked with Neil Marshall on The Descent, said of the movie:
"I’ve been wanting to give a classic period tale a modern, harder, stylish edge. Heretiks is the perfect vehicle to do this. It’s both a richly-layered medieval character piece and a wonderful chance to showcase the latest in visual effects and contemporary cinematography while being blessed with some of my favorite actors."