Sacred Flesh

| June 24, 2004

Bless me Father, cuz I think I’ve sinned a half dozen times just viewing this movie! It has been a couple hours since my last viewing of Sacred Flesh, and I’ve had all sorts of nasty thoughts that need cleansing, Father. I must confess that after viewing this DVD my head has been filled with the images of nunsploitation, skin, and debauchery. And now I seek forgiveness…
There, now I feel purified.
This flick took me from out of left field. The write-ups that I’d seen for Sacred Flesh made it out to be a throwback to the nunsploitation flicks of yore, with it’s meditative deliberations of religious persecution and moral confusion, all with the backdrop of a bit o’ skin. But what Sacred Flesh turns out to be is really just a soft core flick featuring nuns and all their, uh, bad habits, with just a dash o’ religious dialogue.
“Torn between sexual desire, her vows of chastity and her fear of eternal damnation, a medieval nun struggles with her sanity. Bordering on madness, she seeks solace in the savage words of sexual denial that are spoken to her by a disturbing “death nun” vision. Her sanity is further threatened by the imagined figure of Mary Magdalene, who challenges her concepts of sex as an evil, malignant force. In between these discussions, the nun’s mind is filled with brooding, violent, sexual fantasies that push her into a world of blackness, blood, and orgasmic self destruction…”
Sounds pretty deep, eh? Well, that’s their description of their movie. Here’s my take… Mother Superior locks herself away in her room, plagued by soft core visions of all her nuns doing the nasty. Plain and simple.
Nunsploitation as a genre seems to have gotten itself a rebirth of sorts. In its heyday, of the 70s and into the 80s, the dozens of “nunsploitation” flicks tooled with the tireless question of faith, lust and sin, while giving the stories a bit of a sexual rebelliousness. Well, art was quite a bit more reflective and shrewd, and a whole lot less knee-jerk, in those days, with all that sociopolitical upheaval going on and all. Today — featured in soft and hardcore movies, animation and comic books — the nunsploitation is all about the booty. It’s fetishistic rather than thought provoking, titillating rather than shocking. Though, from director Nigel Winegrove’s commentary track, he thinks otherwise.
Yes, Winegrove points out that Sacred Flesh does contain the knotty conversations that Mother Superior has with Mary Magdalene (and also with the Death Nun) over the sensitive issue of lust vs. chastity. But the end result of these pseudo-serious discussions amount to being mere lead-ins to the several vignettes of hot lesbian nun action. Winegrove also contends that the mainstream audience certainly is not ready for his type of film. And he’s right. They’re not ready for soft core disguised as a serious film… just look at Larry Clark… er, wait, bad example.

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