Monday, October 7, 2013

The Fourth Annual FMS Scarelicious October Movie Series - Movie #3: The Convent

The 2000 low (low-low-low) budget horror flick The Convent starts promisingly, gets bogged down in stereotype and terrible acting, and finishes in a not-quite-inspired spate of lunacy.  This movie is nuts, and very occasionally even in a good way. COMPLETE AND UTTER SPOILERS FOLLOW.

We open in 1960, at the St. Francis Boarding School, as a renegade Catholic schoolgirl bludgeons, shoots and burns alive a bunch of nuns and a priest or two, all whilst chain-smoking and knocking back slugs of whiskey.  Whee!  Then, unfortunately, we jump ahead 40 years to a bunch of idiot college kids breaking into the closed and abandoned St. Francis.  The kids are true horror movie stereotypes, including a Goth girl, a cheerleader, a jock, a dweeb, a loud mouth and a good girl.  They get busted by the rent-a-cops (Coolie plays one of the cops!) and then most of them go off to a diner, leaving Goth Girl behind to get snatched up by the most moronic group of Devil-worshiping humans you've ever seen.  The Devil-'shippers sacrifice Goth Girl, who upon her demise becomes possessed by demons (which is made evident by their Day-glo/black light makeup).  The other kids go back to rescue their now undead friend, become separated (as you do in horror flicks) and picked off one by one by the demons, except for the dweeb and his good girl sister.  Clarissa, the good girl, escapes to town and convinces Adrienne Barbeau to go back to the convent with her to rescue her brother.  Adrienne Barbeau is "Christine," the nun-killing schoolgirl from 1960, and she informs Clarissa that the nuns she killed were demons then and they're demons now.  Christine and Clarissa return to the convent and shoot up the place, and then Christine kamikazes the convent with some convenient explosives, taking out all the demons (and herself) while Clarissa, her dweeb brother and Boozer, a Boston terrier belonging to one of the dead college kids, escape back to school.  As a coda, Boozer, now possessed by a demon, goes for Clarissa's throat back at the dorm, leaving the dweeby brother as the sole survivor.

Items of note:  There's a totally bizarre scene where Clarissa and the cheerleader have a complete conversation while using adjacent Porto-o-Potties; the camera switches from door to door depending on which girl is speaking.  Adrienne Barbeau is a total babe/badass.  The producers seemingly used tempera paint for the demon blood.  Gore-hounds will note the literal shower of blood, the "facial," the intestine-eating and the poor decision to have sex with a demon while tripping on 'shrooms.  Best line of the movie: "My brother's gonna be the new Antichrist?  Mom's gonna be pissed!"

Let me be clear that this is not generally a good movie (although, to be fair, some horror movie experts whose opinion I respect love it tons and tons).  It strives for camp and in some places it is pretty funny, plus , the jittery demon-nuns are pretty rad.  I can forgive the low budget and the bizarre effects.  But the acting and the dialogue are SO BAD that 84 minutes felt like 184.  Let's hope that this is the low point of this year's FAFMSSOMS.

Next up: Severance!

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