School of the Holy Beast

Director: Norifumi Suzuki

1974. English subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. 91 min.

Dario Argento meets the Marquis de Sade as sexploitation guru Norifumi Suzuki plunges us into a maelstrom of torture, secret masochistic desires and blasphemous rites. A young woman (Yumi Takigawa) enters a convent to investigate the mysterious death of her mother. She soon discovers a smorgasbord of vice as she’s abused by lecherous archbishops, a lesbian mother superior and a line of fellow nuns ready to whip her (in the film’s most deliriously over-the-top scene) with rose-thorns. In what plays like a bawdy version of Sam Fuller’s Shock Corridor, Suzuki combines comedy, horror and sexuality with political commentary. Truly excessive and absolutely wild, this demented masterpiece is also one of the most visually beautiful films of all time.

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