Putting an orphan called "Alucarda" into an orphanage run by nuns. What could possibly go wrong? The main surprise is that results do not involve vampirism [read her name backwards, in the unlikely event you haven't already worked it out], but head for SatanicPossessionville instead, with a significant detour through Batshit Crazy. Problems start when Alucarda (Romero) is joined by another orphan, Justine (Kamini), and it's not long - literally, around 30 seconds, before Alucarda starts to confide her "secrets" to the new arrival. Their relationship soon begins even closer, but the turning point is when an expedition into a deserted house leads to a coffin being pried open, followed by an encounter with a gypsy couple. The pair are now possessed by Satan, revealing their status during a class at the convent: I almost fell off my chair when I realized this was the source for samples such as "And this is what the devil does..." used by My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. Needless to say, this and their subsequent refusal to beg forgiveness doesn't go down well, and triggers a hysterical outbreak of either empathetic possession or violent counteracts by the other sisters.
I'd have been more impressed, if this hadn't largely been re-treading the same ground covered seven years previously by The Devils, and Tina Romero < Vanessa Redgrave on just about level, except perhaps "willingness to get her kit off at the drop of a clapperboard". Also, I did spend some time wondering why Alucarda was still in an orphanage - Romero was nearly 30 when she made this. And there's really an awful lot of women shrieking in this one: it's a bit like being stuck in the crowd at a Twilght gala premiere. But it also has more than its fair share of loopy insanity, with sequences such as Justine rising out of a coffin filled with blood, that seem to have been thought up based on their striking visuals, far more than whether they made sense. It was no surprise when I discovered that Moctezeuma was an associate producer on El Topo. This has acquired something of a cult following: while I can understand why, it's not a cult I'll be joining, even after my ears have stopped ringing.