Nympha (2007)

Rating: D-

Dir: Ivan Zuccon
Star: Tiffany Shepis, Allan McKenna, Caroline De Cristofaro, Alessandra Guerzoni

Back in the early days of TC, I’d engage other horror fans in heated discussions on the topic of Italian horror movies: are they the peak of artistic achievement, or steaming heap of incoherent garbage? Of course, now I’m older, wiser and mellower, I appreciate that the truth generally lies somewhere in the middle. Emphasis on “generally,” for occasionally, there’s a film like this, which reminds me of arguments over the cinematic merits of Cannibal Ferox. For to say that large parts of this are an unintelligible mess would be inaccurate – if only because that implies that there are other parts which make sense. Give it credit for consistency of tone, I suppose, if by ‘tone’ you mean inarticulate rambling.

Sarah (Shepis) heads off to join the convent of the ‘New Order’, only to find the regime there somewhat strict: they blind her, dip her hands in boiling oil, cut out her tongue (as shown), etc. And we thought they would just play Blue Monday. Meanwhile, she also is seeing visions of Nympha – a previous resident of the building, who lived there with her grandfather (McKenna), a religious nut who molested his granddaughter, and murdered locals who upset him.These visions include a not-exactly church-approved lesbian romp between Sarah and Nympha: so much for Sarah being fervently religious.

Shepis, the poor girl, tries as best as she can, but is never convincing as an aspiring nun [I can hear Julie Andrews sniggering in the distance] and the rest of the film is a disjointed mess. None of the plot elements are ever explained adequately – it’s clear Zuccon is instead going for a dream-like atmosphere, and occasionally succeeds with some decent cinematography. But, outside of letting us know he has a lot of issues with organized religion, there is precious little else to be gleaned from this muddled, disjointed mess. It feels like a throwback to some of the less memorable nunsploitation flicks put out by Redemption in the early-90’s.