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Gleaners Chapel

The Fallen Priests Film Festival
Part III: Horror/Supernatural

Movies and Videos
bout Compromised Clerics

Part I: Comedy

Part II: Drama/Historical/Documentary

There's a ungoldy number of flicks involving devil-dealing priests and possessed nuns.
Some are even more horrific than
The Exorcist

Here's the final section of a list of movies and TV shows that feature fallen priests; for this purpose defined as Christian religious figures of either sex who are ethically challenged in some way.

These here mainly concern the struggle with supernatural evil; the fallen priest's true domain. Although in actuality, there are far more movies about possession that involve nuns than priests. This genre, called "nunsploitation" is included here, but the film that inspired them all, The Devils, is listed under "Historical" as it was based on true events.

Note that horror has not been separated out from supernatural. For priests, I guess if the experience is weird and bad, it's all the same.

Warning: Spoilers abound!


Rating Guide

Note: this is not concerned with the overall quality of the film as much as the “fallen priest” aspect.

Has one or two scenes involving a wicked priest and/or Catholic weirdness.

† † More plot and exposition or weirdness.

† † † Lots of religious stuff or just worth it for the fallen priest alone.

And no daggers at all simply means I've not seen it yet, or can't recall it.

and means the entry has been added or amended fairly recently.

A handy guide to bad moviesNOTE: The movies in this section are all mature fare, to say the least, and some are utterly depraved. Many of the rest are not too extreme by modern standards; but damned few of them would likely have been blessed by the Legion of Decency, the nuns who taught catechism, or your mom, and most of the better ones certainly constitute a "near occasion of sin".

View at your own spiritual peril. Enjoy! : )


Several genres are well represented here: nunsploitation, killer confessional, and of course, exorcism epics. These aren't just about deviltry and spookiness, as I've included murder and other crime films of an exploitative or shocking nature here too.

There is also almost a sub-genre of "platonic priests" concerning good, young, thoughtful priests platonically involved with troubled young women versus elderly cardinals who serve their own hidden agendas. On the Protestant side is one meme that could be called "faithless minister" which often hinge on a preacher's loss of faith, that generally involve a pastor who suffers doubts usually after his wife is senselessly slain.

Where do those writers get these crazy ideas?

Abby (1974)

A marriage counselor who marries a preacher becomes possessed in this blaxploitation rip-off of The Exorcist.

Absolution (1978)

Richard Burton plays a priest at a British boys' school who is driven mad by mind games involving murders and secrets of the confessional by sadistic students.

Alice, Sweet AliceAlice, Sweet Alice
(Communion) (1975)

This could likely be better placed into either the "bad seed" or "mad housekeeper" categories, but there are several weirdly triggering scenes in an old Tridentine church. The movie is famous for briefly featuring Brooke Shields before Pretty Baby, as an all-too-soon murdered First Communicant, doubtless why it was renamed.

The Amityville Horror (1979, 2005) † †

Classic horror tale about a family, James Brolin and Margot Kidder and their kids in the original, who innocently move into a Long Island house where a murder has been committed. Devilish spookiness soon commences, terrified priest Rod Steiger is blinded during an exorcism and other priests get really scared too. Heck, who wouldn't be, knowing there were at least 7 sequels, several serious documentaries, and even a remake on the way?

Fortunately for us, only several involve priests. In the prequel, Amityville II: The Possession (1985) a previous family's son is possessed when he disturbs the spooks. A priest, feeling guilty over his inability to protect him, tries exorcism, at the cost of his own soul. Then, in Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1992), a TV movie, the demon goes west to start over in California, there to attempt possessing a young girl, if a priest can't stop it first.

The situation is not helped by documentaries claiming the whole thing's all based on real events, either.

The Antichrist
(L'Anticristo) (1974)

Arthur Kennedy is the impotent bishop in this Italian bit of Exorcist-style exploitation. Supposed to be one of the better ones, with full-out special effects and featuring such scenes as an orgy in Hell.

Behind Convent Walls
Interno di un Convento) (1977)

A handsome confessor's strictness leads to the discovery of naughtiness and murder in the cloister in this Italian nunsploitation flick.

Cartas de amor de una monja (1978)

Nunsploitation from Spain for a change, apparently about an affair between and nun and her confessor involved with the Spanish Inquisition.

Confession (2005)

When a grisly murder is committed in a Catholic boarding school, the killer confesses to a priest, who must keep his secret or violate his sacred vows. That'll be 5 Our Fathers, 10 Hail Marys, and never do it again.

The Confessional
House of Mortal Sin(1975)

An English priest tapes his parishioners' confessions for sexual blackmail of a vulnerable young woman, ending in murder with poisoned communion wafers.

The Conqueror Worm
(Witchfinder General) (1968)

Vincent Price in top form as a Puritan happily hunting down witches during the English Civil War, until he accuses a priest with connections.

Constantine (2005) † † †

Keanu Reeves plays an exorcist bound for Hell, teaming up with skeptical detective Rachel Weisz to investigate the death of her twin sister in this special-effects-heavy version of the "Hellblazer" graphic novels. He's helped by a psychic but alcoholic priest, and must ultimately confront Lucifer as well as an eerie Archangel Gabriel, played by Tilda Swinton, who, just like Christopher Walken as the same character in The Prophecy, has gone off the reservation, too. A fun movie, with some cool anti-demonic weapons.

The Convent (2000)

A teen-slasher flick about a bunch of kids who break into a convent, long abandoned since a girl blew away most of the nuns with a shotgun. Demonic possession ensues.

Convent of Sinners
(La Monaca del Peccato) (1986)

Another entry for the Italian team in the nunsploitation category. A young woman, raped by her step-father, is sent to a convent where she falls in love with a priest — but is desired by all the nuns, too.

Dark Waters (1994)

A young woman tormented by horrible visions of her childhood, travels to an island where she encounters a sinister order of nuns with dark secrets.

The Demons
Les Démons) (1977)

Exploitation master Jesus Franco's tale about two possessed lesbian nuns seeking revenge for their mother's burning by seducing a convent.

Desecration (1999)

A teenaged boy who accidentally murders a nun, which triggers a violent chain of supernatural events that leads him to Hell, where he confronts his repressive mother. This might not be so much about clergy but it sounds as if its sufficiently full of surreal Catholic weirdness anyway to be on my "must-see" list.

End of Days (1999) † †

The ex-governor of California playing an ex-cop dukes it out with ex-archangel Satan during Y2K in NYC when Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on Gabriel Byrne as Old Nick while Robin Tunney serves as excellent snake-bait. There is one of those sinister cardinals lurking about as well as apocalyptic devilishness abounding. (Funny, I thought there would be a whole lot more Satanists partying because it was 1999.)

Exorcism and Black Masses
L'Éventreur de Notre-Dame) (1979)

Apparently released under several names, Jesus Franco's hardcore European exploitation is about a crazed ex-priest, who witnesses some staged Black Masses. Deciding the participants are possessed, he proceeds to exorcize them by murder. Well, I suppose that's one way...

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Tom Wilkinson plays a priest who goes fatally too far with an exorcism of a disturbed young woman. Part courtroom drama, part horror film, supposedly based on a true story.

The Exorcist (1973) † † †
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) † † †
The Exorcist III: Legion (1990)
Exorcist IV: The Beginning (2004)
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

William Peter Blatty's novel became an instant classic landmark of horror and spawned a whole series of movies, a host of imitators, and uncounted nightmares in small children with its big-screen adaptation. Linda Blair plays Regan, a young girl in Washington behaving ever more erratically until she's clearly got a full-blown case of possession, including special effects, gruesome makeup, and projectile pea-soup vomiting. Ellen Burstyn plays her worried mother, Jason Miller as a young doubting priest, and Max von Sydow as Fr. Merrin, the elderly priest called in to go toe to hoof with the demon Pazuzu... again. Recommended.

(And if all that weren't enough, more creepy special effects were added later for a re-release.)

In the second film, Linda's back, doing fine until Richard Burton, as a priest frightened but fascinated by evil, is assigned to investigate the earlier events and brings the demon in her out. Von Sydow returns in flashbacks as Fr. Merrin. Louise Fletcher, Nurse Ratchet herself, is her shrink, and there are brief but effective scenes with Darth Vader, James Earl Jones, as a witch-doctor and Paul Henreid as a cardinal. Dialog and sci-fi mind-melding is pretty hokey, but very effective use of creepy Catholic, Aftrican, and bug horror. Recommended.

Ignoring these events, in the third film, the spirit takes over the surviving priest from the first movie, Jason Miller again, who becomes a serial killer, looking for revenge by offing priests.

The prequel has two different versions, by two different directors. Both cover the earlier career of Fr. Merrin in Africa which had been touched upon in the second film. Dominion, by director Paul Schrader, was rejected by the studio who hired Rennie Harlin to redo the same material but apparently actually did a bit worse.

Fellini's Roma (1972) † † †

The great Italian director's view of the Eternal City as only Frederico Fellini, with his eye for the grotesque, could visualise it. No plot at all, really. Part autobiography, part travelogue; it is included here because it ends with the creepiest ecclesiastical fashion show ever put on film. I kiddeth thee not.

Flavia: Heretic Priestess
Flavia, la monaca musulmana) (1974)

Bloody Italian nunsploitation where a convent in 1600 is invaded by Muslim pirates, leading to defilement, orgies, rape, and revenge.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Frank Frazetta's From Dusk til Dawn

Robert Rodriguez directed this bloody crime spree/horror flick starring Harvey Keitel as one of those preachers whose faith died with his wife in a car accident. Along with his two kids (including Juliette Lewis), he is kidnapped by crazed outlaws George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino (who also scripted it) and taken to Mexico. There they stop at a strip club even rougher than it first appears, where the preacher must regain his faith as a "m*****-f****** righteous servant of God" to enable them to fight their way out. Salma Hayek has a small but memorable role as a hot vampire dancer. Recommended for the hell of it.

The Gathering (2002) † †

Christina Ricci as a hiker in England who gets involved with a family after an accident and starts having macabre visions. The husband just happens to be secretly restoring an ancient buried cursed church that a priest archaeologist who discovers the Horrible Truth investigates. It takes a unexpected turn halfway through when her visions are shown to have to do with a local man, the victim of a pedophile ring (including the local vicar) who flips out and starts blowing people away. A nice supernatural twist at the end with a literal Church cover up.

The Ghoul (1975)

Peter Cushing stars as a former Anglican priest who must keep his crazed, cannibal son locked in the attic so as not to snack on his guests during a race. It's what any good host would do.

Good Against Evil (1977)

TV movie-of-the-week pilot that ripped off The Exorcist for a series that fortunately never made it.

Guardian of Hell
L'Altro inferno) (1980)

Nuns lust after abbots as a priest investigates weird happenings and dark secrets in a convent.

Guru, the Mad Monk (1970)

B-movie spectacular about a 15th century prison chaplain who murders to raise money for his church, with the help of his vampire lover and a hunchback.

The Halfway House (2004)

A young woman enters a home for troubled girls run by a sadistic priest and nun to learn the fate of her missing sister in this horror/exploitation film.

Happy Hell Night (1992)

A psychotic hunchbacked priest, held for a quarter of a century in an asylum for murdering 7 frat boys, is released through a prank and takes up his vocation once again on nekkid co-eds in this slasher flick.

Images of a Convent
Immagini di un convento) (1979) † † †

A young noblewoman cloistered against her will brings out the devil in the convent in this choice bit of Italian nunsploitation. The penguins, driven mad with repressed lust, discover a wounded artist whom they nurse back to health. Depraved hijinks ensue, leading to an attempted exorcism. Said to be based on a French 18th century novel by Denis Diderot. Rather tasty in a naughty way. Highly recommended — but only for former parochial school boys.

Marquis de Sade: Justine) (1975) † †

De Sade's novel becomes a costume Eurosleaze spectacle starring a wooden Rimona Power (Tyrone Power's daughter) in the title role. She is put in a number of perverse perils, at one point ravished by a coven of depraved monks led by Jack Palance. Other big names such as Klaus Kinski also appear. Lots of nudity, not much sadism.

The Killer Nun
Suor Omicidi) (1978) † †

An aging Anita Eckberg plays an insane, morphine-addicted nun, seducing men and novices alike in this somewhat disappointing nunsploitation film, where the twist at the end fails to deliver. It's interesting that the Church cover-up is accepted by all the characters involved without question, but the movie did get into trouble when a distributor claimed in ads: "From the secret files of the Vatican!". If only.

Ladyhawke (1985) † † †

A sweet medieval fantasy about two lovers, Michelle Pfieffer and Rutger Hauer, who are magically kept apart by a wicked bishop. (Yes! A black magician bishop!) Also has a young Matthew Broderick and the late, great Leo McKern as a Tuckish sort of hermit. Recommended.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Believe it or not, an Evangelical exorcism epic! In Louisiana, a troubled preacher who doubts in his own demon-eviction abilities agrees to have a documentary filmed to show how he fakes it. But the farmer's daughter he works on is really possessed, and ultimately they discover that the family belongs to a Satanic cult led by an estranged minister. The girl gives birth to a monster, and wouldn't you know it, the preacher gets his faith back in a jiffy. So, though there were no big-name stars intthe original, there's a sequel in the works.

Little Witches (1996)

When a group of 6 misfit girls at a Catholic boarding school discover a Satanic temple and spellbook beneath their church, they get involved with raising demons, and soon are sacrificing to the Devil and poisoning nuns. More of a "bad Catholic girl" movie than "fallen priest" flick, although you've got to wonder what's that temple doing there...

Lost Souls (2000) † † †

Strange but stylish Antichrist thriller, with a cult of priests eager for apocalyptic pranks, playing mind-games with psycho psychic Winona Ryder. Some scenes may be triggering and the ending is a real disappointment.

Love Letters from a Portuguese Nun
Die Liebesbriefe einer portugiesischen Nonne) (1977)

A teenaged girl forced into a convent secretly run by satanists, is ritually abused, and told it was a dream. She finally escapes, but is caught, tortured by the Inquisition and burned for her trouble. (And that, kids, is why you don't ever tell.) Said to be one of the more enjoyable nunsploitation films and it certainly carries a lesson.

Mark of the Devil
Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält) (1975)

An eager apprentice witch-hunter in 17th century Austria, Udo Kier, loses his faith in his mentor, Herbert Lom, after witnessing his teacher murder for no reason. He sadly comes to realize witch-hunting's just a scam for the church to steal property and gain power over people. More torture and a bloody revolt ensue.

That old time religion Said to be so graphically violent with all the nun-raping and tongue-ripping out that barf bags were given out at theatres. And guess what? It was so successful it appears to have given its name to a whole series of at least 5 gory sequels and a "making of" documentary:

  1. Mark of the Devil II (Hexen geschändet und zu Tode gequält) (1972) Witches, nuns, priests and others are tortured by the Inquisition.
  2. Mark of the Devil 3 (Alucarda) (1978) is about a young girl who comes to a convent after the death of her parents. Demonic possession and satanic hijinks ensue.
  3. Mark of the Devil 4: Horror Rises from the Tomb (El Espanto surge de la tumba) (1973) A French warlock's detached head comes back to life when discovered centuries later, enslaves the discoverers and demands sacrifices.
  4. Mark of the Devil 5: Return of the Blind Dead (El Ataque de los muertos sin ojos) (1975) features zombie Knights Templar (!).
  5. Mark of the Devil 666 (Mark of the Devil 6: The Moralist) (1995) is a slasher movie about a modern serial killer. Please Lord, could the madness be over at last?

The Milky Way
La Voie Lactée) (1969)

Another strange film from surrealist director Luis Buñuel. In this one, tramps on pilgrimage in Spain encounter various heresies. There's apparently a scene where the pope is executed by firing squad, and another with a dueling Jesuit.

Nightmares (1983)

In the third tale of four in this horror anthology, Lance Hendrickson, long before his role in the creepiest TV series ever, Millennium, is a priest in Mexico who loses his faith after witnessing the death of a child, and is pursued by the Devil's own monster truck through the desert. Probably a lesson in this somewhere.Nude Nuns with Big Guns

Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010)

Supposedly delivers just what the title promises with plenty of violence and nudity. An attractive young nun is taken by a biker gang and forced into prostitution after a drug deal with a corrupt priest goes bad. Recoverying from a near-fatal overdose herself, she believes God has told her to unleash gritty, high-caliber judgment on the bad priests, bikers, dope dealers, and so on. On my list now for sure.

The Nun
La Religieuse) (1961)

A young girl forced against her will to take vows as a nun is maltreated or lusted after by her superiors in 18th century France. Her steadfast virtue brings disaster on everyone in another adaptation of the famous novel by Denis Diderot against clerical abuses. Said to be the most "vehemently anti-Catholic film ever". I guess I'll have to check it out then.

The Omega Code (1999)
Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (2001)

Michael York has a simply wonderful time here as the Antichrist seeking the secret Bible Codes that foretell the End of the World and all the terrific fun he'll have bringing it about in this modern fundamentalist Christian interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Other out of work B-movie stars join in this or the sequel. The latter includes R. Lee Ermy as the President and the often-underappreciated Udo Keir as an evil priest who mentors the young Beast in the ways of Satan. (Well, somebody's got to do it.) Cheesy special effects highlight Armageddon. Guess who wins?

The Omen (1976, 2006) † †
Omen II: Damien (1978)
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

The Antichrist is one creepy little kid in this series. In the first film, baby Damien is substituted for the stillborn son of an American diplomat, Gregory Peck, and his wife, Lee Remick. Years go by, strange nannies and others come, and mysterious deaths start happening. Being warned by the second Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton, as a soon-impaled priest, doesn't help.

In the second movie, little Damien reaches puberty and begins his serious training, but it's not until the third film that clergy really get involved. Christ has been reborn also (!), and as the Antichrist hunts him down, seven monks hunt him.

Finally, there was a recent remake of the first movie, almost shot for shot, apparently just to use the release date of 6/6/6. No doubt the Devil made them do it.

The Order (2001)

Claude Van Damme kicks ass in Jerusalem looking for his archeologist father who has been abducted by the remnants of a Templar-like order of monks which has been taken over by a corrupt leader who wants to start a war by blowing up the Dome of the Rock. Swordplay beneath the Temple Mount ensues. Not much true horrorific or supernatural elements, but hey, weird enough anyway.

The Order
(The Sin Eater) (2003) † † †

Good secret orders and bad struggling in Rome. Weird flick features Buckaroo Banzai/Robocop Peter Weller as one of those cardinals and a satanic "Black Pope" (who is presumably not the same as the Jesuit Superior General, although, now that I think of it, they never say so), as well as an strange sort of anti-sacramental folk alternative to the confessional which may actually exist. Recommended, but pretty strange.

The Other Hell
(L'Altro inferno) (1983)

When murders plague a convent, the investigating priest must decide if it's a case of a psychopath or possession in this Italian nunsploitation flick.

Pact of Silence
Le Pacte du silence) (2003)

Gérard Depardieu as a priest-doctor in Brazil, who treats a Carmelite nun for pain that is apparently being psychically transferred to her by her twin sister, just released from prison for murder. Romance, more death, and a muddled ending apparently ensue.

Priest (2011)

Set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world ruined by a centuries-long human-vampire war, the story is about a retired warrior-priest (The Da Vinci Code's albino monk Paul Bettany) who must rescue his kidnapped daughter from a pack of vampires led by priest-turned-vamp Karl Urban (Bones from the Star Trek reboot). The catch is, these warrior-priests are feared by the Church due to their ninja skills, so he must break his vows to do so. On his quest, he's joined by a trigger-happy sherriff and a warrior-priestess. I'm guessing that this probably won't be often confused with the 1994 rectory drama of the same name.

Prime Evil (1988)

A nun who's a childhood victim of satanic abuse infiltrates a sect of devil-worshipping monks in New York City.

Prince of Darkness (1987)

When a priest belonging to a strange sect dies, another priest discovers a mysterious container in an abandoned church he had been guarding that contains pure evil goop. And it's waking up. Starring Donald Pleasance, written and directed by John Carpenter.

The Prophecy (1995) † †
The Prophecy II (1998)
The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000)
The Prophecy Forsaken (2005)

The first film in this odd eschatological trilogy is about an ex-deacon turned cop (which is the reason it's here even though these are all "fallen angel" flicks), a schoolteacher, and a little girl who get involved in another civil war in Heaven which comes to the American Southwest. The always spookily entertaining Christopher Walken as the now rebellious Archangel Gabriel leads a largely unknown cast, but Viggo Mortensen does a nice turn as the King of Hell. Some scenes may be triggering.

The other two straight to video epics, also starring Walken, continue the apocalyptic arc. In the second movie, Gabriel comes back to prevent the birth of an angel-human hybrid, thus pissing off the daddy. Apocalyptic angel-on-angel mayhem ensues. The third in the trilogy brings the War in Heaven to a climax when the kid from the previous movie has to save the world with Gabe's hlep.

Whew! Apparently however, three just wasn't enough. In the fourth, and so far last, feature, a young woman must keep an ancient book containing the name of the Antichrist from some renegade angels Yep, four movies, and still haven't even come to the real Apocalypse yet. I'm anticipating a TV series at this point.

So how is it that angels can revolt against God and not automatically be on Satan's team? And why always Gabriel in these kind of movies? I've run out of fingers trying to count the number of heresies involved here...

The Rite (2011)

An undertaker's son, Colin O'Donoghue, goes into the seminary to scam a free education but his mentor finds his faith lacking, so he's sent to Italy to see if taking in some good old-fashioned devil-whacking will put the proper fear of God in him. Emperor of Mars and Rome, Ciarán Hinds, is his priestly mentor, and the great Anthony Hopkins is typecast as a creepy exorcist who gets possessed and must be exorcized by the seminarian. Said to be inspired by real spookiness.

Saint Sinner (2002)

Frightmeister Clive Barker wrote the story for this TV-movie about a 19th century monk who is fated to travel through time to the 21st century to stop two succubi he released. Whoopsie!

Sacred Flesh (2000) † † † †

Superior but serious and talky nunsploitation where a medieval mother superior confronts visions of Mary Magdalene and a dead nun who torment her about her own sexual repression. Artsy and surprisingly philosophical, with brief soft-porn flashbacks to sexual situations confessed by her underlings involving autoeroticism, lesbianism, flagellation and blasphemy. The abuse of a novice by two priests in full vestments might be disturbing.

Salem's Lot (1979, 2004)

Television miniserial versions of Stephen King's thriller about vampires in a small town in Maine. The remake features James Cromwell as the priest made unclean thereby.

Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom
(Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma) (1975) † †

Director Pier Paolo Pasolini's all-too-faithful, gross, and extremely disturbing and explicit version of the Marquis de Sade's most notorious work is set in Northern Italy at the end of World War II supposedly as a parable against fascism. Four perverts, including a bishop, round up sixteen teenaged boys and girls, for degradation, torture, rape, and execution. Righteously banned in Italy, Ireland, Finland, Austria, New Zealand, Norway... Not recommended due to extremely disturbing content.

Satánico Pandemonium
(La Sexorcista) (1975) † † †

Blood-drenched Mexican nunsploitation about a novice tormented by the Devil. Unevenly paced with zero special effects, but once she succumbs there's flagellation, lesbianism, and a lot of gore. Or is it all a fever dream? The scene where she attempts to seduce and then murder a young shepherd boy may be quite disturbing. (Trivia note: the movie title provided the name for the Salma Hayek character in From Dusk Til Dawn.)

Satan's Schoolgirls (2004)

A priest comes to a rustic school to teach summer school and must deal with four seriously sexually disturbed girls and a sadistic nun. Ah, summer school...

Satan's Skin (1971)

Old Nick slowly takes over the children of a 17th century English village, causing them to do things like seduce the local parson in this said to be effective horror film. Yeah, it's always those darned kids' fault, the little devils.

School of the Holy Beast
Seijû gakuen) (1974) † † †

Strange anti-Catholic Japanese hardcore nunsploitation about a young woman who enters a Catholic convent to investigate her mother's death and is subjected to the entire gamut of abuse including lesbian sex, several kinds of flagellation, and of course, rape by clergy and others. Oh yes, plus incest for revenge too. What makes it even weirder is that the evil priest running the joint is a dead ringer for Shoko Ashihara, the Antichrist head of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, too. As one might suspect, it's based on a Japanese comic book.

The Sentinel (1977)

A suicidal model moves into a creepy apartment building in New York City which is actually the gateway to Hell she has been chosen to guard by a sinister priestly brotherhood – once blind priest John Carradine, the current sentinel, kicks it. Lots of recognizable names including José Ferrer and Arthur Kennedy as priests, plus Burgess Meredith, Christopher Walken, and Jerry Orbach, among others.

Signs (2002)

This low-key, kinda slow, spooky sci-fi thriller is about a formerly married priest (Episcopalian, one assumes) who lost his faith but must face the prospect of an alien invasion on his farm. Stars noted crazy Mel Gibson as the priest, who for once, is only tortured psychologically, and Joaquin Phoenix as his brother. Heir to Alfred Hitchcock, director M. Night Shyamalan has a small but not unimportant role. Suspenseful though ultimately disappointing, it's at least more thoughtful though with fewer special effects than most alien invasion movies.

The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine
( Le Scomunicate di San Valentino) (1974) † † †

LIke many nunsploitation flicks, this is actually based on classic literature – in this case, the inspiration claimed is a novel by Victor Hugo. And like many, the title does more harm than good. The story in this Italian exploitation flick is about the lover of a young woman locked away in a convent run by a depraved abbess and accused of heresy. He must rescue her before the mad inquisitor discovers what's going on and walls them all up (uh oh, too late...). With a title like this, there should be a lot going on, but it is too serious to tittilate, and too over the top to be serious. 

Sinners and Saints (2004) 

TV-movie about a superhero priest tormented by clairvoyant dreams who must combat crime and Hell itself, aided by leather-clad kung-fu nuns. This one I gotta see.

Sister Emanuelle
Suor Emanuelle) (1977)

The European soft porn franchise ventures into nunsploitation, when our heroine repents of her libidinous ways and joins a convent. She's put in charge of a liberated young girl, and begins to question her repentance. I wonder what happens then?

Sleepy Hollow (1997)

Director Tim Burton's supernatural take on the classic Halloween horror story of the Headless Horseman has a great cast, including Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, now a constable rather than a schoolteacher, Christina Ricci as his witchy love interest, and creep-master Christopher Walken as the scary decapitating equestrian. Not much scope for clergy in the original story by Washington Irving but Jeffrey Jones has a small role here as a hypocrital, corrupted minister, plus there's another minister seen torturing a suspect witch in flashback.

Splatter University (1984)

An alleged stinker even for teen slasher movies, this film is set at a Catholic college. Could the wheelchair-bound priest possibly be the killer?

Stigmata (1999) † † †

Gabriel Byrne is a good albeit doubting priest here, helping an unwillingly stigmatized Patricia Arquette, getting all mediumistic, who uncovers the secrets of a Gospel long suppressed by Rome. Jonathan Pryce is the sneaky cardinal and there's a lovely uncredited cameo appearance by the Holy Spirit, too. (Please, no autographs.) Recommended.

To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

The great Christopher Lee is a maniacal, excommunicated priest out to serve yummy Nastassja Kinski up to Satan in this cheesy version of a Dennis Wheatley occult thriller. Very much on the list to be seen.

The Unholy (1988)

In New Orleans, a priest looks into the murder of his predecessor, and is tested by a beautiful demon that kills sinners in the very act of sinning. Hal Holbrook and Trevor Howard play supportive clergy.

Vampires (1998) † † †

Altar from VampiresJohn Carpenter's gory fantasy is my favorite fallen priest movie of all, not least because it's set in my homeland of New Mexico and my two youngest brothers worked on it. But the Vatican-based vampire hunters and their replacement priest, Tim Guinee, actually do it right (I especially liked the boar spears with lights mounted on them and the gorgets). Plus there's a malevolent cross, a droll performance by James Woods as the leader of the hunters, and Maximilian Schell has a wonderful time hamming it up as the wicked cardinal behind it all. Recommended.

Van Helsing (2004)

The Vatican's secret anti-monster campaign is reassuringly active here, too. In this messy special-effects-laden horror/adventure flick, Count Dracula's nemesis, played by X-Man Hugo Jackman, fights Old Fangface, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Wolfman with occult weapons from a secret laboratory beneath St. Peter's. Hey, where's Abbott and Costello?

O Viasmos mias monahis (1983)

Nunsploitation from Greece, where the traditionally unwilling young novice is forced into prostitution.

Village of the Damned (1995)

John Carpenter's remake of the 1960 British classic science fiction/horror story about a group of a dozen eerily identical blonde children from outer space born on one day is set in a town in California and features Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, as the village priest. Christopher Reeve and Kirstie Alley also star.

Wet and Rope
Shudojo: nure nawa zange) (1979) † †

Violent Japanese anti-Catholic nunsploitation so bizarrely uninformed it's unintentionally hilarious. A rape victim, saved from suicide by a seemingly-friendly priest, becomes a Catholic nun, only to be abused again and again. The "Saint/Animal Party" is a fund-raising tool that is not to be believed, or missed. Beats the heck out of a bake sale.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

The X-FilesMulder and Scully are put on the case again when a convicted pedophile priest claims visions of abductees – not by aliens, silly, but Russian organ-runners, in this second cinematic sequel to the popular 90s series. Not a bad episode, but the pedopriest is barely creepier than Scully's clerical boss at the hospital, who in a subplot objects to her using stem cells mainly due to expense, with no mention of the theological issues involved.


Sources for the above information are The Internet Movie Database and the movies themselves where available.

Aware of others? Please let me know....

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