Bob Calhoun

Bob Calhoun
Pacifica, California, USA
June 18
Bob Calhoun is a regular contributor to Film Salon and observer of offbeat media. His 2008 punk-wrestling memoir "Beer, Blood and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling" (ECW Press) has spent one entire week on the San Francisco Chronicle's Bay Area bestseller list.

MARCH 15, 2012 2:57AM

Straight-to-DVD: The Naked Nun Revenge Flick for Our Times

Rate: 2 Flag

Nude Nuns with Big Guns
Sister Sarah deals out righteous vengeance in "Nude Nuns with Big Guns." 

"Nude Nuns with Big Guns" and its 90-minutes of blood soaked blasphemy couldn't have picked a better time to thunder onto Netflix. With the Catholic Church losing its collective mind over the thought of millions of free range vaginas and Rick Santorum condemning nonbelievers like Torquemada in a sweater vest, the sight of a lesbian nun blowing away dope-pushing priests becomes downright comforting and sadly believable. The Catholic hierarchy seems willing to kick women to the curb over universal healthcare, so why not go the extra mile and make nuns process piles of cocaine all day in the buff (except for their habits of course) like something out of a cross between "New Jack City" and "The Flying Nun"? It's not like the church hasn't covered up worse things recently.

Surprisingly, this isn't the first time that "Nude Nuns with Big Guns" has been endowed with a significance beyond the scope of its $85 thousand budget. Last year, Camelot Films (the same people who were nice enough to send me this screener) filed a mass lawsuit against the 5,865 Internet users who'd already managed to torrent the movie even though it hadn't been released yet. The suit quickly came to resemble the kind of shakedown cooked up by the corrupt cardinals in NNWBG as the downloaders were offered the opportunity to settle out of court for $2,000-$5,000 or risk mounting legal costs and being exposed in open court as the kind of perv who freeloads naked nun flicks. After the Electronic Frontier Foundation got involved on behalf of the multiple defendants, Camelot dismissed the case in May 2011 rather than face escalating court costs of its own.

Now that we can watch NNWBG in the privacy of our own homes without fear of being sued for it, I can say that it definitely lives up to its title. The film delivers plenty of nude nuns and big guns all wrapped up in your standard revenge plot and taped together with a noodling wah-pedal guitar soundtrack. Sister Sarah (Asun Ortega) is caught trying to smuggle a package of product in her vestments during an exchange between drug trafficking priests and a biker gang called Los Muertos. As punishment, the priests pimp her out to the bikers who shoot up full of so much heroin that she develops one hell of a Joan of Arc complex. When an aging heroin cooker named Mr. Foo (Maxie J. Santillan Jr.) cleans her up and gives her two shiny pistols, she thanks him by shooting him in the back.

"I have to show no mercy," she explains, "even to those who show mercy on me." As the film's tagline says, "This sister is one bad mother."

I know that fans of Robert Rodriquez's "Machete" (2010) are thinking you've seen all this before, but you wouldn't be quite right.  Sure, Rodriguez may play with going to hell by dressing Lindsay Lohan up like a pistol-packing nun in his Mex-Tex grindhouse romp, but he still gives us Cheech Marin as a wisecracking warrior priest that probably even Mel Gibson can approve of (if not Rick Santorum). NNWBG director/co-writer Joseph Guzman displays a much bleaker view of our Mother the Church where the priests are more conniving than the bikers (who at least do their own dirty work) and the nuns are nothing more than sheepish slave labor. After so many priests, mother superiors and oppressed sisters are slaughtered during Sister Sarah's killing spree, NNWBG makes that scene where Danny Trejo escapes out a window by sliding down a large intestine look like family-friendly entertainment.

NNWBG takes the depravities hinted at by that sleazy motel scene in Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" (1958) and raps you across the knuckles with them like an overzealous Catholic school teacher in almost every frame. Guzman directs his bloody revenge flick with a style resembling a zero-budget "Kill Bill" digitally filtered through an episode of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," and style is definitely something lacking in most of the straight-to-DVD releases that come my way. However, Guzman has learned the lessons of such ultra-gory 1970s revenge flicks such as the original "I Spit on Your Grave" (1978) or "Last House on the Left" (1972) perhaps a little too well, and I'm just not sure that so many rape scenes can be balanced out by comically fake looking bloody penises.

I definitely reached an over-saturation point here where I didn't want to see any more nude nuns, naked strippers or papal carnage. But I fear that it'll only take a few minutes of watching congressional birth control hearings or Rick Santorum campaign events on CSPANN before NNWBG starts making sick sense all over again.

Bob Calhoun is the author of  the bestselling punk-wrestling memoir, Beer, Blood and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling, which is available through Barnes & Noble . You can follow him on Twitter @bob_calhoun.     

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Curse you Bob Calhoun! I thought I owned the Open Salon nunsploitation niche - but here you come with your excellent writing and Big Salon crossover to rap my knuckles like an enraged Mother Superior!
Movie reviews you can't find anywhere else!
I haven't watched this yet, but I will be bringing it to my next church retreat for angry spinsters. I'm sure they'll love it.