40 years later, as can be expected, a group of kids breaks into the condemned convent for wacky teenage hijinks. As can also be expected, the evil of the convent is soon unleashed (in the form of fluorescent zombie nuns...yeah, read that again and you'll have an inkling why I heart this movie so much) and things quickly turn to shit. It's up to Christine and her shotgun to set things right for good.
Oh dear god, I love The Convent (2000). It perfectly skirts the line between horror and comedy and has a decidedly 80s vibe to it. I don't mean it feels dated or it's trying to emulate an era superficially (as the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did)- I mean it's got that balls-out, over-the-top, ludicrous fun vibe of flicks from that era, like Night of the Demons, Dead Alive, and Evil Dead. It takes its non-seriousness completely seriously...does that makes sense? It makes sense to me.
While The Convent is certainly a movie to watch with your friends over a few beers, there's a huge amount of originality and skill lurking beneath that fine patina of cheese. Director Mike Mendez employs some clever camera tricks that are never too clever- the style fits the substance. Film is sped up and slowed down, the zombie nuns move in a jerky style and titter like chipmunks...and it works. The opening sequence, where Christine lays down the law in the chapel, is beautifully shot and synched up nicely with the soundtrack. There's insane amounts of gore- not realistic gore that will make you cringe (a la Fulci), but rather crazy silly exploding head-style gore that doesn't always look real. I'd love to see him tackle a more straightforward horror film to see what he'd come up with.
And dammit, Chaton Anderson's script is funny. From the shroom-induced hallucination scene to the inept suburban satanists (with their "dagger of despair"), the movie is a good time throughout. One of my favorite sequences is a flashback to 1959, wherein Christine tells the story of how the nuns at the convent originally became possessed. Everyone in the school knew something wasn't right, but business continued on as normal. The nuns, though...man, they sure were acting weird! It's hilarious.
What really swings The Convent clearly into "I Heart" territory is the inspired casting of Adrienne Barbeau as adult Christine. She's stated in interviews that Christine, along with Wilma in Creepshow, is a favorite role in her long career. It's obvious that she's having an absolute blast as the foul-mouthed, cranky, tough woman who's ready to drive her motorcycle into a nest of day-glo zombie nuns to heave some molotov cocktails and end their reign of terror.
Every five years or so you stupid kids think it'd be great fun to break into the convent and see where it all happened. Then when all hell breaks loose, you come lookin' for the chick who started it. Well, fuck that noise!God bless that woman.
Simply put, The Convent has it all: whiskey, flaming nuns, Lesley Gore, baseball bats, day-glo makeup, sawed-off shotguns, molotov cocktails, exploding heads, virgin sacrifices ("They fuckin' love virgins! Goddamn demons- it's always something with a virgin!")...the list goes on. I mean, if a leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding, machete-wielding, foul-mouthed Adrienne Barbeau isn't enough for you, then what is? What could be? What more could you possibly want from a movie, people??