One of the best horror films of 2000, Mendez`s "The Convent" harks back to the golden era of gory horror: The 1980s. Mendez even cast `80s horror icon Adrienne Barbeau in the lead as if to drive his point home more: The eighties rocked.
"The Convent" even feels like an `80s horror film, borrowing liberally from "Demons," "Return of the Living Dead" and "Evil Dead 2." College students are played by actors in their late 20s. The film opens with a young woman opening fire on a church, killing nuns and a priest. At the screening I was at, this drew cheers from the crowd and definitely set the tone for the film.
Flash forward 40 years later. A group of college kids decide to go party in the convent. When one of them is sacrificed by a team of bumbling satanists who happen to be there that evening, the demons that once inhabited the bodies of the nuns start possessing the dead, a la Lamberto Bava`s "Demons." One of the college chicks (Joanna Canton) has to find the woman from 40 years earlier, to find out why she blew those nuns away. The woman, of course, turns out to be Adrienne Barbeau. After raiding Barbeau`s armory for weapons, the two go on a war against a small army of demon-possessed nuns.
More than any horror film than "Evil Dead 2," "The Convent" qualifies as much as a comedy as it does a horror film. In fact, director Mendez has mentioned that real-life satanists are actually angry at him for how they were portrayed in his film. Coolio is particularly funny as a trigger-happy cop. There are some terrific gross-out effects in the film as well, but also some annoying effects. Some of the demon-nuns have glow-in-the-dark make-up on, which looks pretty silly.
Still, "The Convent" stacks up as a great horror film. They don`t make `em like this anymore, folks. Actually they do, but filmmakers are having a tough time getting quality horror films like this released in the U.S., even though fans are hungry for them. As of October of 2000, "The Convent" had been making the rounds of the festival circuit without finding an American distributor, although it has been released in Europe.
Meanwhile, corporate studios were releasing sub-par horror films like "Urban Legends: Final Cut" and "Hellraiser Inferno." Is there any justice? At the time of this writing, "The Convent" didn`t look like it was going to get a theatrical release, which is a real shame. But if the opportunity ever comes up for you--see this movie!
The Convent is one excellent horror film and Adrienne Barbeau still looks hot! I own the DVD and I think the saying on the back says it all, " This Time, The Body And Blodd Will Be Yours."
Doesn't get much better than that saying from hell! lol! This is a great site and your article was spot-on! Excellent work!
DeWayne (Mr. Horror Freak)
Rank this film on a '666 scale' of one to six (left to right). Based on 3584 votes.