The Convent (2000)

MAY 20, 2007


Though I have yet to see them all, I have gone on vinyl as saying that Mike Mendez’s Gravedancers was the only really good movie to come out of the After Dark festival (certainly better than “festival winner” The Abandoned). Soon after seeing it, I placed his previous film, The Convent, on my Blockbuster queue. Where it remained (on top) for some 4 months before they finally sent it. Apparently, they only have one copy. The one I got looks like someone raped it. Both sides of the DVD are scratched, fingerprinted, and “scuffed” to hell. I am amazed my DVD player played it at all. What the fuck do people do to these goddamn things? How difficult is it to put the disc back inside its case/envelope when you take it out of your player? Christ, from the looks of this disc, it would actually take MORE effort on your part to fuck it up so much.

Anyway, while not as good as Gravedancers, it’s still an enjoyably silly gorefest. It’s very similar to Night of the Demons, but the difference is Mendez knows how to keep his movie moving. Most of our cast is demonized by the 40 minute mark, which is about when Night of the Demons gave us our first kill. And our opening scene features a woman shooting and immolating a bunch of nuns and a priest. As an 8 year veteran of Catholic school, I have the utmost appreciation for this sequence. Who hasn’t fantasized about killing all the nuns who told you that you were inferior because you used your left hand (to write)? Mendez (who reveals he spent TWELVE years wearing the ties on the DVD extras, the poor sod) realizes this dream for all of us, without the stigma of facing a possible fifty dollar fine for such actions. Behold the magic of cinema!

Also, those of you who were wishing that SNL’s "Goth Talk" sketch got made into a movie, this will be as close as you get. There is a group of fake devil worshipers in the convent, providing a few laughs (“No, you work at the Dairy Queen.”) in the same manner as good ol’ Azrael Abyss.

And while I could have done without the “cute” joke of Coolio talking about the evils of marijuana, he makes up for it by yelling “BE GONE EVIL DEMON!” or something to that effect and shooting at our Final Girl for no real reason. Coolio’s partner is played by Bill Moseley, in one of his last appearances before he turned into a horror convention staple, charging poor kids 20 bucks to sign their Devil's Rejects bullshit.

Speaking of horror conventions, this past weekend was the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors (hence these somewhat “late” entries). A grand old time was had by all. I met Frank Darabont, Neil Marshall, and Max Brooks ("World War Z" is the best book I have read in the past 3 years, during which time I have read some ten books). I also bought a Bava box set for the criminally low price of 25 bucks, a Halloween III shirt, and won a DVD of Mountaintop Motel Massacre (!!!!). The only bummer was my friend Ryan, who was supposed to moderate a few panels, getting a collapsed lung the night before and missing the whole thing. Oh that and the fact that Rob Zombie couldn’t even be bothered to show us a clip of Halloween (despite Fango promising us one). Instead, he acted like he hated being there, giving all of his answers in “Yes” or “No” format (a real problem when you couldn’t even hear what was asked in the first place), and literally running out of the auditorium after his panel. Way to win over everyone who thinks you’re the goddamn devil for remaking the greatest film of all time, asshat.

In start contrast, Joe Lynch (and two of the cast members), who directed Wrong Turn 2, won the entire place over by A. showing clips from the movie, 2. acting like he actually wanted to be there, and D. sticking around to talk to each and every fan. Even Eli Roth, who had to be somewhere after his panel, did his best to try to sign for everyone in his line. Dude was literally signing shit as he headed out to wherever he had to be. That is the type of guy I support. And you could see the impact it had on the fans: On Sunday, folks were still grabbing the WT2 posters (the pins were long gone), but not a single person mentioned Zombie’s Halloween other than to express their dismay about what a shitty panel it was. The whole point of the panels is to get people excited for the films, which is exactly what Lynch (and Hatchet’s Adam Green, and shockingly, Postal’s Zach Ward, subbing for director Uwe Boll) did. Hatchet has been drooled over for a while now, so that wasn’t as much a surprise, but who the fuck thought an Uwe Boll film and a DTV sequel would garner more of that “Whoa I gotta see this” feeling than Halloween or Doomsday (Neil Marshall’s new film, a panel which was also sans… everything). Kudos to the participants of all three panels for providing the fans with actual excitement for their respective movies. Especially nowadays, when horror films are tanking left and right, it’s kind of stupid to actually LESSEN fan’s interest by treating the whole thing like a chore.

What the hell was I talking about?

Oh, right, The Convent. Adrienne Barbeau! Good stuff.

What say you?

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  1. The Convent is one of my favs. The bad goth kids are hil-arious!

    "You will sleep... NOW!"

  2. It took a little too long for the evil nuns to show up but I enjoyed it.


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