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The Convent (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Mike Mendez

Starring:
Adrienne Barbeau/Christine
Joanna Clanton/Clarissa
Megahn Perry/Mo
Richard Trapp/Frijole
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A bunch of teens go to a haunted convent, take drugs, fool around and eventually battle an army of fluorescent un-dead nuns. Fun freaking stuff!
THE LOWDOWN
Watching "The Convent" was like going through a time-warp and living in the 80’s all over again. First off, the premise of this film is so 80s; a bunch of teens hit a haunted joint, get possessed…GORE ensues. Can anybody say “Night Of The Demons” or “Evil Dead”? This flick is definitely the kind of flick you watch with a bunch of homies, while drinking and taking whatever else (that’s exactly what I did and we all had a blast!).

Even though the sight of a zombie in nun’s attire is way creepy, the film’s strongest elements weren’t its chills; the laughs and the gore were first in line. We couldn’t stop cracking up at the slick “Frijole” (Perry)...and in the state that we were in, we easily accepted him as one of the boyz. The dude is so dope and brought many belly laughs to the room! We also pissed ourselves when that poseur Goth Prince (Gunn) showed up. That schmuck was so pathetic it wuz funny (props to the actor). And we all cheered when Barbeau and Clanton barged in for that dual fire-arm zombie massacre. There’s enough shotgun fun, wet gore and beheadings here to fill 10 mainstream horror films. It’s about time a flick delivers full throttle in the blood department! Mark my words...this one goes "all out" just like in the good old days. Yippee!

One thing that set this bad mutha apart from the other “teens in house with zombies movies” was its unorthodox approach to the more familiar elements. It would have been easy to shoot this flick in a very straightforward way but Mendez had something else in mind. Have you ever seen zombies walking in fast motion and glowing in the dark with fluorescent veins? Didn’t think so; it was the first time that I saw shite like that, and my boyz and I affectionately dubbed the zombies: “rave zombies”. They’re so colorful and bright that you almost feel like getting up and dancing every time they show up. This novel execution made everything feel fresh.

But I can’t go on with this review without mentioning one of the more buzzing scenes of the film: our boy Frijole’s mushroom excursion. Let's just say that Mendez’s depiction of a shroom trip was very accurate (to the song “Dream Weaver” no less). Man, that was fly! We we’re all there with Frijole (keep in mind that we were also fucked up), tripping with him and when that unfortunate event happened to him at the end of the scene, we all jumped out of our seats holding our “bleep” and yelling in pain (you’ll see). Poor Frijole! After that, we paused the film and all drank to him. It was a sad moment.

I do have a few negative things to say about the flick though. First of all, due to the large amount of characters in the movie, some of them get lost in the shuffle (who’s Biff again? Kaitlin is the bimbo that keeps her top on, right??). It also would have been nice to have Coolio and Moseley be more involved in the film; in the end, their introduction isn’t really justified (they never tackle the zombies). The film is also lacking in the scares/suspense department. In approaching his zombies in such a unique way, Mendez sacrificed their fear level in the process. There’s nothing scary about evil nuns, glowing in the dark and hopping around like bunny rabbits on acid (but they still look awesome). Also taking into account the flick’s heavy 80s feel, the missing tit shots were a letdown. And last but not least, the film ends a little too abruptly (it looks like they ran out of money). But hey, what can you do?

Overall, "The Convent" is a pure crowd pleaser and it succeeds in what it sets out to do. It's not scary and it's not there to be taken seriously. It's just one of those campy films that’s made by a horror fan for the true horror fans. You want to see evil zombie nuns wreak havoc? You want some laughs, REAL gore and extreme action sequences that don’t hold back? Hit "The Convent" and have a blast! Who said nuns didn’t put out?
GORE
The gore is so over-the-top, that it’s comical. It’s very much in the veins of “Bad Taste” or “Dead Alive”. We get a bit off tongue, lots of beheadings, a ripped-off face, a kool flashlight gag, a shower of blood, lots of bullet hits, a bashed-in head and much more. This flick is a gore party and you’re fucking invited!
ACTING
Genre vet Adrienne Barbeau (Christine) kicks ass as the tough-as-nails killing machine. Joanna Clanton (Clarissa) is very credible as the not-so-squeaky-clean heroine. Megahn Perry (Mo) charmed the pants out of me as the sexy Goth chick. I loved her delivery. Richard Trapp (Frijole) steals the show as the Hispanic looking, but black talking, “mack daddy”, stoner dude. This guy had me cracking up left and right! Coolio (Officer Starkey) shows up long enough to get a few chuckles out of you. His scenes work. David Gunn (Saul) is freaking hilarious as the poseur “Son Of Lucifer” Goth boy!

Kelly Mantle (Dickie-Boy) does fine as the gayish minion of darkness but he kind of gave me the brrrs. I didn’t recognize Bill Moseley (better known as Chop Top from TCM2) as Officer Ray. He does fine with the time he’s given. Liam Kyle Sullivan (Brant) is on the money as the wimpy, virgin dude. Renee Graham (Kaitlin) looks really hot and that’s all I needed from her. She does that “blonde” thang very well. Jim Golden (Biff) yells a lot, not much of a part. Jason Dax Miller (Chad) looks like a Chad.
T & A
Apart from Chaton Anderson’s (Seraphina) impressive cleavage bobbling out of her top, not much. Kind of a letdown if you ask me. There are too many hot chicks in here to not have a tit shot. Bummer, dudes.
DIRECTING
I really appreciated the accent that Mendez put on the visuals. We get lots of smoke, lots of bluish/ reddish lighting and even the zombies glow! Mendez also likes to play with the speed of the images (slow, jumpy, fast), which makes way for some groovy images. He also knows how to shoot carnage (the opening scene rocked my world!). Tag that with some kool shots, slick flashbacks and a quick pace and you get a tight horror piece.
SOUNDTRACK
I loved that 50s song that played during the opening carnage. It worked for the scene...big time! The “Dream Weaver” tune during the shroom bit was also a great touch. The score itself is kind of creepy. I dug when it always hit that one note over and over again.
BOTTOM LINE
The laughs drown the scares but "The Convent" is still a riot to watch. It can be enjoyed solo but I highly suggest you watch it with a bunch of friends. If you’re looking for a perfect cheese film, with lots of gore and an original visual style, then hit "The Convent" with all you’ve got. This flick reminded me of the days when horror used to be fun, we need more puppies like this. Frijoles this one's for you, bud (“drinks”).
BULL'S EYE
The film hasn’t been officially released wide yet.

Genre vet Adrienne Barbeau appeared in "The Fog", "Escape From New York", "Creepshow", "Swamp Thing" and more.

Pay attention to "The Convent" (dialogue) and you’ll catch references to Joey Ramone, Menudo, Amityville, The Shining, Elvira and 16 Candles.

Chaton Anderson wrote the screenplay for this film and also plays that big-breasted devil worshipper Seraphina. In the credits she’s credited as Chaton Itae.

Chaton means cat in French.

Am I the only one who thought Oakley Stevenson (who played the young Christine) wuz hot?
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4:27AM on 08/05/2005

Fun !

This movie delivers some good fun that for sure!
The characters are over the top (Frijole, Mo) it's gory but not gory la Fulci more gory la Dead Alive if you see what I mean.
It's never boring even sometimes there's a lack of rythm.
The dialogues are cheesy and they make me laugh it adds to the fun.
Overall a good movie to watch with a bunch of friends with a few beers.
This movie delivers some good fun that for sure!
The characters are over the top (Frijole, Mo) it's gory but not gory la Fulci more gory la Dead Alive if you see what I mean.
It's never boring even sometimes there's a lack of rythm.
The dialogues are cheesy and they make me laugh it adds to the fun.
Overall a good movie to watch with a bunch of friends with a few beers.
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