Ken Russell’s historical horror film sparked plenty of outrage and spilled soft drinks in 1971—and continues to do so; Warner Bros. remains steadfast in refusing a legitimate stateside home video release. More’s the pity—beautifully photographed by David Watkin, the movie features a remarkably tender performance from Oliver Reed as a rebellious priest, and a shockingly grotesque turn from Vanessa Redgrave as a sociopathic nun. Though the real terror lies in the repressive political environment of 17th century France, it isn’t hyperbole to warn, “Not for the faint of heart.”
About Ernest Dickerson
In the tradition of Mario Bava and Jack Cardiff, Ernest Dickerson is an Emmy and Peabody-award winning film and television veteran. The NYU grad photographed many films for director Spike Lee, including Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Mo' Better Blues and Malcolm X. In 1992 he made his feature directorial debut with Juice and has been working steadily ever since with credits like Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (starring TFH favorite Dick Miller), Bulletproof, Bones and Never Die Alone. Dickerson's acclaimed TV work includes AMC's The Walking Dead and Low Winter Sun, Showtime's Dexter, and HBO's The Wire and Treme, for which he won a 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Director.