THE OTHER HELL (1980) Reviews and overview

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‘Say your prayers’

The Other Hell is a 1980 (released 1981) Italian supernatural horror feature film directed by Bruno Mattei [as Stefan Oblowsky] (Snuff Trap; Cruel Jaws; Hell of the Living Dead) from a screenplay written by Claudio Fragasso (Robowar; Zombie 3; Rats: Night of Terror).

The movie stars Franca Stoppi (Beyond the Darkness), Carlo De Mejo (Manhattan Baby; City of the Living Dead), Francesca Carmeno and Franco Garofalo.

The original Italian title is L’altro inferno, and it is also known as Guardian of Hell and The Presence. The film’s Goblin soundtrack score was recycled from Beyond the Darkness (1979).

On April 11, 2017, The Other Hell was released in the United States on Blu-ray by Severin Films.

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Audio Commentary With Co-Director/Co-Writer Claudio Fragasso, Moderated By Freak-O- Rama’s Federico Cadd
Sister Franca: Interview With Actress Franca Stoppi
To Hell And Back: Archive Interviews With Director Bruno Mattei and Actor Carlo De Mejo
Reversible Cover Art

Review One:

Something is amiss in the local convent, the mummified Mother Superior raves in the cellar, an evil-looking gardener (Franco Garofalo) lurks in the grounds, babies are boiled in the font, incidences of mutilation rise amongst the novices and the threat of demonic possession looms large.

As an ill-fated clerical investigation tries to sort it all out, the possibility of a return to the oldest of gothic subgenres, the evil convent story (pace Anne Radcliffe, M.G. Lewis and Diderot) seems in the offing, especially since director Bruno Mattei also made The True Story of the Nun of Monza (one assumes, using recycled nun habits and convents sets).

As flaky special effects and softcore writhings are trotted out, it becomes obvious that this is another ‘exorcismsploitationer’ with a superficial emphasis on Catholic trappings.

Most of the minor characters meets supernatural fates until a few slices of exposition finally reveal that it’s all down to the influence of a nun’s illegitimate daughter and the Devil himself, who have a right old set-to, dragging in some zombie nuns, in lieu of a climax.

Kim Newman, MOVIES & MANIA

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Review Two:

Directed by the reliably dreadful Bruno Mattei this film really should deliver the goods. After all, it’s the story of dark going-ons in a convent, where a series of mysterious deaths are being investigated by priest Father Valerio (Carlo De Mejo), who suspects murder rather than the supernatural origins claimed by Mother Vincenza (Franca Stoppi), the despotic and crazed Mother Superior.

What his investigation uncovers is even more bizarre, and involves paranormal activity, zombies, stigmata and babies being tossed in pots of boiling water. Add to this some splendidly ripe dialogue – the film practically opens with Mother Vincenza yelling “The genitals are the doorway to evil!” as she performs an impromptu labiaectomy on a corpse – and you might at least hope to be in for some outrageous, if incompetent, fun.

Unfortunately, for the most part, The Other Hell simply plods along, as Valerio’s investigation goes nowhere slowly. Devoid of the gratuitous sex that you might expect as bare minimum requirement in a nunsploitation film and surprisingly restrained in the gore stakes, the film takes forever to get to the point.

Admittedly, the final ten minutes or so are pretty hysterical, Alas, by then it’s too little too late, and all but the most dedicated viewer might have nodded off. Frankly, I expected more outrageousness from the man behind such cinematic trash as Zombie Creeping Flesh, Rats: Night of Terror and Women’s Camp 119.

David Flint, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“The movie is very 80’s Italian horror, very over the top and very stylistic. There’s a lot of dramatic music and laser sound effects. It’s similar to movies like The Beyond and Dark Waters.” All Horror

“In The Other Hell, they manage to rip off Carrie, The Exorcist, The Devils and The Omen (among others), while the music is stolen from various Goblin-scored films, including Buio Omega. And don’t miss the Mario Bava riff — the scenes in the convent attic, which almost succeed in being atmospheric and disturbing. That is, until you ask yourself: “What is a room full of dolls hanging from chains doing in a convent?” Braineater

“Alternately odd and hilarious, this mixed bag – full of screaming, out of control nuns […] An outrageous performance by Stoppi as the guarded Mother Superior dominates the action. The whole would-be transgressive silliness must be seen to be believed.” The Terror Trap

” …manages all sorts of confusing antics sure to keep the viewer in a state of increasing disbelief. Telekinesis, dog attacks, cooked babies, genital slicing and sketching priests might all add up to a cringe-inducing cocktail of crudeness to most, but thankfully for us viewers, it’s just another day at the office for Bruno Mattei!” MonsterHunter

” …while the film starts off promising, things slow way the f*ck down once the priest comes on the scene to investigate the murders. Along the way, there’s some bizarre moments (like a dog attack and some baby boiling); yet it’s nothing that’s in the same league as the opening scene. Ultimately, the intermittent spurts of WTF craziness just don’t justify the long dull stretches in between.” The Video Vacuum

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” …The Other Hell does not disappoint with the old ultraviolence, be it death by stigmata, multiple stabbings, a very convincing priest immolation, or a severed head in an altar.” UK Horror Scene

Cast and characters:

  • Franca Stoppi … Mother Vincenza
  • Carlo De Mejo … Father Valerio
  • Francesca Carmeno … Elisa
  • Andrew Ray … Father Inardo
  • Susan Forget … Sister Rosaria
  • Franco Garofalo … Boris
  • Paola Montenero … Sister Assunta
  • Sandy Samuel … Catatonic Nun
  • Tom Felleghy … The Bishop
  • Alba Maiolini … Sister Fiorenza

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Filming locations:

Convento di Santa Priscilla, Rome, Italy
Cimitero delle Fontanelle, Naples, Campania, Italy

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