BLOOD BRIDE aka DEATH OF A NUN (1980) Reviews and overview

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‘Till death do they part’

Blood Bride – aka Death of a Nun – is a 1980 American horror thriller feature film written and directed by Robert J. Avrech (screenwriter of Brian De Palma‘s Body Double and an executive producer of Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The ‘Plan 9’ Companion). The movie stars Ellen Barber, Philip English, Sam Gray and Jocelyn Javits .

A pious Catholic girl hopes her new boyfriend will be ‘Mr Right’. But as their relationship develops, she finds out that he has some unholy secrets…


Writer/director Robert J. Avrech’s Blood Bride carries over all of the eerie visual qualities from ‘70s horror films – underexposed colours shifting toward sepia, the probable use of anamorphic zoom lenses for softness, minimal lighting, slow motion, and high angles and tilts.

Unfortunately, Robert Baldwin’s diligent cinematography can’t save the film from Avrech’s ludicrous script or listless direction. The story itself is a tedious excursion into lethargic befuddlement, a boggy mix of pseudo-nunsploitation and slasher film with little of either.

Filled mostly with slow walks, sombre stares, and insipidly uninspired dialogue backed-up with strenuous music desperately trying but failing to keep the viewer awake, Blood Bride begins as a film about a not too frightening nun-obsessed killer, then shifts after fifty minutes into a woman-in-peril Lifetime movie. It’s supposed to be kinky and smouldering but feels more miasmic than anything else, making an hour-and-a-half film feel like suffering an unwelcome weekend-long ‘surprise’ visit by your partner’s relatives.

Ben Spurling, MOVIES and MANIA

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Cast and characters:

  • Ellen Barber … Marie – The Premonition
  • Philip English … John McPherson
  • Sam Gray … Papa
  • Bobo Lewis … Mama
  • Jocelyn Javits …Sister Mary / Mrs McPherson
  • Rita Fliegel … Prostitute
  • Noah Parks … Young McPherson
  • Rufus Smith … Father Thomas
  • Joseph Sullivan … Henry Stern
  • Trude Stone … Nun at Wedding

Filming locations: New York, New York


In the USA, Blood Bride was released on VHS by Magnum Entertainment.

In the UK, Vipco released the movie on a pre-cert VHS and re-issued it as Death of a Nun.

Film Facts:

The film’s working title was apparently Marie.

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