Turning a convent into a brothel is a good way of generating money especially if the sister superior is ambitious and the nuns are game and horny. In Wet Rope Confession (1979), Koyu Ohara takes a look at the seamier side of convent life, Stephen Tan reviews.
Coming five years after Norifumi Suzuki’s School Of The Holy Beast, a film notorious for heralding the Japanese nunsploitation genre, Koyu Ohara’s Wet Rope Confession (aka Wet & Rope, 1979) might be a pale imitation that probably tickles in all the wrong places.
Nurse Miki initially thought herself lucky when she marries a doctor but on the night of her wedding, their hotel room is broken into; her husband is tied up and she gets raped. Filled with shame, not because he couldn’t do anything to protect his wife but because his wife is now “spoilt”, the doctor throws Miki out.
Feeling depressed, Miki tries to drown herself but is saved by a priest who recommends that she can find a new life by becoming a nun. Miki joins a nunnery and, the first night in the dorm, she sees two nuns masturbating with a loaf of bread.
Feeling disgusted with themselves, the two nuns then rush out of the dorm. A senior nun leads Miki to a chamber where she sees the two nuns having sex. Next to them in a barricaded room is an elderly man servant who spends his time polishing and licking toilet bowls when he is not whipping the nuns. The servant then proceeds to whip the two nuns for their sins; and later chains up one of them.
At the chapel, Miki is stopped by a gangster who’s been wounded and is now seeking shelter from the police. Miki promptly helps the man by digging a bullet out of his arm. She also learns that the gangster is looking for his sister, Yuko, who had joined the convert but has since disappeared.
The next morning, the police arrive but are told off by the sister superior. Later that morning, Maria, another nun, is told to deliver a letter to the priest and to bring Miki along. In the city, instead of heading straight to the church, Maria brings Miki to a disco. Still in her habit, Maria dances and drinks. Miki leaves when the other men in the disco tries to get fresh with her. Maria runs after her; but they separate in order to lose the men who had come running after them.
Maria ends up in bed with two of the men while Miki picks up bandages and some medicine at the pharmacy. Back at the convent, Miki changes the dressing on the wounded man but she is followed by Maria. To keep Maria from talking, the gangster rapes her (in front of Miki). Maria, who has her sleeping gown torn, is stopped by the other nuns and Miki is implicated for lesbianism.
As a punishment and to get Maria to talk, Miki is tied to a cross; whipped and even gets her leg bitten. The priest steps in and Miki gets to recuperate in his room. Speaking of redemption and forgiveness from god, the priest rapes the terrified Miki before telling her: “To serve God, you must give up all carnal desires. The pain will remind you of that.”
After being raped, Miki confesses to the priest: “I am a bad woman. I will never be a good servant of God.” To which the priest says that God “takes care of the lost sheep and gives them a hand” and tells Miki that she will be the main actor of the sheep pageantry at the St Animals Day celebration. Later, the sister superior herself goes to the priest for some personal reflection and self-fulfillment, which also involves giving the priest a blowjob.
St Animals Day arrives. The rich men too arrive, each leaving a big donation at the door and getting an animal mask. Miki, who is wearing a sheep suit, is led to a table. A lucky donor gets to have sex with the “sheep” while the other men end up in a sex orgy with the other nuns. Miki spots the man who raped her on her wedding night but apparently does not do anything about it. However, the gangster shows up to rescue Miki.
Someone at the pharmacy had alerted the police that a nun was buying bandages and medicine and the police arrive in time to see the orgy taking place. Miki and the gangster manage to elude the police and end up having sex in a deserted shack.
The December 2012 rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi has given this 1979 movie a certain topicality. In one case, a woman is raped and then killed. In this movie, a woman is also raped but what follows can be read as a story of how a woman unwittingly overcame her situation.
When it comes to nunsploitation movies, Norifumi Suzuki’s School Of The Holy Beast takes the cake with its bare-bosom nuns, torture with thorny roses, whippings, urinating and incest. Koyu Ohara’s Wet Rope Confession might have lofty ideas but never was it able to run with them, with narrative logic (or lack of) a big stumbling block.
In the first place, why would a nurse, even if she’s been raped, contemplate suicide? Her husband might have thrown her out - but that’s more a reflection on his warped values than on her. And then to immediately join a convent. For what? For redemption? What did she do that’s so wrong? By getting raped. That’s the kind of logic viewers are asked to stomach.
Of course, no one’s going to quibble about logic when there are bare boobs or a sex scene every couple of minutes. And naughty nuns, either getting whipped or having it on among themselves with a loaf of bread (don’t reckon they had that in mind about feeding the 500 or is that the 5,000), make good sense at the cinema! Of course that trip to the disco seemed totally unwarranted but it is made up with that sex orgy at the end which had the eyes popping out of the police (who’d probably thought they had already seen everything). No wonder the sister superior fainted - but that’s probably for a different reason!
Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly?), evil or the Devil doesn’t figure in the script. Yet, evil is present in Miki’s husband who, instead of understanding what his wife had gone through decides to abandon her just to keep his pride intact! Of course, the priest and the sister superior are the most heinous. On the surface they preach saintliness yet each of them festers with such darkness they didn’t even realise it.
For the priest, having sex with innocent nuns is to instill in them both the fear and the grace of god - obviously, the two don’t mix but which terrified nun, after being brutally raped by the priest, is going to question that? For the sister superior, having the nuns in a sex orgy is just a means of raising funds! Who knows, with enough contributions, the sister superior might even end up being the Mother Superior of the order.
But then again, as someone commented at the IMDB, “if I learned one thing from this movie, it’s that Japanese nuns like getting raped.” And those Deadly Sins be damned!
Note: The Wet Rope Confession DVD is banned in $ingapore.