In the Highest of Skies / Nel più alto dei cieli (1977)

4.0 out of 5

When some nuns, a priest, some children, a trade unionist, a communist and assorted others get trapped in an Vatican elevator it could be the start of a disaster movie and it is. Sort of. Salo type points are maybe made concerning the depravity of fascism, in this instance the clerical variety, then again the whole thing is so berserk that possibly this isn't the central theme at all. It is hard to tell.

Almost everyone ends up shagging and in this sense the film is similar to Troma's First Turn On without the funnies but, with a number of killings, a cannibalism theme points to possibly the closest film to this one; René Cardona Jr's Cyclone.

The final scenes suggest that the film is going to turn all Jacob's Ladder but instead the cast simply step out of the elevator and meet the pontiff. No one is dead, no one has bashed uglies with anyone else, the priest has no longer got it on with the little girl, no one is smeared in shit or blood and the elevator seems, despite ninety minutes or so of demolition, to return to a fine state of repair. The movie ends with a kind of choral approximation to Shivers by The Boys Next Door.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics