Mallory Stern, Ron Clower, Jaclyn Tripp, Brian Davis, Kurt Aubuchon
James Dean, Louis Otero
Once in a while you come across a film where the title alone tells you just about everything you really need to know. Fountaine and the Vengeful Nun Who Wouldn't Die is such a film. Directed by James Dean, not the dead one, Fountaine (because I'm way too lazy to write out the full title every time) has arrived for streaming distribution - you can check it out for free on Tubi TV or you can rent it via Amazon's Prime Video.
The story, based upon an earlier short, centers around Mary (Mallory Stern), also known as "The Maniac Nun," has a psychotic break while reeling over the loss of her younger sister and gets sent to an asylum where she meets Lee (Jaclyn Tripp), a fellow nun with whom she falls in love. Setting off with Lee's adopted brother Sam (Ron Clower), they go to war with a corrupted church, battle vicious drug dealers, and even encounter a few Nazis in an effort to bring vigilante justice to those responsible for the death of Mary's sister.
In case you haven't guessed by now, Fountaine is a low-budget B-movie, a sort of nunsploitation effort inspired by 70's exploitation flicks and somewhat reminiscent of the grindhouse scene with a focus on brutal kills and giggly chills. To be sure, this is a "no frills" effort, a film where the low-budget shows with an occasionally echo-ridden sound mix and action shots that are slower than you'd typically encounter in this kind of flick precisely because editing those scenes takes hard-earned cash. While the film's low-budget undeniably is evident, Fountaine is still an engaging view thanks to an ensemble cast that obviously gets Dean's vision and that is clearly having a good time with it all. Stern is quite the trip as the maniacal Mary, equally convincing as the troubled nun and in the film's quieter moments alongside Lee.
The two are actually quite lovely together.
Tripp is also strong in support while Ron Clower also particularly shines as the butt-kickin' Sam. The script is co-written by Dean with Louis Otero and there's no doubt they're joyously shooting for the 70's exploitation vibe. It's evident not only in the story but also Andrew Kleewein's lensing and the original music by Alice Collins.
Heck, it's even evident with the movie poster.
Fountaine strikes me as the type of film that would bear the Troma label, no small observation coming from a film critic who practically worships at the Troma altar. Fountaine and the Vengeful Nun Who Wouldn't Die certainly isn't for everyone, however, those who embrace the low-budget, exploitation vibe will find much to love here and it can't help but make you look forward to whatever James Dean has coming up next.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic