Black Sunday (1960)

Posted: June 10, 2012 in Movie Review
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Black Sunday (1960)
{La Maschera del Demonio}

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici

Subgenre: Gothic Horror, Vampires

Black Sunday

Synopsis: A vampire witch from the 17th century is accidentally resurrected and seeks wreaks havoc as she seeks immortality.

Thoughts: It’s not very often that the term beautiful applies to a horror movie, at least for most of us, but it is a term that aptly describes Mario Bava’s first feature film.  Bava had stepped in to finish directing a few features, but Black Sunday was his first movie, start to finish. 

Bava’s camera work here is second to none.  The atmosphere is as thick as fog and carries the film throughout.  The set pieces and cinematography are the very definition of Gothic.  Many of today’s Directors, including Tim Burton, point to Black Sunday as a source of inspiration.  An argument could be made that this is Mario Bava’s best film, something that is amazing for a Director’s first movie. 

While the cast is very good, a young Barbara Steele is simply unforgettable in her dual role as Katia and Asa.  Her beauty is breath-taking and she commands the screen.  According to stories by Bava, Steele was rather difficult to work with on the set, and even she confirms the stories.  Regardless of that fact, she brings a lot to this movie.

When people think of classic Italian horror, they most often think Gialli, zombie or cannibal flicks, but there are outliers as well, including this great piece of cinema.  I highly recommend this movie, and not just to horror fans. 

Black Sunday

  1. Never seen it. Sounds pretty twisted, though. Camera work can definitely have a powerful impact in a film. The recent remake of “Wolfman” had the best lighting I’ve seen in ages.

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