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also known as La maschera del demonio | The Mask of Satan

Black Sunday1960

  • 3.9
In one of the most auspicious directorial debuts in movie history, Mario Bava bridged the gap between the gothic horror picture and the European art film with BLACK SUNDAY (aka LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO or THE MASK OF SATAN). Made in 1960 and now considered a cult classic, it continues to reverberate through the cinema, inspiring and influencing new generations of filmmakers. In an absolutely mesmerizing performance, BLACK SUNDAY stars Barbara Steele as Asa Vajda, a beautiful woman tortured and executed as a witch, but not before pronouncing a curse upon those who have condemned her, a curse that is fulfilled some 200 years later.

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2 members like this review

B A V A ! ! ! It's a bit ironic that this master of vivid color cinematography launched his directorial career with a black and white movie, and yet the color seems abundant in this gothic-goes-to-the-Drive-In opus. Bava creates a tapestry of shadows, layer after layer of dark images from a palette that ranges from thick walls black to opaque shades of pale grey. This creates a weird pseudo-3D effect that makes the backgrounds seem to reach out beyond the screen. Add the haunting beauty of a 23 year-old actress named Barbara Steele and you have one of the true classics among horror films.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

81629.small
top reviewer

B A V A ! ! ! It's a bit ironic that this master of vivid color cinematography launched his directorial career with a black and white movie, and yet the color seems abundant in this gothic-goes-to-the-Drive-In opus. Bava creates a tapestry of shadows, layer after layer of dark images from a palette that ranges from thick walls black to opaque shades of pale grey. This creates a weird pseudo-3D effect that makes the backgrounds seem to reach out beyond the screen. Add the haunting beauty of a 23 year-old actress named Barbara Steele and you have one of the true classics among horror films.

2 members like this review

A great film that delightfully scared a young teen. Amazingly, I first saw this movie on television when I was growing up. A Buffalo station, WKBW, ran a Friday night double feature of horror movies and creature features. Black Sunday would have been only a decade old when I first saw it, and it would be almost 40 more years before I saw it again on DVD. Great black and white cinematography, and the memorable Barbara Steele. The first 15 minutes of the movie is so dramatic, the rest of the movie is almost a letdown.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Gothic story of witches, castles and crypts with modern gore and luridness and some of the best black-and-white horror cinematography ever. Actors cast heavy, foreboding shadows as they pass through layers of angular light and shadow where a half step reveals supernatural terror. Scenes writhe in candlelight or are partitioned by veils of smoke, mist or cobwebs. The gouged eyes, stake burning and other horrific violence facing Barbara’s Steele’s menacing beauty are still squirm-worthy 50+ years after release. A really great horror movie.

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top reviewer

I am not a fan of horror films. I find corpses rising from their coffins and flesh-eating zombies to be as juvenile as the most insipid Disney products. Truly horrifying, to me, is Ingmar Bergman's THE SERPENT'S EGG; the real evil that men do is truly horrifying. That said, BLACK SUNDAY has beautiful cinematography,mood and atmosphere, and Barbara Steele is enchanting and versatile. 3.8 stars.

Evil should be a little cooler...

If you are in the mood for a period horror film this is fun. The cinematography is very fine.