Black Sunday (1960)

Not Rated   |    |  Horror


Black Sunday (1960) Poster

A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.


7.2/10
13,063

Videos


Photos

  • Barbara Steele in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Black Sunday (1960)
  • Mario Bava and Barbara Steele in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Enrico Olivieri in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Enrico Olivieri and John Richardson in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Black Sunday (1960)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


28 July 2010 | mhesselius
7
| Succeeds because of Bava's B&W artistry
A ruined abbey; Gothic interiors of a medieval crypt and castle; a matte painting of the moon illuminating the castle's exterior; a deep pit, the stonework glistening with moisture; claw-like branches against the white mist, all beautifully photographed for shadowy effect by master cinematographer Mario Bava, make this film worth watching. The thin plot involves two incestuous siblings, Asa and Javutich Vajda, executed for witchcraft in the Balkan kingdom of Moldavia, who return from the grave on Walpurgis night two centuries later to reek supernatural vengeance on their descendants.

Unfortunately the B&W beauty of this movie is compromised somewhat by Bava's awkward direction of actors whose performances range from adequate (Andrea Checci as Dr. Kruvaijan, and Ivo Garrani as Prince Vajda) to inept (Barbara Steele as both Princess Katia Vajda and Asa Vajda), to awful (John Richardson as Dr. Gorobec). The writing is likewise sub-par, and seems to borrow elements from the vintage American films "Mark of the Vampire" and "The Black Room," which Bava may have seen.

Plot holes are numerous and obvious. For instance, after draining the life from Katia's father, how does the vampire form of Dr. Kruvaijan find a ready-made coffin, and how does he bury himself? How does Katia's brother Constantine survive a fall down a deep pit to come back and destroy Javutich? The schmaltzy piano love theme is distracting, beginning immediately after Katia's first meeting with Gorobec. Nevertheless, camera poetry abounds. The slow-motion vision of the phantom coach driven by Javutich is a stunner. All of the genuinely unsettling moments are the result of Bava's uncanny use of lighting, shadow, and perspective; not the poor use of artificial-looking wax figures and lens filters to create the effects of aging on Katia's and Asa's face.

Austensibly based upon Nikolai Gogol's short story "Viy," there is only one scene in the film that is recognizable from the source material. The scene in the crypt when Krubaian is alone with, and trying to escape from the reanimated Asa, parallels the attempts of Gogol's protagonist to escape from a witch who has arisen from her coffin. Barbara Steele's makeup, the spike holes left in Asa's face by the mask of Satan, is very effective here.

Critic Reviews



More Like This

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

Kill, Baby... Kill!

Kill, Baby... Kill!

Blood and Black Lace

Blood and Black Lace

The Evil Eye

The Evil Eye

A Bay of Blood

A Bay of Blood

The Whip and the Body

The Whip and the Body

Lisa and the Devil

Lisa and the Devil

Baron Blood

Baron Blood

Don't Torture a Duckling

Don't Torture a Duckling

Rabid Dogs

Rabid Dogs

Hatchet for the Honeymoon

Hatchet for the Honeymoon

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

Dive Into Hollywood's Shared History with Broadway

On this IMDbrief we dive into Hollywood's long and storied shared history with Broadway, and provide you with plenty of Watchlist picks from both the stage and screen.

Watch the video

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com