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.

TIP
Add this title to your Watchlist
Save movies and shows to keep track of what you want to watch.

7.3/10
12,013

Videos


Photos

  • John Richardson and Barbara Steele in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Arturo Dominici in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Mario Bava and Barbara Steele in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Black Sunday (1960)
  • John Richardson and Barbara Steele in Black Sunday (1960)
  • Barbara Steele in Black Sunday (1960)

See all photos

More of What You Love

Find what you're looking for even quicker with 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

  • Evil Eye

    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

  • Planet of the Vampires

    Planet of the Vampires

  • Baron Blood

    Baron Blood

  • Rabid Dogs

    Rabid Dogs

  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

    The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

  • Lust of the Vampire

    Lust of the Vampire

Did You Know?

Trivia

In its day, this was considered to be unnecessarily gruesome and indeed was banned in the UK until 1968. Even then, it was heavily cut. The full uncut version wasn't released in Britain until 1992.


Quotes

Princess Asa Vajda: You will never escape my vengeance, or of Satan's! My revenge will seek you out, and with the blood of your sons, and of their sons, and their sons, I will continue to live forever! They will restore me to life you now rob from me!


Goofs

In the opening credits, Barbara Steele's name is misspelled as Barbara Steel.


Crazy Credits

For "The Mask of Satan," the English language version prepared in Italy, Barbara Steele's name is listed as "Barbara Steel" on the trailer and on the credits of the film itself.


Alternate Versions

This film has been shown in the United States in four (five counting the TV version) different versions.

  • BLACK SUNDAY (84 minutes)distributed by American International Pictures. This U.S. version features a more dramatic dubbing job recorded in the U.S. and a new score by Les Baxter to replace the original score. Further edits to this version were used to create the 16mm U.S. television syndication version.
  • REVENGE OF THE VAMPIRE The long delayed British version is a different cut that features the original English language dubbing recorded in Italy and the original Italian score by Roberto Nicolosi.
  • THE MASK OF SATAN (87 minutes) The complete version of the film featuring the original English language dubbing recorded in Italy and the original Italian score by Roberto Nicolosi. This is usually referred to as the "European Version."
  • LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO (85 minutes) Not the original Italian version as you might expect from the title. The main title is video generated (in bright red) and superimposed over the black and white film. The film uses the original English language dubbing recored in Italy. The score is a mixture of both the original Italian (Roberto Nicolosi) and U. S. (Les Baxter) scores.

Jared Harris Admits He Cried During 'Legally Blonde 2'

"Chernobyl" star Jared Harris takes our "Take 5" challenge, revealing the movie he thinks is basically perfect, the '80s hit he still hasn't seen, and more.

Watch now

Featured on IMDb

See what movies and TV series IMDb editors are excited about this month and check out our guide to superheroes, horror movies, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com