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Black Sunday (1960)

La maschera del demonio (original title)
Unrated | | Horror | 15 February 1961 (USA)
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. Only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor stand in her way.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Katia Vajda / Princess Asa Vajda (as Barbara Steel)
...
Andrea Checchi ...
Ivo Garrani ...
Arturo Dominici ...
Igor Javutich / Javuto
Enrico Olivieri ...
Prince Constantine Vajda
Antonio Pierfederici ...
Priest
Tino Bianchi ...
Ivan
Clara Bindi ...
Inn Keeper
...
Nikita, the Coachman
Renato Terra ...
Boris
Germana Dominici ...
Sonya, the Innkeeper's Daughter
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Storyline

In the Seventeenth Century, in Maldavia, Princess Asa Vajda and her lover Javutich (Arturo Dominici) are killed by the local population, accused of witchcraft. A mask of Satan is attached to their faces. Princess Asa curses her brother, promising revenge to his descents. The body of Javutich is buried outside the cemetery, and the coffin of Princess Asa is placed in the family's tomb with a cross over it for protection. Two hundred years later, Professor Thomas Kruvajan and his assistant, Dr. Andre Gorobec, are going to a congress in Russia and they accidentally find the tomb. Dr. Thomas breaks the cross, releasing the evil witch. When they are leaving the place, Dr. Andre meets Princess Katia Vajda, descendant of Princess Asa, and falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Katia is threatened by the witch, who wants to use her body to live again. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Once every 100 years the undead of hell terrorize the world in an orgy of stark horror See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

15 February 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Sunday  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several of the film's scenes were recreated specifically for Francis Ford Coppola's interpretation of Dracula (1992) as a homage to Bava's film. See more »

Goofs

When Princess Asa pauses by her fathers coffin, she is wearing black stockings and shoes under her dress. She then leaves the room to look for the others where she is seen running down the hall barefoot and without stockings. See more »

Quotes

[Andre expresses regret that he and superior, Dr. Kruvajan, will be late and miss the opening address at a medical conference in St. Petersburg]
Dr. Thomas Kruvajan: My son, how long have you been a doctor?
Dr. Andre Gorobec: Three years. I've been with you for two.
Dr. Thomas Kruvajan: When you've been in this business as long as I have, you'll learn to take the speeches at all of these medical conferences with a grain of salt.
See more »

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. See more »

Connections

Referenced in La maldición de la llorona (1963) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Atmosphere so rich you can taste it

For some unknown reason, here recently I've been in the mood to watch a lot of vintage 1960s-70s Italian horror movies. Hardly any other film comes as highly recommended as Black Sunday and after viewing this incredibly moody effort, I can easily see why. It's by far one of the most beautifully photographed films I've seen of any genre. It's also one of the most atmospheric; a sense of horror and dread hang over every frame, and yet it is a film whose power does not lie entirely in the narrative. It's hidden somewhere, pretty much everywhere... in dark corners, in secret crypts, in fog, in shadows... The shots in this film are brilliantly composed. It is a true triumph for director and cinematographer Mario Bava, who provides such rich, dream-like technical depth that (pardon the cliché) this film truly does transport viewers somewhere else in time.

Even though this movie is best appreciated as an exercise in style and technique, the plot line (witch who is executed and returns centuries later to get revenge on the descendants of her executioners) is also enjoyable. So is Barbara Steele, who is ideally cast in a dual role as both the evil witch and the pure heroine. She's an actress who can switch from innocent and ravishing to hideous and horrific with the flick of an eyelash. No wonder she's considered the queen of horror. She deserves to be.


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