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Black Sunday (1960)

La maschera del demonio (original title)
Not Rated | | 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 ...
Prince Vajda
...
Enrico Olivieri ...
Prince Constantine Vajda
Antonio Pierfederici ...
Priest
Tino Bianchi ...
Ivan
Clara Bindi ...
Inn Keeper
...
Nikita, the Coachman
Renato Terra ...
Boris
Germana Dominici ...
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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:

STARE INTO THESE EYES... discover deep within them the unspeakable terrifying secret of BLACK SUNDAY... it will paralyze you with fright! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 February 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Sunday  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Donner modeled the whole cemetery scene in The Omen (1976) on the scene where Barbara Steele appears in the graveyard with her hounds. See more »

Goofs

When Katya runs down the passage after finding Ivan's body she knocks over a suit of armor. When Alex runs down the same hall a little later, the armor is back on its stand. See more »

Quotes

Princess Asa Vajda: You did not know that you were born for this moment. You did not know that your life had been consecrated to me by Satan. But you sensed it, didn't you? You sensed it... That's why my portrait was such a temptation to you, while frightened you. You felt like your life and your body were mine. You felt like me because you were destined to become me... a useless body without life.
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The most terrifying experience you'll ever have !!
29 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

"The sound that you hear is dripping blood. This...is the beginning of Black Sunday !!" ...These two very atmospheric and mood-setting sentences are heard when the Black Sunday DVD is put into the player. No need to tell you that a better and more tense opening has yet to be created. This movie is an undeniable masterpiece in its kind. A powerful and terrifying experience that was way ahead of its time back in 1960 and now - almost 45 years later - it still stands for an hour and a half of pure terror, devlish fun and sinister fascination. I respect the opinion and dislikes of everyone but not when it comes to this movie...you either admit that Black Sunday is a masterpiece or you're wrong !!

I could give you a thousand reasons why this movie should be seen as the most important horror movie ever made but I'll just stick to the most important ones. Black Sunday ( or The Mask of Satan, as you prefer ) is the debut of Italian genius Mario Bava...Well, not really his debut but the first full length movie after a series of short films and project he didn't get credit for. In it, Bava presents us on a stylish and visually stunning story with an extremely macabre and dark topic. It contains passages of torturement, curses, witchburning, vampirism, massacres and resurrection but it's all brought to us in a very artistic fashion. Bava's profesionalism and style reminds me about the true masterpieces from Universal...Maybe also because the whole movie is filmed in beautiful black and white but merely because of the creepy atmosphere and the morbid topics. Black Sunday does contain rather many violent and sadistic scenes, but it becomes unwatchable or disgusting. Actually, when you look closer at it...it's a fairy tale !! Think about it...: evil witch, ominous castles, dark forests and - on top of it all - a tale of true love at first sight ! Barbara Steele should get as least as much credit and praise though. This stunning beauty can easily considered "Queen of Horror" if it were only for her performance here. Steele has a double role here ( the evil, vampiric Prinses Asa and the virgin Katia ) and her appearance can only be seen as on of beauty and pureness. Barbara Steele - once spit out by the glory of Hollywood - succeeds in convincing the audience that she stars as both an innocent virgin as well as a demonic ancient witch. The cinematic value attached to her character comes extremely close to Karloff's Frankenstein and Lugosi's Count Dracula. After all, Princess Asa was the first true female monster and she has - literally - become immortal.

You're not a horror fan if you haven't seen the perfection of Black Sunday...I give this movie a very well deserved rating 10 out of 10.


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