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La maschera del demonio
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Black Sunday (1960) More at IMDbPro »La maschera del demonio (original title)

Videos (see all 2)
Black Sunday -- 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.
Black Sunday -- US Theatrical Trailer from Paralta

Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   8,471 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Ennio De Concini (screenplay) &
Mario Serandrei (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Black Sunday on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 February 1961 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
STARE INTO THESE EYES... discover deep within them the unspeakable terrifying secret of BLACK SUNDAY... it will paralyze you with fright! See more »
Plot:
A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Sparkeling Debut See more (104 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Barbara Steele ... Katia Vajda / Princess Asa Vajda (as Barbara Steel)

John Richardson ... Dr. Andre Gorobec
Andrea Checchi ... Dr. Thomas Kruvajan
Ivo Garrani ... Prince Vajda
Arturo Dominici ... Igor Javutich / Javuto
Enrico Olivieri ... Prince Constantine Vajda
Antonio Pierfederici ... Priest
Tino Bianchi ... Ivan
Clara Bindi ... Inn Keeper
Mario Passante ... Nikita, the Coachman
Renato Terra ... Boris
Germana Dominici ... Sonya, the Innkeeper's Daughter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
George Gonneau ... English language narration (uncredited)

Directed by
Mario Bava 
 
Writing credits
Ennio De Concini (screenplay) &
Mario Serandrei (screenplay)

Nikolai Gogol (short story) (as Nikolaj Gogol)

Mario Bava  uncredited
Marcello Coscia  screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Samuel Z. Arkoff .... executive producer (U.S. version)
Massimo De Rita .... producer
Lou Rusoff .... producer (US version)
 
Original Music by
Les Baxter (US version)
Roberto Nicolosi 
 
Cinematography by
Mario Bava 
 
Film Editing by
Mario Serandrei 
 
Production Design by
Giorgio Giovannini 
 
Set Decoration by
Nedo Azzini 
 
Costume Design by
Tina Grani  (as Tina Loriedo Grani)
 
Production Management
Paolo Mercuri .... production supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Vana Caruso .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Robert Sherwood .... sound: US version
 
Special Effects by
Eugenio Bava .... sculptor: masks and faces (uncredited)
Mario Bava .... matte paintings (uncredited)
Mario Bava .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ubaldo Terzano .... camera operator
 
Music Department
Al Simms .... music coordinator (US version)
Luigi Urbini .... conductor (as Pierluigi Urbini)
 
Other crew
Armando Govoni .... production secretary
George Higgins .... dialogue director: US version (as George Higgins III)
Flaminia Jandolo .... voice dubbing: Clara Bindi
Lee Kresel .... dubbing director (US version)
Bona Magrini .... script supervisor
Lidia Simoneschi .... voice dubbing: Barbara Steele (uncredited)
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La maschera del demonio" - Italy (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
87 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:18 | Australia:MA | Australia:M (TV rating) | Finland:(Banned) (1963) (original rating) | Finland:K-18 (1963) (re-rating) | France:U | Italy:16+ | Italy:T (DVD) | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (1986) | UK:(Banned) (1961) | USA:Unrated
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Bava and Steel had a difficult working relationship. Steele sometimes refused to come to set because she did not like her wig or the fact that her cleavage would be shown. One time she refused to come to the set because she believed that Bava wold force her to appear nude. Steele admits that she was difficult due to her inexperience and her inability to understand Italian.See more »
Goofs:
Miscellaneous: In the opening credits, Barbara Steele's name is misspelled as Barbara Steel.See more »
Quotes:
Dr. Thomas Kruvajan:More than a thousand years of conflicts, hates and loves - all reduced to dust in these tombs. Nothing remains of the ancient princes of Vieda, but the dead shadows of their former glory. The history of ancient Moldavia is carved in these stones.
Dr. Thomas Kruvajan:Andre! Come here!
[wipes the glass window of a sarcrophagus]
Dr. Thomas Kruvajan:This is the witch of the old legend! See this bronze mask? One was always placed over the face over a condemned witch, so she would wear for all eternity her true face: the face of Satan.
Dr. Andre Gorobec:Why is there a window?
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Power of Fear (2006)See more »

FAQ

How is Asa awakened?
Why the title 'Black Sunday'?
How closely does the movie follow Gogol's short story?
See more »
21 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
Sparkeling Debut, 13 September 2001
Author: marquis de cinema from Boston, MA

La Maschera del Demonio/The Mask of Satan(1960) is the film that introduced audiences around the world to the cinema of Mario Bava. Responsible for being the first horror film to have a formidable evil female villain. Its about a dead witch who returns from the dead with her lover to terrorize the descendents of their executioners. Translitional picture that predates the broodish and moody style of Night of the Living Dead(1968). Tim Burton has cited this movie as one of his favorites.

After years as Assistent Director and Director of Photography, Bava was rewarded with his first full directorial assignment and the results are impressive. Mario Bava was a talented filmmaker with a love for the fine arts of Europe and Russian literature. He didn't direct full time until he was in his late 40s. Mario Bava's influences as a film director were Riccardo Freda and Freda and Fritz Lang. Nikolai Gogol is a writer that along with Edgar Allen Poe played a major influence on Bava's supernatural tales.

One theme that is present in The Mask of Satan(1960) is the decay and decline of a once happy and powerful family{more fully explored in Bava's later films of Black Sabbath(1963), Whip and the Body(1964), Lisa and the Devil(1974), and Shock(1977)}. Deals with the notion of the inescapability of fate that is an important theme in Bava's work. An example of this motif comes from Barbara Stelle with her line:"Here is the Very image of my life". Mario Bava was a fatalistic filmmaker who used imagery to convey his beliefs in destiny or fate. Part of his fatalistic style comes from him experiences and memories of WW2.

Some of the special effects are amazing for a film of this caliber. Mario Bava was a genius in creating special effects with only his creative soul and imagination. Makes one wonder what great special effects he could create with a modest budget. The gore effects although spread out in small pieces are gruesome for 1960. Proves that great special effects don't necessarily have to be done with mega dollars.

The opening scene of the execution of Asa is a stunning combination of atmosphere and violent imagery. Barbara Stelle along with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Vincent Price are some of the greatest icons in 1960s to 1970s horror films. Many movie makers in horror films were influenced by the opening scene. Certain parts of the atmospheric opening can be seen as one inspiration for the prologue of Lucio Fulci's L'Aldila/The Beyond(1981). A special moment in horror cinema.

The Mask of Satan(1960) came about as a result of the success of the Curse of Frankenstein(1957) and Horror of Dracula(1958) in Italy. Mixes the old fashion horror of Univerisal Studios with the graphic violence of Hammer horror. The Hammer and Universal horror films are responsible for the birth of horror in Post war Italian cinema. There are a couple of scenes that are obviously influenced by Horror of Dracula(1958). The fact that Mario Bava did this based on the success of Horror of Dracula(1958) must have influenced Terence Fisher to respond to directing Dracula:Prince of Darkness(1966).

The Mask of Satan(1960) isn't interested in plot and story as much as atmosphere and painting style visuals. Mario Bava took the barebones material of the film and turned it into something magnificent. Mario Bava's direction has the look of a great artist. Setting up atmosphere, dread, mood, and terror were some of Bava's strengths. His experiences as a cinematographer really pays dividends in Bava's direction.

A significant influence was placed on La Maschera del Demonio by the first Italian horror film of the sound era, I Vamipri(1956). A few references are made to I Vampiri(1956) especially in the discovery of a dead body near the river bank. Also, the aging effect in Mask of Satan(1960) comes from Bava's work on I Vampiri. Italian filmmaker, Riccardo Freda was the major influence behind Bava's films and the main directorial mentor of Mario Bava. The romantic subplot of The Mask of Satan(1960) also derieves from I Vampiri(1956).

Has some of the best set designs in a low budget horror film. Mario Bava would use some of the set for his late 1960s horror classic Kill Baby Kill(1967). Amazing that Mario Bava could put together grandeur looking art and set designs with so little. He also contributed to the dazzling cinematography. Mario Bava used many of the film's motifs and themes for The Whip and the Body(1964).

La Maschera del Demonio/The Mask of Satan(1960) is based loosely on a short story by Gogol called the Viy. An interesting note on the making of The Mask of Satan(1960) is that Bava made changes thoughout production because of uncertainities about the screenplay. Its one of the best horror films of the last fifty years. The camera moves with a smooth feel typical of a Mario Bava phtographed feature. This is an item that many aspiring horror filmmakers should watch in order to see how a great horror film should be done.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Black Sunday (1960)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Favorite scariest scene marilynn25
One of the finest horror films ever made! Tiki_Barfly
Black Sunday is featured in the new book Pumpkin Cinema dittomist
Is this the movie........(POSSIBL E SPOILER ALERT!) necoleman
Title jjk50
I felt like I was watching something from MST3K... ActJef1077
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