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Black Sunday (1960)

La maschera del demonio (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 15 February 1961 (USA)
Trailer
3:28 | Trailer

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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.

Director:

Mario Bava

Writers:

Ennio De Concini (screenplay), Mario Serandrei (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Steele ... Katia Vajda / Princess Asa Vajda (as Barbara Steel)
John Richardson ... Dr. Andre Gorobec
Andrea Checchi ... Dr. Thomas Kruvajan
Ivo Garrani Ivo Garrani ... Prince Vajda
Arturo Dominici ... Igor Javutich / Javuto
Enrico Olivieri Enrico Olivieri ... Prince Constantine Vajda
Antonio Pierfederici Antonio Pierfederici ... Priest
Tino Bianchi Tino Bianchi ... Ivan
Clara Bindi Clara Bindi ... Inn Keeper
Mario Passante ... Nikita, the Coachman
Renato Terra Renato Terra ... Boris
Germana Dominici 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:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

15 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Sunday See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Galatea Film,Jolly Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The U.S. version released by American International has a replacement score by Les Baxter. Although Baxter is given sole credit, his score actually contains themes from Roberto Nicolosi's original score. See more »

Goofs

When Katia plays the piano, her fingerings don't match the piano music on the soundtrack. See more »

Quotes

Princess Asa Vajda: You, too, can feel the joy and happiness of hating.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The film was initially rejected for cinema in 1961 by the BBFC and passed 7 years later with cuts as "Revenge of the Vampire". The initial video release by Stablecane in 1986 (as "Black Sunday") featured the shorter re-edited U.S print which was missing around 3 mins of violence including cuts to the burning of Vajda, the eye gouging, and the infamous mask/branding scene plus some character changes (Javuto became Asa's servant in the US version). The U.K. version from Redemption Video (titled "The Mask of Satan") is the original, uncut, English-language version prepared by the producers. It contains the original music score, more mature dubbing, and contains violence edited from the U.S. version. It is also letterboxed. See more »

Connections

Edited into Bride of Monster Mania (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Stylish Gothic thriller full of atmospheric chills...
18 September 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

BARBARA STEELE became an icon of horror films (the way Christopher Lee did when he played Dracula), when she played the role of a vampire witch princess burned at the stake in the 17th century who returns two hundred years later with a vengeance. Not that the story itself is all that original, but when done as stylishly as it is here, with the perfect B&W atmosphere and chiller mood, it's a winner.

There's no let-up in suspense from the gripping opening scene where the mask of Satan is nailed onto the face of the poor victimized woman, even though the unfolding of the story is rather slow. The graveyard scene of an undead man rising from the earth is masterfully photographed. The mood becomes more and more intense as several key characters emerge as vampires.

As a young doctor who figures importantly in the plot, JOHN RICHARDSON is a rather wooden actor and makes a cardboard hero, but in a film that relies on its effect for brilliant camera-work and Gothic touches, it's not much of a flaw. Barbara Steele's impassive mask-like beauty is suitable in the eerie dual role she plays with wide-eyed conviction.

The moody camera-work captures the spirit of Gothic horror in every shadowy scene. While the story itself is less than inspired, it does fulfill the promise of a good cobweb chiller right up until the rather predictable ending.

Well worth watching for fans of this genre.


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