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.


Mario Bava


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





Complete credited cast:
Barbara Steele ... Princess Asa Vajda / Katia Vajda (as Barbara Steel)
John Richardson ... Dr. Andrej Gorobec / Dr. Andreas Gorobec
Andrea Checchi ... Dr. Choma Kruvajan / Dr. Thomas Kruvajan
Ivo Garrani ... Prince Vajda
Arturo Dominici ... Igor Javutich / Javuto
Enrico Olivieri Enrico Olivieri ... Constantine Vajda
Antonio Pierfederici Antonio Pierfederici ... Priest
Tino Bianchi Tino Bianchi ... Ivan - Manservant
Clara Bindi Clara Bindi ... Innkeeper
Mario Passante ... Nikita - Coachman
Renato Terra ... Boris - Stablehand
Germana Dominici Germana Dominici ... Sonya - Innkeeper's Daughter


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


The Undead Demons of Hell Terrorize the World in an Orgy of Stark Horror! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Good reviews plus word-of-mouth reportedly turned this into American International's highest grossing film up to that time, exceeding their grosses for Goliath and the Barbarians (1959) and Roger Corman's House of Usher (1960). See more »


Andre and the priest struggle to open the graveyard gate, when they could have just gotten in by the barn where there was no fence. See more »


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 full list of differences between the 83-minute original cut and the 80-minute AIP cut:
  • A different English-language dub, and a new score by Les Baxter.
  • An added pre-text crawl warning the audience about the film's content: "The producers of the picture you are about to see feel a moral obligation to warn you that it will shock you as no other film ever has. Because it could be very harmful to young and impressionable minds, it is restricted to only those over fourteen years of age."
  • Alternate opening credits.
  • A brief exchange between Katja and Constantine where he tells her their father has died is cut.
  • A scene where Katja and Andrej talk in the garden is cut.
  • An exchange between Katja and Andrej outside her room is cut.
  • Kruvajan's death scene is cut down significantly to remove shots of his eye spurting blood.
  • The scene were Prince Vajda reanimates and menaces Katja is trimmed.
  • Vajda's death scene, particularly the close-ups of his head melting, is trimmed.
  • Asa taunting Andrej before being burned at the stake is cut.
  • Added closing credits.
See more »


Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

User Reviews

One of the three or four best horror movies ever made!
10 September 2002 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'Black Sunday's reputation grows with every year that passes, and watching it it's no wonder why! It is not only one of the three or four best horror movies ever made, it is one of the most extraordinary movies of any genre I've ever seen. Mario Bava went on to direct several movies of note after this, but if he hadn't and this was the only movie he made, he would still be a legend. On a relatively small budget, but with buckets of talent, style and originality, Bava conjured up one of the most atmospheric and haunting movies of all time. He may not be the household name he deserves to be, but he is a film makers film maker with an enormous influence on not only subsequent Italian horror giants Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, but directors as diverse as Tim Burton (who rates this as an all time favourite) and even Martin Scorsese. 'Black Sunday' will also be remembered as one of Barbara Steele's most memorable roles. Steele is best known for her work in 60s European horror movies, but in her career worked with everyone from Fellini to Cronenberg. If she is to be remembered for only one movie it will be this one. Steele was one of the most beautiful actresses to ever set foot in front of a camera, and it is impossible to imagine anyone else in the lead (duel) role. The supporting cast is fine, and includes the fondly remembered John Richardson ('One Million Years B.C.'), but this is Steele's show all the way. 'Black Sunday' is still fresh and exciting over forty years after it was originally released. A landmark movie that deserves to be watched again and again!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Italian | English

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


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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