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Black Sunday (1960)

La maschera del demonio (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 15 February 1961 (USA)
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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 »
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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. Andrej Gorobec / Dr. Andreas Gorobec
Andrea Checchi ... Dr. Choma Kruvajan / 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:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Bava and Steele 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

In the opening credits, Barbara Steele's name is misspelled as Barbara Steel. 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

La Maschera del Demonio in its Italian form has been shown on Italian television. This is the only complete, uncut version of the film which includes a scene between Ivo Garrani & Barbara Steele in an outdoor setting. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Lords of Salem (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Living dead masterpiece of Italian cinema
7 January 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

Be sure and watch the uncut version with the title "The Mask of Satan," not the censored "Black Sunday" copy, to get the full effect of this living dead masterpiece of Italian cinema. More a movie of the undead than a vampire flick, it reminds the horror aficionado of a Val Lewton film from the 1940's, especially "The Leopard Man," not that "The Mask of Satan" is about leopards, but the mood and atmosphere are similar.

The film is about a woman of darkness and her mate who were executed for witchcraft two centuries before the Napoleonic period of European history. The most gruesome feature of the execution involved nailing a mask of Satan to their faces by means of a giant sledgehammer before they were entombed. By accident two hundred years later a doctor and his assistant while journeying through the region by coach on a dark stormy night filled with eerie devilish sounds, the doctor removes the mask from Princess Asa Vajda supposed corpse. Now Princess Vajda and her fiendish companion become free to seek their revenge. Their evil is released on the world and must be stopped.

This is undoubtedly director Mario Bava best film. The marvelous camera work draws the viewer into the maelstrom of darkness and evil through innovative movements and angles. The shadowy settings where the actors are posed in ominous fashion are unforgettable. One obvious inspiration for Bava was the contemporary British Hammer horror film popular in America, especially with the drive-in crowd. The arrival of Katia Vajda with what appear to be the dogs of Hell, standing like a silhouette of damnation, reminds one of a Caspar David Friedrich painting from the German Romantic art movement of the Napoleonic era. One wonders if the director of "The Omen," Richard Donner, patterned his creepy scene in the cemetery with the Rottweilers after this scene in "The Mask of Satan."

This movie remains a must see for horror fans, somewhat of a lost treasure.


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