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Black Sunday (1960) Poster

(1960)

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.
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In the October 17-23, 1998 edition of "TV Guide", director Tim Burton says this is his favorite horror film.
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Both Barbara Steele and Arturo Dominici were fitted with vampire fangs. Mario Bava decided against using them in the film. They can be seen in some of the publicity photos.
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The sets were actually designed in monochrome, absent of all color, to add to the dark mood.
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In the Italian language version Princess Asa and Javutich are brother and sister which hinted at an incestuous relationship. This relationship is not part of either English language version.
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Based on Nikolay Gogol's short story Viy.
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Only the third horror film produced in Italy in the sound era (Mussolini banned the genre during his dictatorship).
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Barbara Steele didn't see the script in advance. She would be given pages daily.
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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).
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Richard Donner modeled the whole cemetery scene in The Omen (1976) on the scene where Barbara Steele appears in the graveyard with her hounds.
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Mario Bava was a big fan of Nikolay Gogol's short story, "Viy," on which this film's plot and characters are based. Bava recounted that he often used to read the story to his children and that the tale scared them so much that they insisted on sleeping in bed with their father. Bava so admired the horror elements of "Viy" that when was given the chance to choose the material for a film he was to direct, he immediately selected Gogol's story in order to make this film.
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Several of the film's scenes were recreated specifically for Francis Ford Coppola's interpretation of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) as a homage to Bava's film.
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Mario Bava claimed that an American company approached him about doing a color remake. He refused.
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The film was rejected for UK cinema by the BBFC in 1961. The uncut version was released (as "Mask of Satan") with a 15 certificate on the UK Redemption video label in 1992.
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A young girl is sent out at night to milk a cow when Javuto (portrayed by Arturo Dominici) claws his way out of the grave nearby. The young girl is played by Dominici's real life daughter Germana Dominici.
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Ivo Garrani, who plays Katja's aged father, was actually only 36 at the time of filming.
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Galatea gave Mario Bava a lavish six weeks shooting schedule for this film beginning 28 March 1960. The typical Italian production during this period had only a three to four week shooting schedule.
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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.
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Mario Bava's directorial debut.
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In its day, this was considered to be unnecessarily gruesome and indeed was banned in the UK until 1968. Even then, it was heavily cut. The full uncut version wasn't released in Britain until 1992.
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Mario Bava reused some of the sets in his later film Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966).
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Director Mario Bava cast Barbara Steele after seeing her in a photo spread in Life magazine.
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In the US, this was released in a double feature with Roger Corman's The Little Shop of Horrors (1960).
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According to actor Mel Welles, the low budget The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) which had only received limited distribution by Filmgroup, was picked up by American International Pictures as a second feature for Black Sunday (1960) as horror films at that time were customarily released in double features.
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Although shot in English, many of the Italian cast members had thick accents. The film was redubbed for American release.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The film was re-released in Barcelona in 2005 (Cinemes Meliés) and Madrid in 2014 (Artistic Metropol) -1 day-. Only in subtitled version.
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Samuel Z. Arkoff, president of American International Pictures, snapped up the film on a tour of Europe for $100,000 - more than the film's original budget.
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Included in the 2019 Region B Blu Ray box Macabre Visions: The Films of Mario Bava which features 9 films including alternate versions of multiple films featured.
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Italian censorship certificate # 32584 delivered on 5 August 1960.
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