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Black Sunday (1960)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Director:
Mario Bava Mario Bava
Starring:
Barbara Steele Barbara Steele
John Richardson John Richardson
Andrea Checchi Andrea Checchi
Ivo Garrani Ivo Garrani
Arturo Dominici Arturo Dominici

7.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Costume Horror, Gothic Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: June 06, 2008
When anyone asks me my 'Top 5 Favorite Horror Films', three of those films belong to Italian filmmakers. Dario Argento holds claim to one of those spots with "Suspiria". Lamberto Bava holds claim to one of those spots with "Demons". And his father, Mario Bava, holds claim to another with "Black Sunday", one of the most chilling and visually stunning horror films ever created. Released in 1960, "Black Sunday" is the godfather of all Italian horror and paved the way for many American horror directors like Carpenter and Neil Marshall, most recently. This film was also a landmark horror film, in general, because of its graphic and grueling nature. It was released the same year as "Psycho" and is far more visually shocking than Hitchcock's masterwork, but it received less acclaim and recognition until it was re-discovered in the 1970's, thanks to the Italian horror movement.

The film features probably one of the three greatest openings from any horror film, with the the witch Princess Asa Vajda (Barbara Steele) being placed in the iron maiden(Mask of Satan) that will ultimately seal her doom. Years later, the vengeful witch returns with her servant (Arturo Dominici) return to possess the soul of a young woman who looks almost identical to the witch. As with most Italian horror, Bava used lighting and stark imagery to create a world that is both frightened and frightening at the same time. Bava was always known for his special effects and this film showcases his unique ability to do so much with so little. Bava really was the master at this art, though Roger Corman is usually given the credit.

What also makes "Black Sunday" so powerful is that it was Bava's first original creation. It was the film that made him a sensation in Italy and the film that would eventually cement his status as a cinematic icon. Even today, this film still holds up under scrutiny. It retains its creepiness and its shock value almost 50 years later. If for no other reason, check out "Black Sunday" for that opening sequence. But, the rest of the film is its equal.

10/10.
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Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #1: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 07/11/2008, 07:27 AM
Sadly, it seems I did just watch this film to only walk away with the pleasure of seeing its opening sequence because, aside from the cinematography, the rest of it offered me very little.
4/10
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