Friday, 21 June 2013

Horror Review: Black Sunday (1960)

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.

When it comes to classic Horror movies you have such a huge range to choose from, personally "Black Sunday" is one of my favourites.

One thing I've always loved about these old movies is the atmosphere and this film has bucket loads of it, a sense of horror, dread and fear hang over every frame of the film making it a very tense viewing.

The fact that Director Mario Brava started out as a cinematographer makes for truly great viewing, he made a masterpiece out of every shot making it so awe inspiring to watch. You just can't help but admire it's beauty.

The film was such a success that Mario Bava was approached by American company about doing a colour remake, luckily he refused. The fact it's in black and white adds so much depth and character to the film, that would all be lost in colour.

This is the film that propelled Barbara Steele to horror stardom, she isn't known as a Horror legend for nothing and that is clearly evident here. She does such an amazing job in her role and it's no coincidence that a year later she was acting alongside the amazing Vincent Price. 

"Black Sunday" is a truly great film that needs to be seen, a true classic in every sense of the word.

If you want to see the "Black Sunday" trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

In a 1998 edition of "TV Guide", director Tim Burton says this is his favorite horror film. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Barbara Steele didn't see the script in advance. She would be given pages daily. 

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. 

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 and Roger Corman's House of Usher. 

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. 

Italian censorship certificate # 32584 delivered on 5 August 1960. 

Based on Nikolai Gogol's short story Viy. 

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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