Director: Mario Bava Run Time: 87 min. Format: DCP Rating: NR Release Year: 1960
Starring: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi
1960 saw the release of three of horror’s best films: Alfred Hitchock’s Psycho, Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom, and Mario Bava’s Black Sunday (originally La maschera del demonio or The Mask of Satan). While the others deal with real horrors, Bava’s story is about a vengeful witch whose pact with Satan carries over centuries, long after her execution. In fact, her death is so brutally depicted in the film’s opening sequence that caused the film to be banned in the UK. When she’s awakened by the blood of a traveling doctor, the witch and her minion haunt the cursed family that killed her with the ever-stunning Barbara Steele playing both the witch and the family’s young daughter. As you get with Bava, the film is all contrast, lights and darks, scenery with depth and innovative cinematography.