Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Sunday (1960)

or "La Maschera del Demonio" (The Mask of Satan).

Two doctors travelling to a medical conference take a shortcut through a forest and come upon the tomb of the evil witch Ava (Barbara Steele), put to death by her brother two hundred years before. She cursed the descendants of her brother prior to having a spikey mask nailed to her face then burned. Ouch.

One bumbling doctor breaks the cross that was keeping her in her coffin then bleeds on her causing her to come back to life. Duh, people! Evil Asa then raises her boy-toy from the grave (using a mystical technique called "telling him to"). The doctors meet Princess Katia (also Barbara Steele), a cursed descendant of Asa's brother, then they part company until hot living princess' dad is attacked by the boy-toy of the evil dead princess. Is there a bumbling doctor in the house? I mean, haunted castle?

Great sets, moody and atmospheric, and well paced, Black Sunday was Mario Bava's masterpiece. The cinematography was excellent. I should have seen it prior to the other three I watched, but there was a problem with the Netflix copy. They were hashing to the 1977 movie which at almost two and a half hours, was not going to be budgeted on my calendar any time soon (an hour and a half was doable - I'm a busy little boy). Once corrected, this became the last movie I saw before Halloween.

If any Bava fans I did offend with my prior lukewarm reviews, note this is not the glowingist of reviews. Dubbing muddles the acting and partially spoils my viewing experience. Still, it's a wonderfully looking movie with a decent story, and Barbara Steele was hot. AMRU 3.5.
"You will never escape my vengeance, or of Satan's! My revenge will seek you out, and with the blood of your sons, and of their sons, and their sons, I will continue to live forever! They will restore me to life you now rob from me!"

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