Black Sunday: The Mask of Satan (1960)

The film’s Italian title is La maschera del demonio.  I’ve seen a few other Bava favorites:  I tre volti della paura (Three Types of Horror, a.k.a. Black Sabbath, 1963), and Ercole al centro della terra (Hercules in the Center of the Earth/Hercules in the Haunted World, 1961).  I’m continually impressed with Bava’s films.  I have never specifically been into Italian horror films but the more I see them, the more I like them. 

Black Sunday was a pleasure to watch.  Without taking notes during the entire thing, it’s hard to recall all of the amazing camera angles, lighting, and other various shots, but suffice it to say that it was a visually stunning film.  I kept thinking about one of my other favorite films, also made in 1960, which is Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and how amazing it is that both Fellini and Bava were both creating such visually stunning films at the same time in different genres. 

The effects were great, especially with the regeneration/reanimation of the witch, first with lots of maggots and then with eyeballs!  Lovely.

There were many predictable moments, however, but that’s just because the cliches of horror have been done and overdone so much that it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to know what’s coming in an Italian horror film almost 50 years after it was made.  One such was when the two doctors first encounter the witch’s sarcophagus and Dr. Kruvajan is staring into the glass:  I knew he would cut himself and the blood would drip into her mouth and cause her to reawaken.  And, it happened just like that. 

I suppose after watching this that I should be afraid of what I do to people in the present because they could come back to haunt my progeny.  Or, maybe they should be careful of what they do to me!  Muahaaahahaaaaa!

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