Director: Mario Bava
Cast: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 87 min.
Score: 9 out of 10
Witches, the undead, Satan and black magic. What could be better for an October night less than a week from Halloween?
Princess Asa and Javuto, her master/lover are executed in a most gruesome fashion by her own family and the church for worshiping Satan. As she is about to be put to death she curses her family and it's descendants and swears to have her revenge. Resurrected 200 years later by two unwitting travelers who stumble upon a decrepit temple, they are determined to return to full life and seek revenge on Asa's descendants, one of whom bears a striking resemblance to the now undead princess.
Easily one of the most influential movies in the horror genre, Black Sunday marked the beginning of what would be a revolution not only in horror, but cinema as a whole. Italian horror films would pave the way for a new, more in-your-face take on the genre that would serve to squash the campy silliness that overtook the genre after World War II and give rise to the gory exploitation films that populated the drive-ins of the 1960's and the slasher films that dominated the genre in the late 1970's and early 1980's. It was revolutionary enough that before it's release in the UK, censors there demanded that 15 minutes be cut from the film. Black Sunday would not see an uncut release there until over 30 years later in 1992. Director Mario Bava and later, others like Dario Argento were were able to infuse their horror films with a sense of high art that had not been seen in the genre since the German expressionist movement that had dominated the silent film era in Europe in the early 20th century. It is worthwhile to note that Black Sunday was the directorial debut of Mario Bava and nearly instantly secured his status as a master of the genre.
This is a film that you cannot go wrong with. Even fifty years later it still holds up and manages to frighten and disturb on a level that most modern horror films simply cannot achieve. It is a true "must see".