Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Black Sunday (1960)

Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio (original title)) is an Italian horror movie from 1961, directed by the great Mario Bava. It's dubbed in English, so no subtitles to read. This movie went from campy to scary and back again. The beginning lays out the history of a witch trial in the 17th century, which is a good story in itself, and then fast forwards to the 19th century where the descendants of the witch have an underlying feeling of gloom and doom that they can't understand until all hell breaks loose.

There are bats, fog, a creepy castle with a crypt beneath an abandoned chapel, vampires rising from the dead and corpses turning up all over the place. The scenery, atmosphere and story were creepy and well done, but the dialogue and acting in some scenes was so over-the-top dramatic that it was funny. It's a scary movie with little hope for a happy ending as the young Dr. Gorobec (John Richardson) tries to get to the bottom of the horrific happenings. 

Then enters the priest. He's not much of a talker as he listens to the young doctor rant about all the freaky events at the castle and his desire to save the beautiful princess, played by the wonderful Barbara Steele (in a dual role as Asa the witch). As the doctor speaks, the priest wears this odd half smile the entire time with his buggy eyes and cheap wig. I laughed out loud during the conversation:

Dr Gorobec: The maid's daughter claimed to have seen Dr. Kruvajan get in the carriage to come to the castle. It wasn't the castle's driver though. The driver resembled the man in the portrait at the castle.

Priest: The portrait that hangs by the fireplace?

Dr Gorobec: Yes.

Priest: The portrait of the man who died 200 years ago?

Dr Gorobec: Yes. What's so special about the man in the portrait?

Priest: (His eyes seem to get even bigger) Nothing.


However, the odd priest was instrumental in helping to rid the castle of the evil curse, but he was a weird one! You can check this movie out on Netflix.

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