Saturday, July 23, 2011

Black Sunday (1960)

Director: Mario Bava

Starring: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici

More info: IMDb

Tagline: STARE INTO THESE EYES... discover deep within them the unspeakable terrifying secret of BLACK SUNDAY... it will paralyze you with fright!

Plot: A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant. Only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor stand in her way.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

I've seen a few Bava pictures and, while good to some degree, they all suffer from pacing. There's always a little something that slows the film down. It's not a deal killer. I'm really glad I saw this film and I can see why so many people look upon this as a classic. The opening scene alone where the witch has the mask hammered onto her face (which goes all the way through and nails her to the giant wooden stake she's tied to!!!) and then burn her is worth the price of admission. WOW! Just...fucking...WOW! That made me squirm and I don't do that easily.

I'm going to have to see if I can find the original Italian dub because the English dub I have is horrible. I can usually forgive it but this one's got some bad voice actors, not on all parts but enough to walk away with a bad taste in one's mouth. I've never seen Barbara Steele look unattractive. I digs me some Babs but gee whiz! The holes in the face are a nice touch, though.

Ooh, nudity.

Bava is first an foremost a master of lighting and visual style and this picture is better for it. It looks like a B&W Hammer horror picture it's so rich. He brings a look and feel to this film that you just didn't see here in the States and he brings it in spades. I could only dig it so far since the voice acting was spotty. I predict the Italian dub will kick my rating up another couple of least I hope so. There's an awful lot to like without having a bad dub get in the way and fuck it all up.

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