XL Popcorn – Black Sunday

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 610/1007
Title: Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio)
Director: Mario Bava
Year: 1960
Country: Italy

Okay so doing three 1960 films in a row is a bit of a fluke, but how different have Peeping Tom, Le Trou and Black Sunday. This film, at least for me, is the lesser of the three.

I guess that after two pretty full on films (and an emotional stop-motion romp) this was a bit of a comedown. It was essentially the Italian version of Viy  – i.e. something made me laugh unintentionally. Especially the bat in the beginning which was SO on an elastic band that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

That was the problem that I kept having with Black Sunday. Thanks to the old special effects, cliched storyline and, at times, poor overdubbing –  it was difficult for me to properly get into this film. Really, the only part that made me feel like this was a good film was the prologue.

This prologue was brilliant and the rest of the film just couldn’t live up to it. Essentially imaging the spooky looking Barbara Steele about to be burned as a witch – only to have a spiky mask hammered into her face. It was over the top gore that I was hoping would continue into the rest of this film (I’m guessing this thirst for gore is because I am currently reading JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure… I don’t usually yearn for gore in my filmwatching) and was subsequently disappointed.

Hey ho, it was an interesting look into pre-Giallo Italian horror movies. It felt a lot like an Italian attempt at a Roger Corman film, which is around about the level I would pitch this.

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