Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Black Sunday- "Calm yourself Princess..."

I had never seen Black Sunday before. I know, I am ashamed to admit it (Bad Horror Fiend!- I did see Black Sabbath so don't kick me out of the cool kids club.) But what a great way to start the New Year! Black Sunday was Mario Bava's first "official" film and all I have to say is "what a beginning!" Bava and Micheal Reeves are like the Orson Welles "wunderkinds" of the Horror world. Now that I know I am about to embark on an obsessive Bava streak (which will last much longer than the obsessive Reeves streak, for obvious reasons) let me just say goodbye to Klaus Kinski- it was nice obsessing about you- but since I can't find Nosferatu on DVD I bid you adieu.

Black Sunday is all about atmosphere, howling winds, decrepit castles, and the beautiful Barbara Steele. Barbara Steele plays Princess Asa Vajda (the name of my next cat,) a powerful witch who is put to death by her brother sometime in the 17th century. Asa and her boyfriend, Javuto (henceforth known as Prince Valiant) are forced to wear "The Mask of Satan" before meeting their end. "The Mask of Satan" is a mini Iron Maiden, the perfect gift for the hard to shop for person on your Holiday list....


This is going to hurt.........
Cut to the 19th century. Major dumb ass of the year, Dr. Thomas Kruvajan, is traveling through Moldavia (where all this action takes place) with his hot assistant Dr. Andre Gorobec. While waiting for their coach to be repaired they stumble upon Princess Asa's tomb. Kruvajan, who is well versed in Witch lore, proceeds to desecrate the tomb. Not only does he break the cross that holds the corpse of Asa in a spell, he also kills a bat, removes the Satan mask, and bleeds on Asa. Everyone knows that if you kill a bat, break a cross, remove a Satan mask, and bleed on a corpse bad things are going to happen. Kruvajan, well versed in Witch lore, takes a "what the fuck" attitude and goes about his way. As they leave the crypt, they run into the beautiful Princess Katia, Princess Asa's doppelganger. Gorobec falls in love, Kruvajan gets drunk, Asa awakens, and all hell breaks loose.

I am ready for my close-up....


The pockmarked Asa, unable to rise from her tomb, summons Prince Valiant from his resting place. The general idea is to kill everyone in the family, take over Katia's body, and rule the world. Plus they are Vampires. There is a lot going on here.....


I love you Prince Valiant....
I don't want to give away the end so I will stop here. Let me just say that this film is surprisingly gory (1960!), wonderfully creepy, and downright frightening. The scene where the Dr. is locked in the tomb with the Witch is "keep you up at night" scary and the Asa/Katia transformation scene is amazing. This is the kind of film you want to watch on a dark and stormy night. Alone. If you are into that kind of thing...which I am.

5 comments:

Chris Regan said...

I'm on a Bava streak at the moment too! Watched this just last week and I was really blown away. The effects and the look of the film are awesome. Have since watched Black Sabbath which was great too - especially the last story.

The Film Connoisseur said...

You've been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award, check it out!

http://www.filmconnoisseur.blogspot.com

The Film Connoisseur said...

Gonna make this one a priority RIGHT NOW! Thanks for that awesome review and those pics, they really made me want to watch this film. Its about time I got my Bava going on.

Jen said...

Thank you Film Connoisseur!! I will be posting it soon!

Cellar Door said...

I am glad you did not get us the Mask of Satan for holiday cheer, but instead sent us the Super Psychedelic Drawing Dome of Doom! Okay, not of doom. So cool, though! Thank you! Corney card to come. May include a dog...

BTW, the word verification is "Kilacest"= pretty good horror film name. I see killing, I see incest, yes, Kilacest has it all! Flowers in the Attic with more gore!