Category Archives: Films Released in 1960
BLACK SUNDAY (The Mask of Satan)-Italy-1960
Directed by Mario Bava
Screenplay by Ennio De Concini, Mario Sarandrei and Marcello Coscia
Based on the short story “The Viy” by Nikolai Gogol
Is “Black Sunday” a film about a witch and her illicit lover who vow vengeance on her brother’s descendants? Yes. Is “Black Sunday” a film about a vampire and her illicit lover who vow vengeance on her brother’s descendants? Again, yes. Are the witch and the vampire the same person as portrayed by the hauntingly beautiful Barbara Steele? Oh, hell yes. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that this is Steele’s film in every way. The woman is so strikingly gorgeous that there is absolutely no way you can take your eyes off of her. Who better to portray not only the evil witch/vampire Asa Vajda and her descendant the innocent princess Katja Vajda? With one look into those eyes Steele can make your heart melt and you fall madly in love, or you will do her bidding on the path to your destruction. I have racked my brain trying to figure out a way to review this film and this is the only way I know how. This is Mario Bava’s debut film as a director and it would be the first in a long line of Italian horror classics that include “Black Sabbath”, “Blood and Black Lace” and “Planet of the Vampires.” But make no mistake about it, Bava’s name may be above the title but it is Barbara Steele and her raven beauty that is the star of “Black Sunday.”
In the October 17-23, 1998 edition of “TV Guide”, director Tim Burton says this is his favorite horror film.
Both Barbara Steele and Arturo Dominici were fitted with vampire fangs. Mario Bava decided against using them in the film. They can be seen in some of the publicity photos.
In the Italian language version Princess Asa and Javutich are brother and sister which hinted at an incestuous relationship. This relationship is not part of either English language version.
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- At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (Mojica Marins, 1964) (dcpfilm.wordpress.com)
- Black And Gold Sundays With Rob Pratte (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- What’s the matter, Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day? Can’t I fondle my own grandson? Give him to me! (aintitcool.com)
- Black & Gold Sunday (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Sunday Overlay | Manhattan – Down | Black and White (nycfstop.com)
- Black & Gold Sundays: April 29, 2012 (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- Snazzy Sundays ~ In Black & White (kittenlounge.onsugar.com)
- Looks of the Week! (fabsugar.com)
- Day 46 – Snowy, black and white Sunday (withreverence.wordpress.com)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by Joseph Stefano
Based on the novel by Robert Bloch
It would be stupid of me to try to review Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The film is a well-established classic of not only the horror and suspense genre, but of cinema in general. Without it, several of the horror films of today would not exist. Without Norman Bates there would be no John Doe (Se7en), no Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs). The landscape of film would be forever altered. Steven Spielberg would have never made Jaws if he had not first been a student of Hitchcock’s masterful style of building an almost unbearable level of suspense. Almost the entire film catalog of Brian DePalma would cease to exist without this film. No Sisters or Body Double. No Carrie, no Blow-Out and no Raising Cain. Do you get my point? Do I need to name dozens more films that would never exist, dozens of careers that would never be the same without the influence of this monumental masterpiece? Okay, what about the slasher film? If Black Christmas is the father of the modern day slasher film, then Psycho is that films’ proud grandfather.
Alright, maybe I’ve beaten this horse as much as I can without killing it. All I am trying to say in a way that will make this commentary longer than four words is that Psycho is a classic. It is as deserving of that title as much as The Godfather, The Exorcist or Jaws. If you have yet to see it after 51 years then you are missing out on a work of art presented to you by the Master himself, Alfred Hitchcock.
Alfred Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Robert Bloch for only US$9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could to keep the ending a secret.
In the opening scene, Marion Crane is wearing a white bra because Alfred Hitchcockwanted to show her as being “angelic”. After she has taken the money, the following scene has her in a black bra because now she has done something wrong and evil. Similarly, before she steals the money, she has a white purse; after she’s stolen the money, her purse is black.
First American film ever to show a toilet flushing on screen.