Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Horror Challenge #2: "Black Sunday"

This is a movie I've been meaning to check out for awhile (like, half of my life awhile).  It's famous among horror fans because its director, Mario Bava, is a legend in the genre (and even outside the genre) for his ability to create mood and evoke feelings.  Sometimes his movie are a miss for me, but I've heard so many good things about this one that I was counting on everyone to be right this time, and I wasn't disappointed.

The black and white cinematography is beautiful here, seriously, it adds a layer of mystery to the proceedings, and the proceedings are pretty gruesome.  A Witch and her Vampire cohort are being put to death with masks of Satan nailed over their faces as punishment for their evil deeds, and the Witch puts a curse on the villagers and her own brother, who is heading the mob to execute her (talk about sibling rivalry).  She curses him and his future generations, and he's all "STFU bitch, here, enjoy this mask we're going to nail into your face" and then they try to burn her to death, but the rain douses the flames (oops) so they seal her in a tomb counting on a cross to keep her trapped forever.  Fast forward two centuries, and the world's least reverent doctor is exploring her tomb and he destroys an old pipe organ with his cane (dickhead) and then just for good measure, he destroys the cross on her tomb as well (thanks a lot, dumbass) which allows her to send out her evil to try and resurrect herself and her brother (lover?  I dunno, this was a weird family, so maybe).

The plot is a little convoluted, but Barbara Steele, who plays both the evil Witch Asa and the young princess Katia in the present, upon whom Asa is trying to unleash her evil curse, manages to make it work.  Even with the black and white keeping this from being a sticky red bloodfest, there's still some gore and creepy scenes which gave me the willies (I don't like maggots or spiders, ew ew ew) and the scenes where the devil's masks are nailed over the faces of the evildoers (ouch) and the scenes where those same masks are pulled off (double ouch...and also ew) work for me.  Of course, most of the characters aren't any smarter than dumbass doctor dude who destroyed the cross and set the evil free, but I was still rooting for them, and that made the movie interesting.  I really enjoyed this one, and I'm glad I finally got a chance to see it.

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