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Black Sunday

1960 1h 23m Horror List
86% Tomatometer 22 Reviews 78% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings Burned at the stake, a vampire witch princess (Barbara Steele) wakes up centuries later with her undead henchman. Read More Read Less Watch on Prime Video Stream Now

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Black Sunday

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Black Sunday

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Critics Consensus

Mario Bava's official narrative debut is a witchy nightmare steeped in gothic splendor, shot in chiaroscuro black and white and punctuated with startling gore.

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Critics Reviews

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Nick Schager Lessons of Darkness One of the cinema's preeminent examples of gothic horror. Rated: A- Feb 5, 2008 Full Review Derek Adams Time Out The visual style still impresses, but the story beneath it has become too formularised for the film to retain all its original power. Feb 9, 2006 Full Review Eugene Archer New York Times It will leave its audiences yearning for that quiet, sunny little motel in Psycho. Rated: 2/5 May 10, 2005 Full Review Howard Waldstein CBR Black Sunday is surprisingly gruesome and tastefully terrifying in all the right ways. It's an essential of Italian horror that begs to be seen. Jun 27, 2023 Full Review Leslie Combemale Cinema Siren Rose the bar for all directors of the horror genre. Aug 2, 2019 Full Review Alberto Abuín Espinof Bava's cinematography and Serandrei's montage make this one of the best paced films ever. [Full review in Spanish] May 25, 2016 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Vito P It is really exciting to see how such effective visual effects are achieved with limited means in a film that really is an inspiring gothic gem. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 06/20/24 Full Review Joseph D Came upon this gem thanks to Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments of all time. Normally I'm not one for B&W stuff, but this film holds up as a suspenseful thriller. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 10/10/23 Full Review martin f One of the best Gothic horror (and Italian horror) out there with a perfect use of Black & white, melancholic dialogues and a surprising amount of gores. The very contrasted black and white puts so much emphasis on the actors' beautiful eyes that you can feel their emotion with their stares alone. It also works very well with the gloomy decors. There is just one short scene filmed differently (with a regular black and white) that took me out for two minutes. There is a lot of old school special effects there, some may feel outdated but they are still captivating and don't spoil the creepy atmosphere. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review sean s It is sad to say that this old black and white movie from 1960 is still better than most of the offerings that I see on Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu currently. This film has neat old, spooky black and white photography and sets. Mario Bava is a great atmospheric director and was ahead of his time. Barbara Steele usually puts on a good show and does in this one. What cracks me up about these old movies is that they let the villain, usually a witch or evil wizard, ramble off this long curse upon the village and it's people instead of quickly dispatching them. It is worth a watch. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review William L Upon first glance of the title, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Black Sunday was another Tyler Perry/Madea movie to ignore, but no, it's one of the great successes of the Italian Master of the Macabre, Mario Bava. I'll be honest, a lot of this film's plot and setting is heavily inspired by classic Dracula - the old European castle/village, a musty crypt, the characters that become enthralled by a monster, the pursuit of a beautiful woman, a creature in repose in a coffin, it's pretty familiar stuff. So where does Bava distinguish his film? It's in the atmosphere, pacing, and visuals; few films have so clearly captured the Gothic tone or aesthetic as well as Black Sunday, particularly in the initial establishment of the premise. There's a great balance of mystery, tropes, solemnity, and set design that creates a totally convincing horror narrative. There are weaknesses as the film ventures into almost Scooby-Doo territory in the last half-hour or so as the plot becomes more cohesive, with a series of hidden passageways and the "gang getting split up" to fall through trapdoors, but the early segments are so convincing that it's easy to overlook the later problems for the sake of enjoyment. However, the slow pacing and some of the inconsistencies may be a turn-off for some. Also, they couldn't just wait for it to stop raining to burn this witch? Nah, just confine her to a crypt with the very real potential to revive instead of planning the witch BBQ for next Tuesday. (3.5/5) Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 06/14/21 Full Review Emil T I understand that these older films were limited when it came to design, make-up, effects, etc., but a movie can't rely simply on its story to remain a "great" piece of work. Sure, it may have a legacy that will ensure its status in the world of cinema, but that doesn't mean the film (as a whole) is any good. 'Black Sunday' is a prime example. If this was made in the '80s we'd all laugh at it and call it a cheesy B-movie destined for obscurity. We don't HAVE to say something is great just because it is old, or was the first to implement a cinematic standard, or ushered in a new style of filmmaking. Perhaps it was something special back in the '60s, but this movie did not stand the test of time. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/07/21 Full Review Read all reviews
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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Burned at the stake, a vampire witch princess (Barbara Steele) wakes up centuries later with her undead henchman.
Director
Mario Bava
Producer
Massimo De Rita
Screenwriter
Ennio De Concini, Mario Serandrei
Production Co
Galatea Film
Genre
Horror
Original Language
Italian
Release Date (Streaming)
Feb 8, 2017
Runtime
1h 23m
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