THE MASK OF SATAN (black sunday; revenge of the vampire; la maschera del demonio) (1960 ITALY) D/W: MARIO BAVA W: ENNIO DE CONCINI/MARIO SERANDREI P: MASSIMO DE RITA
Bava`s amazing feature debut proper (after several documentaries, and completing work on ULYSSES, I VAMPIRI, CALTIKI and GIANT OF MARATHON) opens with a memorable, luird scene in which witch Barabara Steele has a spiked mask hammered onto her face! When she`s later revived by a drop of blood, she sets about replacing her double in the present day (also Steele). It`s based on Nikolai Gogol`s The Vij (also filmed under that title in Russia in 1967) and has atmosphere to spare, but i`m sure i don`t need to tell you all this again. Bava himself oversaw the fantastic b/w photography. Suffice to say that it still holds up and is a must see to this day. Enough said. With Andrea Checchi, John Richardson, Ivo Garrani and Renato Terra. Roberto Nicolosi`s very good soundtrack was replaced by Les Baxter for the U.S. version. Remade in 1989, and the Yugoslavian SVETO MESTO was also based on Vij.

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