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Vampire Horror Film Black Sunday poster

Black Sunday

Released - 1960
Genre - Horror
Director - Mario Bava
Starring - Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici

This black and white horror classic marked the beginning of a long career in horror for Italian director Mario Bava. It is a gothic tale which opens with the ritual execution of a Princess and her lover. They have been found guilty of witchcraft and are forced to wear the mask of Satan. A storm prevents their bodies being burned and so we jump forward two centuries where a hapless doctor finds the tomb of the Princess and manages to break the cross keeping her trapped and drip blood onto her corpse reviving her. The story is weak and some of the dubbing is awful but the haunting visuals created by Bava draw you in and the film is wonderfully atmospheric. He does create a classic horror atmosphere and there are creepy touches but this won't really scare modern audiences and there are elements which appear very dated and a bit silly. The opening sequence is the best thing about the film and it definitely had a big influence on the genre.

Gore - it was considered graphically gory on release with a stake impaling an eyeball amongst other bloody scenes

Vampires - there is some mention of vampires but it is never made explicit whether they are vampires or not, they're definitely evil though

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