Black Sunday (1960)
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici, Enrico Olivieri, Antonia Pierfederici, Tino Bianchi
Once you start to wander down the path of Italian horror cinema, there is one director that is a must for you to seek out. While I know quite a few fans start out with Dario Argento, which is a great place to start, but you mustn’t stop there, but go further back. Back to 1960 when the film Black Sunday was released. There are many titles that are considered ‘classics’, but director Mario Bava’s tale of witchcraft, Satanism, and revenge, is one of the best examples of black and white horror cinema, or really horror cinema in general.
As horror fans, we all know that Barbara Steele made a few gothic horror flicks in her day. Some of the plots might even sound a bit similar….I mean, how many films can you make about ghosts coming back from the dead for revenge? Well…quite a few it seems. But the difference with these films is that they were made by talented filmmakers! So it didn’t matter if the plot had been used several times before, it was still a great movie. A prime example of that is Nightmare Castle
Sure, we all know and love Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, which was the film to catapult Steele into her path towards being a Queen of gothic horror, but I have to say that Nightmare Castle is one of my favorites of hers. The tale is about a deceitful wife and her lover who are tortured to death by her sadistic husband. But the story doesn’t end there, when they come back to haunt the husband and his new wife. With some incredible music by Ennio Morricone, and co-starring Paul Muller and the beautiful Helga Liné, I couldn’t recommend this film enough.