I made the mistake of watching the film I chose for EXPLOITATION ALLEY alone. Usually I have someone to watch movies with, but I decided to watch this solo. I will forever (well at least for a few days) be uneasy and downright frightened. Within the first five minutes of this film I realized this was going to become one of my new favorites. It is in black and white, which automatically scores it some cool points, and it deals with devils, curses, and revenge…so what is there not to like? If I still have your attention, and you want to be slightly scared, and amused, I highly suggest checking out BLACK SUNDAY! BLACK SUNDAY was released in 1960 as LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO. A great little film directed by Mario Bava, which was considered so violent, it was banned in the UK till 1968.
It has a very eerie beginning, complete with a narration that just adds so much scary to the already scary. We are introduced to a very beautiful woman named Asa (Barbara Steele) and her lover Javuto (Arturo Dominici) being sentenced to dead for you know, being into witchcraft. To add insult to injury, her brother is the one responsible for her death sentence. As any smart witch would do, she places a curse on her brother, and his future family. Then something uncomfortable happens, a metal mask with spikes (on the inside) is placed and hammered onto her face. Ouch. Exactly two centuries later, Dr. Thomas Kruvajan (Andrea Checchi) and Dr. Andre Gorobec (John Richardson) are cruising through the area where the tragic event happened, and of course a wheel on their carriage breaks. While the two men wait for it to be repaired, they wander around and discover Asa’s tomb. After accidently cutting his hand on some glass, Dr. Kruvajan’s blood drips onto Asa’s face. Of course, you can see where this is going. His blood brings her back to life, so she can fulfill her curse on her descendants. Also, nothing can prepare you for how creepy she is when she comes back. No really, get ready for a nightmare or two.
There is a lot of evil drama, and intense curse activity pretty much from beginning to end. She shows no mercy to anyone, she ruthlessly kills, and seems attached to her descendant Katia (who is also played by Barbara Steele) and when I say attached, I mean she wants to take all of Katia’s blood. Since I feel that every fan of the genre needs to watch this at least once, I will not ruin the events that lead up to a very intense, semi-romantic, and awesome ending complete with the return of the scary sounding narration.
Overall, this is a great film. It really kept me on edge most of the time. Mostly because I have never seen anything this old give me the creeps like this did. This film is also one of the few I have seen from the 1960s that didn’t make me laugh when it wasn’t really supposed to be funny. Actually, there was no laughter at all. Every actor did a great job, and I have added a new film to my all time favorite list. There isn’t anything to dislike about this, if you are a fan of old, classic, creepy, and if you love to see witches do what they do best, this is for you.