Black Sunday (1960)
Black Sunday is a 1960 Italian gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava, from a screenplay by Ennio de Concini, Mario Serandrei and Marcello Coscia. The film stars Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Arturo Dominici and Ivo Garrani. It was Bava's directorial debut, although he had completed several previous feature films without credit. Based very loosely on Nikolai Gogol's short story "Viy", the narrative concerns a vampire-witch who is put to death by her own brother, only to return 200 years later to seek revenge on her descendants. By the social standards of the 1960s, Black Sunday was considered unusually gruesome, and was banned in the UK until 1968 because of its violence. In the U.S., some of the gore was censored, in-house, by the distributor American International Pictures before its theatrical release to the country's cinemas. Despite the censorship, Black Sunday was a worldwide critical and box office success, and launched the careers of director Mario Bava and movie star Barbara Steele. In 2004, one of its sequences was voted number 40 among the "100 Scariest Movie Moments" by the Bravo TV network.