A 2021 Film Journey: Day 114

After a rough week I’m already feeling a bit better from having time away from work. I only made it through one movie again today, but that was more because of catching up on writing than any movie watching motivation. Tomorrow will likewise be filled with finishing my Oscar pick and prediction post, but even if I make it through minimal movies this weekend I’ll be feeling much better regardless.

Black Sunday (1960, Dir. Mario Bava)

Thirty years of horror: Black Sunday (1960) - Quarter to Three

After enjoying last night’s viewing of Blood and Black Lace, it felt only natural to double down another Mario Bava feature. This time I chose to put on his critically acclaimed debut film Black Sunday. While I intrinsically associate Bava with the Italian giallo genre, Black Sunday instead draws upon European gothic horror reminiscent of the Universal monster movies from decades prior.

Despite being made only four years prior to last night’s feature. Black Sunday felt like a film from a much earlier era than Blood and Black Lace. The style and tone shift between the two films jarring and have impacted my opinion on the two. Black Sunday is a strong debut. Bava shows a strong aptitude for filmmaking in his take on the vampire mythos. However, for as strong a debut as the film may be, it is first and foremost mimicry of the classic horror films that preceded it. The bombastic tone and visual flare that accompany the giallo films he would later be credited as a forefather of are more striking and unique. Black Sunday is a perfectly solid gothic horror film, but that is not why I chose to watch another of Bava’s films.

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