In the first few minutes, when the muscular executioner ram the spiked mask into the young woman’s face with a sledgehammer, you kinda know why it was banned in many countries in the 60’s.
Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi
Runtime: 87 mins
BLU-RAY REGION B
“Cover her face with the mask of Satan!”
In the seventeenth century Princess Asa Vajda and her lover Javutich gets executed by her brother and the locals accused of witchcraft. She puts a curse on her brother before she dies. 200 years later, a professor and his apprentice find the tomb, and manage to awaken the old “witch”. In a castle nearby lives her brother’s descendants and the old curse is now upon them.
Bava’s first directional credential is a masterpiece. It’s still one of the best gothic horror’s there is, and up there with Hammer’s “Dracula”. The casting of Barbara Steele is perfect, and started her career as the queen of European gothic horror. The atmosphere is really creepy, underlined by the use of black & white together with the gothic backdrops. The editing and the pacing is also timed perfectly. A genuinely scary movie and one of the best horror movies of the 60’s.
Arrow is serving us with a triple pack of both Blu-Ray and Dvd filled with the movie itself in two different version, interviews, booklet, audio commentary by the great Bava-autobiographer Tim Lucas, trailers, and if that was not enough, Italy’s first big horror movie “I Vampiri”(1956) as a bonus.