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Queens of the Bs: The Films of Barbara Steele

Friday, January 12, 1979
7:30 p.m. Black Sunday
Mario Bava (Italy,1960)

Barbara Steele In Person!

"Her coffin explodes! Half naked, she looks around and spots the man who accidentally brought her back to life. 'Oh, you're here again,' she whispers seductively. 'I need you again.' She stretches her arms luxuriously. 'Kiss me. You will die, but you will know bliss beyond the reach of mortals.'

"This is the film that made Steele's reputation. Beautifully shot by Italian cinematographer–turned–director Mario Bava, it's a stylish, terrifying horror film with the unmistakable look of a classic—despite a plot that borders on incoherence. If Steele owes it all to Black Sunday, Black Sunday owes as much to Steele. She plays two parts—Ava, a 200–year–old vampire; and Princess Katia, an innocent young woman who is Ava's descendent. In both roles she is, well, legendary. The two women, and the two plot components, come together on Black Sunday, the one day in each century when Satan walks among the living.

"WARNING: Please don't bring children to see Black Sunday. Some of the images are too graphic for kids; they may even be too graphic for adults." Michael Goodwin

• Produced by Massimo de Rita. Directed by Mario Bava. Photographed by Ubaldo Terzano. Screenplay by Ennio de Concini and Mario Bava, based on the novel "The Vij" by Nikolai Gogol. Music by Les Baxter. With Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Ivo Garrani, Andrea Checchi, Arturo Dominici. (1960, 84 mins, English-dubbed)