Black Sunday (1960) with Beatrice Loayza

Anna is joined by film and culture writer Beatriz Loayza to discuss Mario Bava's atmospheric witch film Black Sunday, which sees a devious witch wreck havoc on her descendants from beyond the grave.

In this episode, we’re diving into Mario Bava’s atmospheric gothic horror Black Sunday, released in 1960 and banned in the UK untill 1968 for its graphic violence, considered too gruesome at the time. Based very loosely on Nikolai Gogol’s story VIY (which also has its own Soviet film adaptation that I’d highly encourage you to check out!), Black Sunday follows the wrath of the powerful witch-vampire Asa (played by Barbara Steele in her first big screen role), who places a curse on her family after they execute her for her devotion to Satan. Centuries later, she is resurrected and aims to take the body of her descendant, the innocent Katja (also played by Steele). 

I’m joined in this episode by Beatrice Loayza, film and culture writer at such outlets as The Guardian, The AV Club, Sight & Sound, i-D and many more. We discuss the gender politics of the film, Barbara Steele's dual role, the conflation of witch and vampire, and the gruesome focus on the face. 

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The Final Girls are a UK-based film collective exploring the intersections of horror film and feminism.

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