Despite its reputation as one of the greatest and most influential of all horror films, there is surprisingly little literature dedicated to Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960), and this contribution to the Devil's Advocates series is the first single book dedicated to it. Martyn Conterio places the film in the historical context of being one of the first sound Italian horror films and how its success kick-started the Italian horror boom. The author considers the particularly Italian perspective on the gothic that the film pioneered and its fresh and pioneering approach to horror tropes such as the vampire and the witch and considers how the casting of British 'Scream Queen' Barbara Steele was crucial to the film's effectiveness and success.
Throughout, Conterio's approach, while immensely in-depth, is conversational in tone and very accessible. His humour (he describes one character as Asa's bitch) and breathtaking insight ensure this monograph is an invaluable read for anyone with an interest, not only in Bava's work, but in the history of Italian horror cinema. Essential.