Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mask of Satan (1989)

Sorry for the ”bad” things I wrote about Lamberto Bava yesterday, after watching Mask of Satan – his homage/remake/reimagination of his fathers Black Sunday, I’ve seen that Lamberto is very capable to make a visual roller coaster with a TV-movie budget. I don’t remember so much of the original movie, except the witch and the mask so I won’t bother to make any comparisons. But I would like to know who they came up with the concept for this version…

A bunch of young hot people with trendy (at that time) skiing-clothes falls down thru a crevice in the snow and ends up finding an old church with and even older village. The only one left there is a weird blind priest with his faithful dogs. But like in all horror movies they fuck things up the first thing they do. Down in the rift they find the frozen and ancient body of a woman, and she has a cool mask on, who they remove and therefore unleashes the power of Anibas the Witch and Satan again! Slowly the group is getting more and more weird and twisted, and the only one who seems to not be affected by the curse is Davide (Giovanni Guidelli), who received a blessing by the priest and is stronger than the others… But Anibas want to regain her power do everything to do so…

First of all, the look of this movie is marvellous. The sets are big and spooky, built with a lot of imagination and talent. The outside village is perfect and is thick with atmosphere. Everything is cold and snowy too, which is even better. It’s easier to escape and hide when it’s a warm, sunny day – but not here. The script is a little bit of a mess, for example the characters never seem to mind that one of them dies in a horrible accident, and they never seem to analyze so much that a broken leg is healed – but it could be explained later in the movie too. Not much is happening in the ways of twists, but the script is still so entertaining that it’s easy to ignore the bad stuff.

Most of the actors are doing fine, but the characters are a bit anonymous and easy to confuse with each other. Eva Grimaldi is the ancient witch Anibas, and Debora Kinski (she was married to Klaus at that time) is the woman she possesses. Old time favourite Michele Soavi is one of the unlucky skiers and Stanko Molnar is great as the creepy priest.

Lamberto has never been a gorehound, and so even in this movie – but it has still a lot of cool and slimy special effects to enjoy! Ok, character gets eaten alive – but it’s a more abstract scene – but that’s it when it comes to gore. The best scene is when one of the characters is transforming back and forth from human to demon during a sex-scene! Some very smart solutions there and just very well made.

Mask of Satan (or Demons 5 as it was called in come territories) is an entertaining and good-looking piece of Italian TV-horror. Recommended!


Alex B. said...

Wow, Stanko Molnar is in it?
Loved him in MACABRO and A BLADE IN THE DARK, shame he didn't appear in more such films.
Sounds like a cool little movie.

Ninja Dixon said...

Yeah, and he's the best actor in this movie. I've been trying to find info about him, but no luck. Do you know anything about him?

Alex B. said...

Unfortunatlely, I know nothing, but I wish I did:(
Molnar has a great face and is also a strong actor. The only other film I've seen him in outside of those by Bava is Piero Schivazappa's shitty 80's erotic film 'Lady of the night'. Stanko has a small part as Serena Grandi's gynaecologist there.

CiNEZiLLA said...

Plenty of Traviani bro's movies in there!


Ninja Dixon said...

Thanks J! :)
I wonder what happen after 1990?

Jack J said...

Cool review and I think it's actually the first time I've seen it reviewed (but then again I haven't actually been searching for reviews of the film, LOL). I have the same Japanese vhs as your cover scan.

Was this film actually released under the "Mask of Satan" title anywhere?
IMDb lists the international English title as "Black Sunday".

I have my doubts to the authenticity of both those alternative titles. The full English title on the cover of Japanese tape is "Demons V: Devil's Veil" and apparently this was used for the US vhs as well. It would be cool to know where (and if) it was release under either of those titles. Or are they mere bogus titles created by fans who figured they could use the same English titles as were used with the original film.

Ninja Dixon said...

Jack, this is weird. I usually takes the most proper English title (or coolest one), but I can't find the Mask of Satan-title even on IMDB.

The version I've seen is under the title "La Mascara Del Demonio", and it seem Spanish. The first that shows up is the title "Sabbath", but seem to be the main title of several (no proof there, but that what I think) TV-movies.

Anyway, it's a nice little movie :)