"In the name of Satan, I place a curse upon you... "
Description: Barbara Steele as Asa Vajda, a Russian Princess places a curse on the Veida family in the Italian gothic horror classic Black Sunday (1960).
"One day in each century, it is said that Satan walks amongst us. To God fearing this day is known as Black Sunday. In the 17th century, the Devil appeared amidst the people of Montavia Those who served him were monstrous beings avitable thirsting for human blood. History has given these slaves of Satan the name of Vampire. Whenever they were caught they were put to a horrible death. Princess Asa, of the aristocratic Vejda family, was one of these. She was sentenced to a witch's death by her own brother. Before the moment of her death, the brand of Satan was burned into her flesh." (the letter "S" on her back) - Opening Narration
In the year 1630, Princess Asa Vajda is declared a witch and sentenced to death along with her assistant Igor Javuto (Arturo Dominici). The following speech is made by Asa's brother as he pronounces her sentence to a crowd of black-hooded men holding torches.
"Asa, daughter of the House of Veida, this high court of the Inquisition of Muldavia has found you guilty. I, as the second born of the Princes of Vejda and as Grand Inquisitor, here condemn you, and as your brother renounce you, forever severing the ties that bind us. This Inquisition not only finds you servant to Satan, but a high priestess to him. May God accept not only you soul, Asa, but that of your serf Javuto who you forced to do your bidding. Cover up her face with the Mask of Satan. Nail her down so the fire and flames may reduce her to ashes. And may her dust be carried by the wind obliterating her existence forever."
Before Asa is burned at the stake, a metal mask with spikes is hammered to her face. But before the mask is set upon her countenance, she defies her brother and all of those who watch her execution by shouting:
"No! No! Listen my brother. It’s I who renounce you. In the name of Satan, I place a curse upon you. Go Ahead. Killing doesn't mean it's over, because you will never escape my curse or those of Satan. The unchained elements of the Prince of Darkness are lying in ambush. Beware and hear my oh Prince of Vejda, My revenge will strike down you and your accursed house and in the blood you give your sons and his son and his sons will continue to live immortal . They will restore to me the life that you will take from me. And I shall return to torment you and to destroy throughout the nights of time."
As the Inquisition sets the witch on fire, a cloud burst, as if sent by Satan himself extinguishes the flames and so Asa's body is placed in a sarcophagus. To make sure that she is never able to escape her internment, a crucifix is affixed to her coffin to prevent the resurrection of her supernatural powers.
Two centuries later, a horse-drawn coach carrying Dr Thomas Kruvajan (Andrea Checchi) and his assistant Dr. Andre Gorobec (John Richardson) breaks its wheel as they travel to a medical convention. While the coachman repairs the wheel, the two doctors explore Princess Asa's grave site. Suddenly a bat attacks Kruvajan and he waves his walking stick at the creature. In doing so he breaks the window on Asa's tomb damages the crucifix on the coffin.
|Dr. Thomas Kruvajan:||More than a thousand years of conflicts, hates and loves - all reduced to dust in these tombs. Nothing remains of the ancient princes of Veida, but the dead shadows of their former glory. The history of ancient Moldavia is carved in these stones. Andre! Come here! [wipes the glass window of a sarcophagus] This is the witch of the old legend! See this bronze mask? One was always placed over the face over a condemned witch, so she would wear for all eternity her true face: the face of Satan.|
|Dr. Andre Gorobec:||Why is there a window?|
|Dr. Thomas Kruvajan:||They feel that the witch might rise again, and maintain that a cross visible thru the glass will keep her nailed down forever.|
Curious, Kruvajan removes the metal mask from the witch's face to reveal the rotting remains of Asa's body. As he views the corpse, he cut his finger on the broken glass and a drop of blood from his wound falls upon the witch's remains, and thus re-animates her spirit.
With the crucifix and mask removed, Asa's resurrects her servant Javuto from his grave. Asa, too, is resurrected but her body is not yet full formed, so she seeks out Dr. Kruvajan and drains him of his blood to continue her transformation. Hypnotizing the doctor, Asa commands, "Look into my eyes, Embrace me. You will die, but I can bring you pleasures mortals cannot know." Now a vampiire, Kruvajan turn Katia's father Prince Vajda (Ivo Garrani) into one of the living dead.
Meanwhile, Javuto kills the castle butler, and throws Prince Constantine (Enrico Oliveiri) to his death into a deep pit in the castle cellar.
When Princess Katia (Asa's beautiful look-alike descendant) visits her father's seemingly dead body, he arises from his crypt, and says, "I am no longer your father. My blood is no longer your blood. Spirits of evil have rendered that tie between us forever." Javuto destroys Katia's father by tossing his body into a roaring fireplace for trying to drink Katia's blood. Her blood was for Asa alone.
In the end, as Dr. Andre Gorobec comes upon Katia, she tries to convince Andre to kill Asa who lies unconscious on the floor. But when Andre sees a crucifix on the body of the unconscious woman he knows something is wrong. Turning toward Katia, he tears open her robe to reveal a rotting corpse beneath her clothes. It is the witch, Asa.
With the real villain exposed, a priest orders the witch to be impaled with a stake to destroy her for good. As for Javuto, he is killed when Constantine reaches out of the pit, grabs the ghoul's leg and pulls him down to the darkness.
Note: The opening credits of the film Black Sunday (1960) scrolled the following sentiments on the screen:
"We feel a moral obligation to warn you that the picture you are about to see will shock you as no other film has...Therefore the producers recommend that is be seen only by those persons with mature minds."
In the movie American Gothic (1988) when Rod Steiger loses his family in a tragedy, he cries, “I renounce you, God I renounce you and I give my soul to Satan.”