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Black Sabbath (1963)
"I tre volti della paura" (original title)

 -  Horror  -  6 May 1964 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,021 users  
Reviews: 70 user | 115 critic

A trio of atmospheric horror tales about: A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past; a Russian count in the early 1800s who stumbles upon a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Michèle Mercier ...
Rosy (segment "The Telephone")
Lidia Alfonsi ...
Mary (segment "The Telephone") (as Lydia Alfonsi)
...
Gorca (segment "The Wurdalak")
Mark Damon ...
Vladimire d'Urfe (segment "The Wurdalak")
Susy Andersen ...
Sdenka (segment "The Wurdalak")
Massimo Righi ...
Pietro (segment "The Wurdalak")
Rika Dialina ...
Maria (segment "The Wurdalak") (as Rica Dialina)
Glauco Onorato ...
Giorgio (segment "The Wurdalak")
Jacqueline Pierreux ...
Helen Chester (segment "The Drop of Water")
Milly ...
The Maid (segment "The Drop of Water") (as Milly Monti)
Harriet Medin ...
Neighbor (segment "The Drop of Water")
Gustavo De Nardo ...
Police Inspector (segment "The Drop of Water")
Edit

Storyline

A trio of atmospheric horror tales about: A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past; a Russian count in the early 1800s who stumbles upon a family in the countryside trying to destroy a particularly vicious line of vampires; and a 1900-era nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients - an elderly medium who died during a seance. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

ring | vampire | nurse | corpse | knife | See more »

Taglines:

Not Since 'FRANKENSTEIN' Have You Seen Such Horror! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

6 May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Sabbath  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only film in which horror icon Boris Karloff plays a vampire. See more »

Goofs

In 'The Telephone,' when Rosy is reading the paper, in the Italian version, it is a newspaper clipping, but in the American version, it is a blank sheet being written by an invisible ghost. However, in both versions you can clearly see the back of the paper is indeed a newspaper clipping. See more »

Quotes

Gorca: What's the matter, woman? Can't I fondle my own grandson? Give him to me!
See more »

Connections

Featured in How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Welcome to Mario Bava...
5 October 2005 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

1945's Dead of Night introduced horror cinema to omnibus films, and Mario Bava's Black Sabbath brought it back! Italian produced films were making a lot of money in the early sixties, and hot on the heels of his success with Black Sunday, former cinematographer and horror genius Mario Bava was brought in to direct this compendium of horror tales. The great Boris Karloff adds a further lure to the proceedings, and these two giants were on to a winner before they started filming. This film is like an overview of what Mario Bava is all about. The first tale, a Giallo-like thriller, echoes films such as The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Blood and Black Lace, while tale number two; The Wardulak, is pure Gothic horror, a la Black Sunday. The climax story, The Drop of Water, is the most horror orientated of the trio and gives a good early showing of the adrenaline that would go on to make the likes of Baron Blood and Bay of Blood the great films that they are. Mario Bava has a lot of fans and many of his films could easily be considered his best, but there is no doubt for me. The best film Bava ever made is Black Sabbath.

After a colourful and campy introduction by the great Boris Karloff, we move straight into The Telephone. This tale is simple, yet effective and instantly grabs you – not letting go until the end. The lesbian undertones give it an extra bit of verve (especially with the actresses being as tasty as they are!), and the way that Bava claustrophobically shoots almost the entire story in one apartment means that the tale is always easy to get to grips with. Bava's music is the main event style-wise. Music is a big part of Giallo, and this entry in Black Sabbath, along with The Girl Who Knew Too Much, ensures that we all know it was Bava who created the Giallo. The ironic ending seals the story and makes sure that you'll be in high spirits going into tale number two.

The Wardulak is the longest, most ambitious and also the weakest part of the trilogy. That's not to say that it's anything less than brilliant; the other two are just stronger. The Gothic sets and atmosphere are definitely the main draw here, and the way that Bava lights up every scene with his trademark use of lighting and colours is absolutely stunning. Being the most expansive, this is the story that best allows Bava full use of his directing ability and many of the shots could be easily be framed and hung on your wall. The tale is very reminiscent of the masterpiece Black Sunday, and gives a good impression of what the film might have looked like had it have been in colour. Boris Karloff takes the lead role here as a man trying to destroy a line of vampires like creatures known as Wardulak's. Karloff obviously enjoyed making this film, and his assured and camp performance in this part of the film, along with his intro and outro, really shows that. The conclusion to this story is really well done, and makes sure that this part of the film ends on a high.

My favourite tale is the first one, but The Drop of Water definitely isn't far behind! This tale is pure evil, and allows Bava to show his mastery of the horror genre the best. We follow a young female nurse who steals a ring from one of her patients...a medium...who died during a séance. Like the first tale, this one's effectiveness stems from it's simplicity and this allows Bava to implement his excellent use of lighting and colours. The sets are brilliantly lit, and the director manages to create a foreboding feel that runs throughout the film. The design of the elderly medium's face is really haunting, and seeing the corpse get it's revenge gives Black Sabbath it's main scare. Watching this tale, it's obvious why Bava is so well respected by cult and genre fans. There aren't many directors that can generate this kind of scare from such a simple plot - and all of The Drop of Water's frights are owed entirely to the director. On the whole, this is a superior omnibus horror film. All the elements are in place and if you want a great overview of Mario Bava's talents - this is the place to look!


12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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