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Black Sabbath (1963)

I tre volti della paura (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 6 May 1964 (USA)
Boris Karloff hosts a trio of horror stories concerning a stalked call girl, a patriarch who has become a vampire-like monster, and a nurse who is haunted by her ring's rightful owner.

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(freely adapted from three stories by) (as Cechov), (freely adapted from three stories by) (as Tolstoi) | 4 more credits »
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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In the 19th century, a sadistic nobleman terrorizes the members of his family. He is found dead, but his ghost soon returns to haunt the residents of his castle.

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Surreal goings-on at a Spanish villa in this poetic horror fairytale, which was crassly re-edited into The House of Exorcism (1975) for US release.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Lidia Alfonsi ...
Mary (segment "Il telefono") (as Lydia Alfonsi)
...
...
Vladimir D'Urfe (segment "I Wurdalak")
Susy Andersen ...
Massimo Righi ...
Pietro (segment "I Wurdalak")
Rika Dialyna ...
Maria (segment "I Wurdalak") (as Rica Dialina)
Glauco Onorato ...
Giorgio (segment "I Wurdalak")
...
Helen Chester (segment "La goccia d'acqua")
Milly ...
The Maid (segment "La goccia d'acqua") (as Milly Monti)
...
Neighbor (segment "La goccia d'acqua")
...
Police Inspector (segment "La goccia d'acqua")
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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

Taglines:

...The most gruesome day in the calendar of the Undead! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

6 May 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Sabbath  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Mario Bava's father, Eugenio Bava, created and sculpted the head for the ghost in 'The Drop of Water' as well as the severed head for the segment 'The Wurdalak.' See more »

Goofs

In the AIP version of "The Telephone" segment, when the ghost letter is being written, you see 2 fingers holding the paper. When it cuts to Rosy's reaction, she is holding the letter with both hands. See more »

Quotes

Mary: [to Rosy] You have no reason to be afraid.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Welcome to Mario Bava...
5 October 2005 | by 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!


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