112 user 125 critic

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 vampire-like monster who preys on his family, and a nurse who is haunted by her ring's rightful owner.


Mario Bava


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




Cast overview:
Michèle Mercier ... Rosy (segment "Il telefono")
Lidia Alfonsi ... Mary (segment "Il telefono") (as Lydia Alfonsi)
Boris Karloff ... Gorca (segment "I Wurdalak")
Mark Damon ... Vladimir D'Urfe (segment "I Wurdalak")
Susy Andersen ... Sdenka (segment "I Wurdalak")
Massimo Righi ... Pietro (segment "I Wurdalak")
Rika Dialyna ... Maria (segment "I Wurdalak") (as Rica Dialina)
Glauco Onorato ... Giorgio (segment "I Wurdalak")
Jacqueline Pierreux ... Helen Chester (segment "La goccia d'acqua")
Milly Milly ... The Maid (segment "La goccia d'acqua") (as Milly Monti)
Harriet Medin ... Neighbor (segment "La goccia d'acqua")
Gustavo De Nardo ... Police Inspector (segment "La goccia d'acqua")


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


The most gruesome day in the calendar! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


"The Telephone" segment is one of the earliest example of a Giallo, a thriller/horror sub genre that were to be popularized by Dario Argento's "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage". See more »


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 »


[first lines]
Boris Karloff: Come closer, please! I've something to tell you. Ladies and gentlemen, how do you do? This is BLACK SABBATH. You are about to see three tales of terror... and the supernatural. I do hope you haven't come alone. As you will see from one of our tales, vampires - wurdulaks - abound everywhere. Is that one, sitting behind you now? You can't be too careful, you know. They look perfectly normal, and indeed they are. Except... they only drink the blood of those whom they love the best. Ah...
See more »

Alternate Versions

As documented by Tim Lucas (in Video Watchdog #5), the order of the segments was rearranged by AIP for the English-language release. The original ordering was: "The Telephone," "The Wurdalak," and "The Drop of Water." In addition, "The Telephone" was re-dubbed and slightly re-cut by Bava at AIP's request to create a supernatural angle and disguise the lesbian overtones of the story. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Horror Movies: 1960s (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Three Scary Tales of Horror
8 October 2018 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

Boris Karloff is the host of three scary tales of terror: In the Italian version, the sequence is the following: 1) "Il Telefono" / "O Telefone" ("The Telephone"): Rosy (Michèlle Mercier) receives several phone calls threatening her life. She believes her former lover, who has just escaped from prison, is the man that is calling her. She denounced his crimes some time ago and he was convicted and imprisoned. She calls her lesbian girlfriend Mary (Lidia Alfonsi) to stay with her during the night. Soon a secret is disclosed and a tragedy happens in the middle of the night. In the ridiculous American version, Frank is a ghost and not a fugitive, destroying the tension. My vote is seven.

2) "I Wurdulak" / "O Wurdulak" ("The Wurdulak"): The young Vladimire d'Urfe (Mark Damon) is riding a horse in the night and finds a man stabbed on the back. He withdraws the dagger from the man and finds a house close to the place where he found the body. There, he meets a family composed of two brothers, one sister, one sister-in-law and one nephew, and he falls in love at first sight with the beautiful Sdenka (Susie Andersen). He realizes that the dead man was a criminal, probably killed by the head of the family Gorca (Boris Karloff), and he is advised to leave that place, if Gorca does not arrive until midnight. The family informs that there is a chance that Gorca might have been transformed in a Wurdulak, a kind of vampire who drains blood from the living persons. A few seconds after midnight, Gorca comes back home, and the afraid family does not know whether he was transformed or not. The family will discover later what happened in a tragic way. In the American version, there are modifications and the scene that Gorca takes a head from his bag is cut. My vote is nine.

3) "La Goccia d' Acqua" / "A Gota d' Água" ("The Drop of Water") The nurse Helen Chester (Jacqueline Pierreux) is summoned to prepare the body of a countess for her funeral. She steals the worthy ring from her finger. The countess comes back from beyond to retrieve her ring, scaring the frightened greedy woman. There are few modifications in the American version. My vote is eight.

These three tales are excellent. With the direction of Mario Bava, this film explores themes related to fear, anxiety, greedy and guilty in a splendid scary way. Unfortunately the American version is terrible compared to the Italian version. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil):"Black Sabbath - As Três Máscaras do Terror" ("Black Sabbath - The Three Masks of Terror")

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 112 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



Italy | France | USA


Italian | English

Release Date:

6 May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Sabbath See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed