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Black Sabbath (1963)

Cast: Boris Karloff, Boris Karloff, Mark Damon, more...
Director: Mario Bava, Mario Bava
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Genre: Foreign, Horror, Vampires, Supernatural/Occult, Italy, Italian Horror
Running Time: 92 min.
Languages: Italian
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

This anthology features three chilling horror stories. "Il Telefono" is credited to Guy de Maupassant, although he never wrote such a story, and concerns a woman (Michele Mercier) receiving telephone calls from beyond the grave. "Wurdulak", by Alexei Tolstoi, stars Boris Karloff as an aging vampire who can only feed on those he loves. Co-starring Mark Damon and Susy Andersen, it is clearly the best story of the three. The final tale, "La Goccia d'Acqua," is falsely credited to Anton Chekhov. It features Jacqueline Pierreux stealing a ring from a corpse she is preparing for burial, only to be murdered by the old woman's ghost. The American version differs in four major areas: the print is shorter, the stories appear in a different order, there is a linking device with Karloff speaking directly to the audience from a foggy void, and Roberto Nicolosi's musical score is replaced with one by lounge-icon Les Baxter. The American release of the film is also missing a comic coda featuring Karloff riding on horseback (or is he?); this appears in most Eurpoean prints of the film, including Mario Bava's original cut. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Mario Bava Biography and Liner Notes by Tim Lucas
  • Director and cast filmographies
  • Photo Gallery

GreenCine Member Reviews

Lesbians, Vampiric Dads & Karloff!! by sfbabe April 3, 2004 - 2:42 PM PST
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The 1st story was my favorite. A strong lesbian undercurrent in this one. Sadly, one that may still be understood by dykes today. Still, a great story, interestingly done. A bit predictable at times, but fun all the way. Awesome sets, so rich with color. The ending credits with Karloff is a hoot!

Faces Of Fear, Colors of Darkness by mdraine February 20, 2003 - 10:03 PM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Once fodder for late-night TV broadcasts and bootleg video trades, the baroque, darkly erotic fantasies of Italian horror auteur Mario Bava (1914-80) are finally receiving the presentation they deserve. Charting a solitary path between the art film and the horror movie, Bava invested his work with a visual primacy that continues to influence such preeminent stylists as Dario Argento, Tim Burton, and David Lynch. This DVD presents the original version of a terror trilogy released in Italy as I tre volti della paura, (The Three Faces of Fear), retitled Black Sabbath for U.S. release by American International Pictures. Compounding the indignity of an American premier on a double bill with McHales Navy, AIP shuffled the intricate story sequence, gutted the soundtrack, and rewrote one episode to purge a lesbian subtext. This uncensored version restores the intended story order, original score, and a prologue with Boris Karloff, who appears in the best-known segment, The Wurdulak.
The opening act, The Telephone casts the sensual Michele Mercier as a high-class prostitute terrorized by a seemingly omniscient voyeur, anticipating the beginning of Scream. The title of the second tale, The Wurdulak, refers to a vampire which can only feed on the blood of those it loves. Karloff provides his finest performance of the Sixties as the patriarch of a Russian family. Massive, baleful, and rheumy-eyed, the 76-year-old actor radiates a malignance that transcends the dubbed Italian voice. The ghost story The Drop of Water, achieves mounting tension with an accumulation of disquieting details: a mewling cat at its owners deathbed, an overturned glass of water, a fly crawling on the ring finger of a corpse. The 16:9 enhanced transfer vividly captures the miasmatic greens and violets of the haunted world of Mario Bava. -- Michael Draine

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.19)
98 Votes
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The Upper Echelon of Italian Horror
The cream of the crop. The absolute must see classics that are available here at GC.
Overlooked Horror Films
No Freddy or Jason here...

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