Black Sabbath (1963)
Written By: DMG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Mario Bava
Producer: Lionello Santi, Alberto Barsanti
Screenplay: Marcello Fondato, Alberto Bevilacqua, et. al.
Date Released: August 17, 1963
Boris Karloff as Gorca
Mark Damon as Vladimir Durfe
Michèle Mercier as Rosy
Susy Andersen as Sdenka
Lydia Alfonsi as Mary
Glauco Onorato as Giorgio
Jacqueline Pierreux as Nurse Helen Chester
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Black Sabbath is a series of three short stories hosted by Boris Karloff. The first story is called The Telephone and is about a wealthy woman, Rosy, who is terrorized by a mystery voice on the phone which causes her to fear for her life.
The second story is called The Wurdalak. This story is about a Count, Vladimir, who stumbles across a dead corpse with a sword through its body. When Vladimir finds a nearby home to see who the sword belongs to, he meets Georgio and his family. Vladimir is told of the tale of blood sucking corpses walking around who only kill those they love called Wurdalaks. At first, he is skeptical of this legend, but soon the legend becomes reality.
The third and last story is called The Drop of Water. In this story, a woman by the name of Miss Chester is called to prepare the body of a recently deceased Countess for a funeral. While preparing the body, Miss Chester notices a ring that the Countess is wearing and steals it from her. When Miss Chester arrives back home, she becomes haunted by the ghost of the Countess.
The Gore Factor
Black Sabbath incorporates old school eerie sceneries. There are no gore scenes, but rather scenes that are suggestive in nature. However, the films use of eerie decor is spot on. The lack of gore does not take away from the overall tone of the three stories.
The Grave Review
The stories in Black Sabbath (1963) were clear and concise. Each film lasted anywhere between twenty and thirty minutes in length and presented in unique and quick manner. Of all the stories, the first story, The Telephone, was the least interesting and had the least substance. However, as a whole, the three short-story film was well done.
The most notable scene is in the third film, The Drop of Water. When Miss Chester leaves her apartment to tend to the Countess, there is a record player playing music in the background. As she leaves, the music slowly fades and loses power creating a distorted and eerie sound. The scene is no more than five to ten seconds but leaves a lasting impression with the viewer. It is in this way that small details truly make a horror film unique and terrifying.
At the conclusion of the three films, Boris Karloff ends the film by comically summing up the three films in the costume that he wore while riding a horse in the second story, The Wurdalak. While he does this, the camera pans out showing people running in circles with little branches which was how the horse scene was created. It is a funny way to end these not so funny stories.
Black Sabbath is recommended strictly for its artistic and classic style of cinematography.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Black Sabbath (1963) three and one-half graves out of five graves.
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