Black Sabbath (1963)

NOVEMBER 13, 2007


I was going to watch Scream, Bloody Murder today, but as is often the case, Blockbuster sent me the 1970s movie with the same name, which I had already watched (and wouldn’t mind watching again, truth be told, that movie was awesome!). I don’t know why they can’t get their “doubled” titles straight, but it happens every single time. I can only hope that somewhere, someone wanted to watch the original SBM (maybe even based on my recommendation!) and got the low budget slasher from a few years’ back. And that they send it back, pronto. So, short story shorter, I watched Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath (aka I Tre Volti Della Paura) instead.

Granted, it’s an anthology movie, so I wasn’t expecting much, but it was pretty OK for the most part. The final story is terribly weak compared to the others, and much shorter than those to boot. What I liked most about the first two tales is that they didn’t feel rushed, like many anthology movie stories do. The middle tale, The Wurdalak, almost feels feature length (it’s like almost 50 minutes worth of the 92 minute movie!), and since it also co-stars Boris Karloff, is the best.

Karloff also provides the film’s bookend sequences, and I must admit, there’s something kind of odd about watching a guy speak English, which is then dubbed into Italian and given English subtitles. Anyway, in the first scene he’s apparently on the same stage that Walt Disney used to pal around with Mickey Mouse on, then at the end he is riding a horse as obvious fake trees rush by. Bava then reveals that it’s SUPPOSED to be fake, as the camera zooms out to reveal that Karloff is more or less playing himself on a sound stage.

Yeah, fine. Whatever.

I am puzzled as to why I have thus far been sort of underwhelmed with the Bava films I have seen. While none of have been BAD by any means, I must admit I was expecting more enjoyment out of them than I have had so far. I love his son’s films, and I love (his would be successor) Argento’s films, so I don’t know what the fuck my problem is. The only one I’ve been truly struck by is Shock, and that’s like half Lamberto’s movie I guess.

At any rate, I believe this finishes off the Bava Volume 1 set (at least as far as HMAD is concerned; there’s a Viking movie on there that I assume cannot qualify as a horror movie), which is good because I already got Volume 2 and I was supposed to review it for Bloody Disgusting like a month ago (let’s hope Anchor Bay calls it even with me for sending me the Hatchet prizes a full two months after the contest ended). That, coupled with my recent canceling of Netflix, means there might be a lot of Bava coming your way!!!

What say you?


  1. Why did you cancel NetFlix ?

  2. Not in the best financial state right now... plus with blockbuster's return at the store police, i really don't need both services at once.

  3. I absolutely loved Black Sabbath. Actually, the third entry (in the Italian version, which is the one I think you watched) is my favorite. When that corpse sits up in the bed I feel like a little kid seeing a scary movie that I wasn't supposed to watch. I just get such a feeling of dread.

    On a funny note, when I saw the english version in Boston (on a double feature with Cemetery Man) they dubbed Karloff as saying something like, "What kind of world do we live in where a man can't molest his only grandchild?" The audience got a kick out of that.

  4. Get a account. Seriously.

  5. So, I finally got around to seeing this thing today. I'd heard good things and I gotta say I wasn't disappointed. I watched the Italian version and then I discovered that the American version had some changes. The Karloff narrations are entirely different, the stories are put in different order, but most importantly, "The Telephone" was changed completely. They changed it from a traditional crime/revenge story into a ghost story. Weird. I guess they had to do that in order to remove the lesbian elements.

    I liked all three stories, but I felt the final story FAR out shined the previous two. In fact, I'd probably be willing to put it in my top ten scariest movie scenes of all time. It was utterly bone-chilling to see that dead woman stalk the thieving nurse in her darkened apartment. That face... that FACE!!! Man, if I had seen that as a young child, I'm sure it would have stuck with me for life. The fact that she was a cat lady made it even more compelling and relatable because everyone knows a cat lady. The ending was pretty tidy as well. It really had that EC comics twist flavor to it. Man BC. I don't wanna tell you that you are wrong, but...


Movie & TV Show Preview Widget